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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Premier establishes Commission of Inquiry into flood disaster

    Premier and Minister for the Arts
    The Honourable Anna Bligh

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    Premier establishes Commission of Inquiry into flood disaster

    Premier Anna Bligh has launched a statewide independent Commission of Inquiry to forensically examine Queensland’s unprecedented flood disaster.

    Ms Bligh said the Commission would be headed by widely respected Queensland Justice Cate Holmes with Deputy Commissioners Jim O’Sullivan, a former Queensland Police Commissioner and Phil Cummins, an international expert on dams.

    She said the Commission of Inquiry, approved by Cabinet today and appointed by the Queensland Governor after a special Executive Council meeting, would deliver an interim report in August 2011, and its final report by January 2012.

    The Premier said the Inquiry would have the powers of a Royal Commission, would take public submissions from across Queensland and would make recommendations in its interim report for future wet seasons.

    “The last three weeks have been truly shocking for all Queenslanders and now is the time to forensically examine the devastating chain of events and the aftermath,” Ms Bligh said.

    “Our government has appointed three highly respected people to undertake that task and I want to honour those people who have lost their lives through this disaster by ensuring all possible lessons are learned.

    “These floods impacted approximately 70 per cent of the entire state and affected around 60 per cent of our entire population.

    “We have faced a terrible test and Queenslanders can be proud of their response - I believe our emergency services are among the best in the world.

    “I believe our police, our defence forces, our SES volunteers and the army of civilians who cleaned mud from our homes are to be commended.

    “Our Government knows that it is by learning the lessons of this disaster through this open and transparent review of our preparation and response that we can protect future generations.”

    Ms Bligh said while it was unusual that a sitting Supreme Court Judge would be appointed to head a Commission, she had discussed Justice Holmes’ appointment with Chief Justice Paul De Jersey who had advised her of his support for the appointment of Justice Holmes to this important Commission.

    Justice Holmes has vast legal experience including terms on the Queensland Court of Appeal, the Mental Health Court as well as the Supreme and District Courts and was Counsel Assisting the Forde Commission of Inquiry into Child Abuse.

    Jim O’Sullivan was the Queensland Police Commissioner from 1992 to 2000 and served for 41 years in the Queensland Police Service in rural and regional Queensland.

    Phil Cummins is an international authority on dams and is current Chair of the International Commission on Large Dams.

    The Premier said the government’s priority would continue to be to reinstate access to basic services, rebuild infrastructure and support the community.

    “This work will operate in parallel to the work of the Commission.

    “The inquiry’s wide ranging powers will include the power to summon witness, compel production of documents and issue search warrants.

    “This will be an open, transparent and honest review into what we have just experienced.

    “We owe it to those who have died and to future generations to learn the lessons of these floods.”

    MEDIA: Premier's Office (07) 3224 4500