Disaster warnings prohibited

THE Federal Government's decision that the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) cannot directly contact individual councils means January's disaster could be repeated, according to Lockyer Valley mayor Steve Jones.

While the Federal Government agreed to implement the majority of the Queensland Flood Commission's recommendations, its interim response to the commission's report stated the BOM could not individually communicate with councils.

"The bureau does not have the capacity to directly communicate with all councils during a major widespread disaster event on every occasion, either in Queensland or in other states and territories," it stated.

Cr Jones said the outcome was unacceptable.

"Surely they have a duty of care to make sure people know about impending disasters," he said.

"And that could be best done by contacting local councils."

Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the bureau would still be working with local councils.

"It will also assist councils to establish arrangements for making localised flash-flooding alerts by providing technical expertise, including appropriate river height and rainfall information collection methods," he said.

Cr Jones questioned the purpose of the bureau if it couldn't warn individual councils about impending disasters.

"If they are not capable of that, then perhaps the Bureau of Meteorology should be shut down," he said.

Cr Jones said ideally the bureau could automatically tell councils about threatening weather.

"In this day and age of computers it shouldn't even involve a person, it should be an automatic thing, that if they detect a creek rising they let us know."

Without an upgraded system from the bureau, Cr Jones said the council might need to look at other ways of monitoring potential disasters.

"We've almost got to have another staff member, actually another two staff members, to monitor the weather and creek level 24/7 to make sure nothing happens in the middle of the night."


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