Sofronoff starts work today on Grantham flood inquiry
THE new Grantham flood inquiry starts this morning with inquiry chair Walter Sofronoff QC confirming the terms of inquiry in an interview aired by the ABC this morning.
"The terms of reference require me to look at whether a particular embankment had any effect on what happened in Grantham," Mr Sofronoff said.
"From now until the 31st of July we will be gathering evidence (and) anyone who believes they have evidence is welcome to come forward."
Mr Sofronoff said his commission would do their best for the people of Grantham.
There are five key terms of reference for the inquiry. It will focus on the impacts of man-made and natural features of the landscape which could have altered or contributed to the flooding, whether the existence or breach of the Grantham quarry caused or contributed to the flooding, whether the quarry had a material impact on the damage caused, whether the breach of the quarry had implications for the evacuation of the town, and how these matters were initially investigated and how eyewitness accounts were dealt with in the aftermath.
The member for Lockyer Ian Rickuss told parliament last week he hoped the inquiry was not just at the "behest of some of the media halfwits that have come out supporting these sort of issues."
When pressed to name who he was talking about, he mentioned Sydney radio shock jock Alan Jones.
"I do have some concerns about cherrypicking one issue in the flood. On a per capita basis, more people drowned at Postman's Ridge or Murphys Creek than at Grantham," Mr Rickuss said.
"There were extreme weather events, and everyone was a bit to blame: the Disaster Management Act was not being followed by the local council; the triple 0 system collapsed under the weight of phone calls; and the meteorology bureau's services were poor.
"When their gauge registered a reading six metres over its previous highest record, they assumed it was broken when in fact it was actually correct. The quarry that was there should have been monitored by the council anyway. All of us could have done better, but quarrying does come under the Lockyer Valley Regional Council's jurisdiction."
The inquiry is expected to run until the end of August.