How strange. An independent report that looks at the dam operation and backs the SEQWater engineers is going to "open lawsuit floodgates"?
The headline at the actual report page is just slightly better:
A MULTI-BILLION-dollar lawsuit is set to become the next chapter in the January 2011 flood saga after a crucial US Government report backed the actions of the four flood engineers who controlled Wivenhoe Dam.Where's Hedley Thomas' commentary about this? Well, he's having a big stamping of the foot over at the Australian:
The report - by the Department of the Interior and the US Army Corps of Engineers - has warned the massive dam sitting above Brisbane is far more lethal than previously believed, and further re-inforced previous criticism of the dam's manual.
But it strongly backed the actions of the four dam engineers who were repeatedly accused in the $15 million flood inquiry of mismanaging the dam and confecting a fraudulent report to cover their tracks.
The report is a potential blow to flood victims seeking compensation but lawyers are determined to proceed with legal action, with thousands of claimants signed up to a class action demanding billions of dollars in compensation.
Hedley, you see, is exceptionally proud of having made life a living hell for the three engineers for about 18 months, despite the fact that the CMC recently declined to take any action against them, and explained in its review that the problem basically lay in a poorly drafted manual:
Retired Appeal Court judge John Jerrard, QC, headed up the CMC investigation and wrote in his findings the engineers had believed they were following the dam manual when they adopted their water release strategies during the floods.
In his advice Mr Jerrard said prosecution of the trio would be ‘‘oppressive’’ if they were simply trying to follow a manual that contained contradictory statements....
‘‘An honest belief that the engineers had always intended to comply with the Manual would justify the engineers describing themselves as adopting strategy W3, when strategy W2 was not appropriate, even when they had earlier thought W2 was appropriate, and had said that they were in it,’’ Mr Jerrard said in the CMC report.
‘‘If the engineers believed they had followed the Manual, it is not dishonest, criminal, or misconduct, for any of them to say that they did.
‘‘Nor is it dishonest, criminal, or misconduct, to misunderstand what the Manual required.’’