Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies in Queensland
The Australian and Queensland governments established an Independent International Panel of Experts (the Panel) for flood studies to provide advice to the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments on the flood models and structural designs developed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) for Inland Rail in Queensland.
The five panel members have a combined experience of more than 130 years in the movement of water across landscapes (hydrology), the way in which artificial structures interact with the movement of this water (hydraulics) and best practice construction in floodplain environments.
Chaired by Mark Babister, WMAwater, the Panel will bring their knowledge to the review of 21 flood models developed for river and floodplain crossings along 400 kilometres of Inland Rail in southern Queensland. A full list of models to be considered by the Panel is available at Attachment B of the Terms of Reference.
The Panel will:
- review existing flood modelling and reference design solutions,
- ensure national guidelines and industry best practice are followed,
- take account of local geology and hydrology patterns, and
- consider whether modelling identifies and provides local mitigations to minimise the interaction and impact of Inland Rail structures on flood events.
The Australian and Queensland governments announced the five members of the expert panel in June 2020.
- Mark Babister, Chair – Managing Director, WMAwater
- Tina O’Connell – Principal Engineer, Hydrology & Hydraulics, HDR
- Ferdinand Diermanse – Expert Researcher, Deltares
- Steve Clark – Managing Director, Water Technology
- Martin Giles – Senior Principle, BMT
Panel purpose and responsibilities
The Terms of Reference for the Panel were informed by public feedback in May 2020 and detail the purpose and responsibilities of panellists.
The Panel will review existing flood modelling and reference designs against national and state engineering requirements and industry best practice guidelines. The Panel will report on Inland Rail design of waterway structures in flood-prone areas and likely structure interactions with floodwater as modelled by the ARTC.
As an advisory body the Panel does not make decisions or recommendations in regard to approvals for the Inland Rail route or alignment. The Panel does not have any statutory, or regulatory powers under either Commonwealth or Queensland legislation.
The Panel will work independently of the ARTC in regard to the development, public consultation and approval processes for the Inland Rail Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) process. Panel reports may be used to inform the Queensland Office of the Coordinator General’s review and assessment of comments received in relation to draft EIS presented by the ARTC.
Members of the public can provide submissions with relevant information related to flooding impact to the Panel via a dedicated email inbox. Submissions and reports will be published as they are finalised.
The Panel is expected to complete their work by the end of 2021.
Flood modelling and previous reviews
The Panel will build on years of work by world leading companies and the ARTC to develop flood models and crossing designs for Inland Rail projects spanning:
- the Queensland and New South Wales border to Gowrie
- Gowrie to Helidon
- Helidon to Calvert
- Calvert to Kagaru
- Kagaru to Acacia Ridge and Bromelton
The ARTC’s flood modelling is being developed, tested and reviewed by leading International and Australian engineering and hydrology consultants including AECOM, Aureon, Arup Group, SMEC and Water Solutions Pty Ltd.
Find out more about Inland Rail including its design, individual construction projects and community consultation from the ARTC.