Insurance Council of Australia calls on Bureau of Meteorology to deliver more timely flood warnings

MORE NOTICE: The Insurance Council of Australia has told Queensland's Flood Inquiry it wants the Bureau of Meteorology to be overhauled so it can better monitor flooding and warn of their approach. 

THE Insurance Council of Australia has called for a major overhaul of the weather bureau so it can better collect and distribute flood information.

And the Gold Coast City Council wants more intensive training for staff faced with emergency situations following the state's summer of disasters.

Submissions to the Flood Inquiry have included numerous attacks on Wivenhoe Dam operators, who have been blamed for the Brisbane and Brisbane Valley flooding.

The Insurance Council was not critical of the weather bureau's reports on flooding during January.

But it recommended a change in the law to give the bureau greater responsibility for monitoring floods and warning of their approach.

The council said the January flooding highlighted the need to both predict flood events and warn of their approach.

"Governments, the community and the insurance industry have a shared interest in ensuring that everything that can be known about flooding is known by all those involved in its risk management," the submission said.

The council said the weather bureau was best placed to assume overall responsibility for flood information.

To extend the bureau's roles to include overall responsibility for floods, the Water Act 2007 would need amending to give it power to collect existing flood data from both state and local governments, the council said.

The bureau would then be required to maintain, update and publish flood information so the public could access it.

"To assist in expanding the BoM's (Bureau of Meterology's) flood information responsibilities and capabilities, further funding of the BoM by the Australian Government will be required," it said.

The Gold Coast City Council said that, while it was not heavily affected by the disaster, it had to work with southeast Queensland councils during the weather event.

Some staff at Lockyer Valley and Somerset regional councils had completed induction level training in disaster management but few had completed appropriate operational training, the council said.

A "concerted commitment" to develop operational courses was needed, it said.

The head of Queensland's Reconstruction Authority yesterday said disaster victims had to accept the road to recovery would be long. Major General Mick Slater said there would be no quick fixes.

"If you look at that same pothole in the road that you drive to work every morning, you keep looking at that one pothole and focusing on it saying why isn't it getting fixed, you're going to suffer yourself and it'll shape your attitude towards other things," he said.

He was speaking while checking on Bundaberg flood recovery efforts.