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The Magpie

Sunday, February 3rd, 2019   |   246 comments

‘Disaster Management’ Or ‘Management Disaster’? We Have A List … So Far

And it will be hard to argue that the whatever ‘management disaster’ from the council is determined after this is all over, it started long before the rain. Suddenly Mayor Mullet has an unexpected and unwelcome election campaign issue on her hands … will her inevitable spin as heroine of the hour hold up to scrutiny?

At The Astonisher, has the worm turned? Jenna Cairney took an early swipe at the mayor, even before it got really bad … and allows a developer to stick in the boot as well … two more another reasons it’s called the Astonisher.

And here’s another… are you sitting down? … The Magpie gives the paper top marks for its coverage of the floods. No, seriously. There’s a very good explanation for it … and therein lies a glaringly obvious and valuable lesson for editor Cairney (when she’s doing her job, she’ ‘editor’, when not, she’s  ‘iditor’).

… and The Magpie points out how tomorrow’s (Monday local) American Super Bowl organisers have missed the ratings bonanza of a lifetime, which could’ve doubled their already massive audience.

But to start this week …

The Irony Award of the Decade.

To head up this week’s offering, pride of place goes to the great Bentley, who counts among his many skills a very sharp memory which recalls things that some would rather he forget.

water crisis fin small

Which swiftly brings us to the nub of things for this week.

It’s The Vision Thing, Stupid

There are those poor agitated souls who suggest the The Magpie writes with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight. To which the obvious reply is that of course he does, because he doesn’t make the decisions that affect us as a community, and merely comments on those decisions that have been made by others. While being wise after the event is always irritating (The Magpie’s mission) what this town REALLY needs is a big dose of decision-makers being wise BEFORE the event.

This week’s excessive dampness and the public doubts that have appeared over the council’s disaster management ability brings up a case in point. There will most certainly be a post-monsoon post-mortem into the disaster management decision-making process and – crucially – the timing of opening the Ross Dam flood gates; when a legal authority like a council deliberately floods ratepayers homes and businesses, there sure as hell MUST be a post mortem as legal eagles start circling. For the ‘greater good’ doesn’t always cut in matters of compensation.

Then there have been confidence-sapping instances like this, too, after flooding had started.

That, and many comments to this blog about timing and pre-organisation of sandbags – some places plenty of sand but no bags, others, plenty of both but no shovels, and a dearth of relatively inexpensive mechanical bagging machinery – have been sent in. And there is a dire warning for all property owners even when the waters recede – any insurance premiums are likely to be through the roof, if they can be obtained at all – more on that in a moment. And the responsibility for this situation must lie somewhere. It has all led one frustrated leading businessman – who wishes to remain anonymous for prudent reasons considering the current vindictive regime in Walker Street – to post the following to The Nest:

Jenna Cairney – who I believe moved out of her unit on the Strand to a house at Railway Estate affected by the flood – wrote on the Bulletin’s Facebook updates 31/1/19 that “the Bulletin forecasts on rain have been running since 6 am on the 30th, yet the disaster centre didn’t start updating until more than seven hours later1.36 pm” .

Jenna claimed the $8.5 mil disaster centre was left flat footed with
residents having to reach out to the Astonisher for advice.

jenny disaster center IMG_6736

Jenna concludes
with “We are constantly told to be prepared for major weather events . The
local Disaster Co-ordination Centre also needs to heed the advice.

Our angry commenter continues:

Jenna isn’t the only person commenting negatively on the new $8.5 mil centre. I have just received a text to mobile and recorded messages to both my home and business landlines but it seems too late.

My daughter in Hermit Park woke to over a foot of water Friday 1st at 7 am, today its up to her shoulders and her car totally submerged!

Conjecture will continue but my concerns are:
-did former TCC CEO Adele Young cut back on preventative maintenance, and, with over a third of T.C.C’s staff made redundant, did they lose invaluable experience to leave us more susceptible to flooding, and other natural disasters … and
-if they knew the rain would continue, did they have the technology to predict they should have opened the flood gates earlier. If not, why not?

I think there is going to an absolute bun fight with insurance companies wanting hydrologists reports and my concerns is more Townsville residents will be left with an inability to get contents/ house insurance.

While to some it may seem churlish to be looking at this questions and failings before the danger is not yet over, it is legitimate for them to be considered in the light that there are yet many more decisions to be made – including the alarming but necessary fore-warning that much further rain could threaten 20,000 homes …

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 7.38.21 pm

… that’s one quarter of all dwellings in this city.

The performance so far on the ground and water has been the usual efficient, industrious and courageous efforts by selfless men and women – fire, police, defence forces and just ordinary citizens helping where they can – as we always do – but some of the decisions from the Disaster Center HQ so far do not inspire confidence that we are in safe competent hands. The timing and extent of opening the dam gates is sure to be the subject of future debate.

A Touch Of Timely Humour Highlights The Magpie’s Point

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 8.20.20 amAnd An Urgent Clarification Needed From Premier Palaszczuk

Surely there can’t be a deliberate bit of political game-playing by the premier at a time like this. She has declared Townsville a ‘disaster zone’ … but apparently not a ‘natural disaster’. The difference is crucial to Townsville businesses, already suffering a severe economic down turn, who will be up for an extra crippling financial liability if we are just a ‘disaster zone’.


The premier needs to step up now and ease the minds of some businesses that may be teetering on the edge. The mayor should immediately ask for a clarification, and if necessary, a switch to a natural disaster … for what else could it be when a Sydney Harbour of water is dumped on the city is such a catastrophically short time. This option is the fairest to all.

But The Astonisher Has …Well … Astonished

Given the on-the-run nature of reporting our unfolding disaster, The Magpie gives a emphatic up-tick to Jenna Cairney and her crew of substantially inexperienced journos for wide and consistent coverage. Certainly there’s been blips but, far fewer than one could have expected.

And why might that be, you ask? Simple … because this is real, rolling hard news, on-going, mixing constant reporting with solid information (well as solid as reporters are told). No time or need for padding, opinion or bias, of which there has been precious little. Apart from Ms. Cairney’s presient hand-slap at the Disaster Center, things have been happening too swiftly. And generally, given the circumstances, all platforms have performed well. Little things like pics of kids playing in floodwaters can be tut-tutted over later.

From his own professional experience, The ‘Pie predicts a traumatic event like this can be the foundation of many a solid journalistic career, and some of the tyros, and even those who think themselves already seasoned, will gain insights into real reporting to be the better for it Ms Cairney, The ‘Pie knows how much you, like our mayor, appreciate the The Magpie’s wise counsel, so if you can guide your troops on this new path of professionalism, you will go a long way to restoring some of this once proud paper’s tattered reputation.

Alas, the downside is that there will shortly be many a job application winging south with a CV justifiably boasting ‘I covered the Townsville flood disaster of 2019.’

Who Says Mayor Mullet Is The Cause Of Townsville Economic Woes?

Well, highly successful developer Peter Tapiolas, that who, for one.

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 10.10.10 pm

In a bruisingly frank interview with Tony Raggatt, Mr Tapiolas showed he’s as mad as hell and not going to take it any more – especially not from politicians. He didn’t miss many of ‘em, either.QUOTE: Townsville recorded 573 approvals – about 1.4 per cent of the share of major Queensland centres and second-last to Rockhampton, which had 369. “The figures are alarming. We have never seen it as low as last year,” Mr Tapiolas, a director of the Parkside Group, said.

“(Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill) should be screaming from the rooftops on Adani but she can’t … because she’s scared of (Premier) Annastacia Palaszczuk, and the three local (Labor State MPs) won’t support Adani.”

Mr Tapiolas said home building had ground to a halt because people lacked confidence about their current and future job prospects.

“When that happens people just bunker down and hang on,” Mr Tapiolas said. UNQUOTE

Crikey, Pete, want to guest edit The Magpie sometime … no one will be able to tell the difference.

But the story held other surprises, like Townsville state MP Scott Stewart’s frank admission of being a self-interested Labor toady.

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 11.54.20 pm

And even our old favourite Mayor Mullet was in danger of fence sitting bum splinters.

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 9.31.29 am ‘Reports’? Madam, if you had the courage of your supposed convictions, you should be clambering up to the rooftops as Mr Tapiolas suggests, on this one too, since you no doubt read this in a story in which you yourself were quoted.

Director of the National Threatened Species Recovery Hub Brendan Wintle has been engaged to lead the review, and is able to appoint up to six people on a panel to examine Adani’s plan. Mr Wintle last year participated in a “climate strike” and has authored several articles critical of governments using biodiversity offsets to allow development. (TB Jan 22 2019)

Even the Emerald Isle ain’t that green, sweetie. What is disturbing, though, petal,  is when you come out with cowardly political twaddle like this.

Other Stuff

The ‘Pie has thought about this SMH headline all night, and can only see visions of Soylent Green.

Screen Shot 2019-02-02 at 10.06.00 am

What they gunna do, pop the babies back in until a spot becomes available? Or employ alcoholic surgeons who don’t try to hard on oldies (‘oh, sorry, the heart’s over THAT side … oops.’)

And then this that mightily confused this Aussie:

Screen Shot 2019-01-30 at 11.50.20 am

Ummm … nice tan, Singo.

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, (Monday In Oz) And What A Missed Opportunity

America’s annual ’play a bit, chat a bit, smack a few bums a bit’ extravaganza known as the Super Bowl, between someone or other and somebody else, is now famous for many other things beside football. There are the eye-watering numbers of global viewers – 103 million last year – resulting the equally eye-watering $5.2million that advertisers are happy to pony up for a 30 second commercial. And the half-time entertainment is now almost of more interest that the game, famous for fails and malfunctions, most notoriously the latter one of what is prissily referred to as a wardrobe malfunction (Justin Timberlake groped Janet Jackson’s boobs which made them play wall-eyed peek-a-boo with the goggling audience, resulting in more computer slow motion replays and gummed up keyboards than any exploit on the footy field.)

But the organisers have missed an ideal opportunity this year to create an all time viewing record, if only they had chosen the half time entertainment with a little vision. Bob Eckstein of the New Yorker illustrates a massive missed opportunity.

Screen Shot 2019-02-03 at 12.05.26 am

Which is a neat way to get into this week’s round-up from Trumpistan.

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And this comment and tweet by The Magpie during the week  brought all manner of mania out of the woodwork.

Cold comfort perhaps, but just to remind you that what’s happening here isn’t by any means God’s biggest joke on humanity.

Screen Shot 2019-02-01 at 8.52.11 am

She is of course right if we accept that God invented ebola, cancer, earthquakes, tsunamis and Clive Palmer.

Finally, here';s an ad from London that will get the thin-lipped humorless gals balling their fists and clenching their buttocks in rage.



It’s been a this soggy, soggy week, folks, stay safe and dry if you can. Let fly in the comments if something is bugging you, it’s your space to vent, laugh or decry. And as always, a donation to help defray blog expenses is always welcome, the how to donate button is below.

The Magpie's Nest is now more than five years old, and remains an independent alternative voice for Townsville. The weekly warble is a labour of love and takes a lot of time to put together. So if you like your weekly load of old cobblers, you can help keep it aloft with a donation, or even a regular voluntary subscription. Paypal is at the ready, it's as easy as ... well, easy as pie. Limited advertising space is also available.


  1. One legged tap dancer says:

    Some ducking, weaving and spin will no doubt be employed to avoid it but after this deluge is over and people’s lives return to something like normal, there MUST be a full scale inquiry into the way the ongoing disaster has been handled by those in charge.
    The Pie has outlined some of the failings, but if a colleague who lives in a North Shore suburb is correct – and evidence on the council’s own disaster website suggests he is – then somebody has stuffed up big time. There may even be a sniff of corruption involved.
    The centre in Burdell is listed on the State Government’s website: http://www.hpw.qld.gov.au/construction/Projects/CycloneShelters/Pages/default.aspx
    But said evacuation centre is not on the TCC Emergency Management Dashboard’s list of places for people to go during our current catastrophe: http://disaster.townsville.qld.gov.au/
    The centre is right in the middle of one of the major disaster areas, so would be ideally placed to provide shelter for the people of Deeragun and Burdell, where a lot of houses have been inundated.
    So why isn’t it open?
    The reason, according to my northern suburbs informant, is sinple but alarming.
    The road to the centre is flooded.
    Its a planning debacle and time will tell just who is responsible.
    Hopefully an investigation – are you still out there Ms Cairney and Mr Raggatt – will uncover the truth, such as why the site was chosen, who approved it, and who benefited from the deal.

  2. Mike Douglas says:

    Another great Blog Pie and my thoughts are with those people evacuated from their properties awaiting water levels to drop to access the damage and thank you to Emergency Services and Army for assisting those in need . A Tale of Two Cities, whilst the Labor Political (Council, State, Federal) agenda locally puts further delays on Adani + jobs (so much for Cathy Otooles massive Billboard Woolcock Street) Cairns airport has just announced a $55 mil T2 upgrade with 300 jobs under construct and 150 on opening . All Townsville can muster is some access changes , its a shame Townsville voters have such short memories . As you said ,is a quarter of a cities houses damaged enough to declare a ‘natural disaster”?.

  3. boho63 says:

    Looked at TCC dam level website on Friday only to see that they reported that no reading could be taken because of a faulty sensor. Hmmmm….an out maybe?

  4. Spooka says:

    I cannot believe how bright this Mullet is,” unf***kinbebellivable” The mullet states in a media statement that “quote” Townsville is currently experiencing decent rain this wet season” and again “quote” This type of weather is typically normal during the wet season, but we do urge residents to be cautious. not only extraordinarily ignorant and stupid but then she double dips on stupidity, in another statement she made on ABC national, “Quote” We want to protect the “majority” of Townsville residents, well Mullet, what do you intend for the minority? Geezas I’ve seen some dumb airheads go through TCC over the years but this frootloop beats them all, Are her advisors just a stupid? one can’t help thinking are they white ants.

  5. Buttered Parsnip says:

    One things for sure.

    This rain event will knock the stuffing out of the campaign to cut insurance charges for Townsville

    Insurers, and even more so the reinsurers, analyse and understand risk better than governments.

    • The Magpie says:

      Well, at least the insurance council has declared Townsville a ‘catastrophe’, which means faster and prioritised processing of claims, claims that of this morning from those who have somehow already managed to lodge claims, have passed the $17m mark. Tip of the iceberg.

      • Dutch Reverend says:

        As you and most readers would appreciate, many insurance companies do NOT cover house and contents for flood. None the less they will most certainly be looking to smash all insurance holder up this way with a heavy increase to premiums. They will increase it based on postcode even if properties within that postcode have not been affected.
        So, I think the next step is that our elected representatives at both State & Federal level need to be on top of this and actually engaging with the insurance council in support of their constituents. Fat chance of that happening. I would imagine the best any of these peanuts could muster would be a veiled monotone whisper that no one could hear but still claim they did something.

        • I’ll be plucked says:

          G’day Dutchy, I believe the member for Townsville had holding insurance companies to account and putting the brakes on unreasonable policy price rises as one of his election promises when he took the seat originally. Well, we all know what happened there – zero! What will happen now? My bet is……….zero.

  6. Dave of Kelso says:

    Dear ‘Pie,
    I too thank Scotty for the link to the RR Dam Emergency Action Plan (EAP). I eventually made the link between the River Height Table on the BOM and Elevation Level (EL) used in the EAP.

    When I hear the Mullet say, “The dam is over 200%, and is perfectly safe.” I hear, “There is no water crisis.”

    Living where I do I would rather hear from this comprised politition factual and verifiable information. Some thing like, ” The dam is at 42.21m. Another .29m and the dam gates must be fully open. More than another 1.39m and according to our Emergency Action Plan, dam failure is extremely likely.”

    Remember folks that in 2003 the dam wall was found to be moving 10cm a year and at that rate the wall would fail within 10 years. Remeadation work was immediately and quietly started. The community was not advised. Now, many years later this info is included in the history of RR Dam, a copy of which can be found in Wikipedia

  7. Cantankerous but happy says:

    Looks like many of us know people caught out in Hermit Park on Friday morning, a total fail of the disaster centre and the info it should be supplying, we are over the river from there and have been receiving conflicting advice for day,s, including this one, , “your property may experience imminent flooding from Ross River, evacuation is urged if safety concerns”. If people had more info about river heights then they could make an informed decision as to whether they should be concerned, there are gauges on the river with the most relevant being Rooney’s Bridge, for anyone in Idalia, Oonoonba. I think they are hesitant to release information and keep people informed, sometimes 12 or more hours between advices, just worthless. We are told we have the best people working at these centres and they would no doubt have the information, why not release it, it’s just more high arsed public servants thinking they are too clever for everyone else and the less the public are told the better.

  8. Dutch Reverend says:

    Thank fuck there hasn’t been any announcements of kerbside hard waste collection. There would be shit floating around everywhere creating hazards to traffic and people. Hopefully there never will be. When this deluge has subsided, TCC needs to ensure that there is free access to tip sites while ratepayers clean up their properties.

    • Willy wonka says:

      Well now Jensen and hearveys range dumps are now closed to their landfill areas only stuart remains the only accessible place for mass dumping. These idiots in waste communities led by Jacob’s and the mayor closed them down only to have transfer stations. What great thinking for the future. When I say closed I mean the tip face not the big skip bins. But now Jensen dosnt even have access to them. This is another disaster waiting to happen in the background that nobody had any forward thinking in case of something happening. This wont be reported though. Are you awake now townsville bulletin?

  9. Dave of Kelso says:


    I expect that by now you are familiar with the RR Dam Emergency Action Plan (EAP), or you should be.

    At the next flood media conference, when the Mayor gives a % capacity for the dam I ask that your journalist ask, “Mayor, as this is now an emergency can we now use terms and references that relate to an emergency. What is the height or Elevation Level (EL) of the dam? What Stand Up level does that declare? What actions are required IAW the EAP? What is the EL increase before EL5 is reached? And finally will you tell us what EL5 is and what actions the TCC will take If it is approached or reached?

    And Miss Cairney, do not let your journalist take “No” for an answer.

    • The Magpie says:

      Hahahah, Dave you old jokster. You want that asked of a person so in touch with the moment and great memory that at a recent Australia Day ceremony she called Paul de Jersey, the governor of Queensland Peter … THREE TIMES.

    • Non Aligned Worker says:

      Agreed Dave, all further analysis should refer to elevation levels (as well as percentages). The EAP deals with EL’s so at this time when people are concerned it should form part of information disseminated to the public. As Anna Alphabet would say… its ‘impordant’.

      • The Magpie says:

        Well, yes, seems to make sense, but doesn;’t mean much to the average punter … including The ‘Pie. What’s to gain and understand if such information is available … is there a scale from ‘no worries, she’ll be right’ to self-evacuation in every sense? A brief precis please.

        • Non Aligned Worker says:

          The current +61 444 444 444 text and voice messages say Move away from Ross River now, flash flooding etc.
          Council and Emergency Services have access to every block and houses level in the city, above sea level and above RR.
          A blanket evacuate message can and does cause panic.
          I have had calls from elderly contacts who have been confused by the texts and VM’s.
          Hydrologist surveys have been done but the information isn’t available.
          This being the case the punters deserve the right to make their own informed decision.

          • Linda Ashton says:

            “Move away from the river.”
            Which part of the river? It’s a different beast all along the route from the dam wall to the mouth of Ross Creek. It has weirs that affect flow. Some sections have high embankments and others are quite low. We are on the Kelso side of the river just 5km from the spillway. The level rose steadily up the oblique embankment at the rear of Framara Park in the first 2 days. The roar was constant. Once the radial gates opened fully it rose quickly perhaps 3 meters. The usual 20m span bank to bank swelled to 80-100m. But we were never going to be at risk of inundation in this area of Kelso, unlike other lower properties amidst the tributaries of the nearby river on the other side of Riverway Drive – the Bohle (The Bowl on Sky weather). Some of those folks actually needed to move away from the Bohle and closer to the Ross, to evacuate. We have to wonder how the approvals process has changed to allow for new developments since Ross Dam was installed in 1971 and upgraded 2007. Were weirs modified? Flood zone maps adjusted?
            So there’s a new prestige section in Townsville on the river called “Kelso Rise.”
            Heartfelt sorrow for residents and friends dealing with the aftermath. Community spirit might in fact resurrect as it often does post catastrophic events. Recalling Cyclone Tracy 1974.

  10. Gonzo says:

    Hi Pie, First of all, how are you and how is your abode? It’s such an enormous amount of water to inflict on a city: up to 20,000 Townsville homes could go under water. Your coverage of the Bulletin’s coverage is terrific. And I agree with you that a disaster of this magnitude can make or break a newspaper. Your favourite editor, Ms Jenna Cairney, has handled it all well, and given her young journos a chance to see what real reporting is like. I hope she follows the Pie’s wise counsel. And that was a nice segue into Trumpistan. I’ve never been big on half-time entertainment during football (gridiron) games, but I would certainly watch the Mueller Report! Another great blog, Pie!

    • The Magpie says:

      Thanks, Gonzo, the Nest is on a stable hillside, so there is at least one reliable hill in this town. all good personally, but, oh, poor fella, my town.

      Swanees soon, mate.

      • The Wulguru Wonder says:

        Sorry Pie……but GO THE DOGGIES!!!!

        I’m predicting that the Swanees will be well and truely plucked in round 1……care to put a bottle of Passion Pop on the result?

        • The Magpie says:

          The ‘Pie makes it a rule not to take advantage of the afflicted.

          • Non Aligned Worker says:

            ‘Pie I honestly wonder who is going to play the ‘Dees in the GF.

          • The Magpie says:

            Which year … no … decade will be close enough?

          • Non Aligned Worker says:

            Bottle of red on it?

          • Gonzo says:

            Hi again Pie, Sorry I missed The Wulguru Wonder’s and the Non Aligned Worker’s predictions that the Doggies would win the GF. I have to be honest, the Doggies have a chance and the Swanees’ a more slender one, depending on the young players coming into their own. We still have Buddy, Kennedy, Parker and Rampe to name a few stalwarts.
            Anyway, glad to hear you’re on the stable side of the hill, but I can sympathise with you. It just won’t stop raining. The words that come to mind are: Cry the Beloved Townsville. My thoughts are with you and the residents of FNQ. Hang in there.

          • The Magpie says:

            Thanks, Goinzo.
            Re AFL: that’s enough of the bloody honesty, mate.

      • Alahazbin says:

        Council built “The Great Wall of Carmichael” after he got his house wiped out by a landslide on the “Night of Noah”. If you are below that you are safe.

        • Cajun says:

          Ala, the bund wall protects three homes on the upper side of Stanton Terrace, the five houses across the street, the ten houses on Stanley Street and all the houses and the units along Gregory Street, the Queen’s Garden, the Hotel Allen …. you get the picture?! It is letting us all sleep peacefully during this shocking weather. When you get 1,000s of tonnes of rocks and mud coming through your home, you get the right to comment!

  11. Mike Shearer says:

    I have been receiving many calls from friends down south who’ve heard on the news that “up to 20,000 Townsville homes could go under water”. What irks me is the “go under water” which is so misleading to southerners who know nothing of hi-set houses. The impression given is that 20,000 homes will be under water to their eaves or higher (“…go under…”). I have friends who’ve got water under their hi-set houses, but still metres below the floor they actually live on. I’ve got a few centimetres of water under my house, due to the ground being sodden and absorbing rain rather slowly, but nothing to do with inadequate storm drains nor the Ross River. I’d like to know what was actually meant when the statement “20,000 homes could go under water” was first made, and what is the number of houses that will actually have water in their living rooms and bedrooms.

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie was under the impression – although certainly it was not specifically said – that the 20,000 number, one quarter of Townsville’s houses, would be affected if the dam failed. That possibility is in documents, but The ‘Pie is not being alarmist since remediation work was done some years ago, as quietly as possible, to avoid panic and real estate chaos. Can’t see 20,000 homes being affected just by rain or big water releases. It would seem that the Bulletin’s article about what people should do if the dam bursts was surely sanctioned by authorities, so the possibility is certainly there, resting the lap of the rain gods. BTW have you seen anywhere information where these 20,000 homes are?

      PS Good to know you and Jan are dry (relatively) … sincerely trust it stays that way.

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        I listened to the press conference just held. The figure of 20,000 homes being affected was raised. A male voice stated to the effect that as things stand, from current modelling about 550 homes will be affected.

        The 20,000 is if (quote) “things go pear shaped”.

        Now do you feel fully informed? What is “pear shaped”?

        A quarter of Townsville’s dwellings could be destroyed by pears!

        No mention of dam failure, or the modelling that gives the 20,000 figure apparently. I’ll bet they regret even mentioning 20,000.

        • The Magpie says:

          Pear shaped? Too technical for The ‘Pie.
          It was Townsville Police District acting Chief Superintendent Steve Munro who first mentioned the 20,000 yesterday … not sure why, and it was very vague. This why The ‘Pie talked about management disaster … the half-hints and ‘pear shaped’ lingo is obviously prompted by some modelling the centre is privy to, but have decided we aren’t mature enough to share. For certain, the famous Townsville Council ‘culture of secrecy’ has infested our Disaster centre. This isn’t The ‘Pie having a cosy whinge from the sidelines, this is the real deal, with not just property at risk but lives as well.

          • Non Aligned Worker says:

            Apparently the common man will not be intelligent enough to understand the modelling.
            Magpie, at least this blog has been able to guide those interested in the science behind the decisions being made and why.
            I bet your readers are more cognisant of the real situation than the Mullet. So far it is being run “by the numbers”

          • Scientician79 says:

            And they need to come clean with clear information and release the modelling.

            As this goes on the worst case scenario’s are becoming more and more likely.

            The Dam is now over 230% with over 300mm of rain in the catchment since 9am, still rising and more rain predicted over the catchment in the coming hours.

            While the idea that the dam will overflow the walls seemed like a crazy idea a few days ago I would suggest it is becoming more and more likely by the hour. Who would have predicted a week ago it would be at 230% today?

            The TCC Disaster website is hopeless, they talk about needing to move to higher ground and issue warnings but provide no context. Maps of likely scenarios would be a start – I remember those being circulated in the lead up to Yasi which allowed people to make informed decisions.

            I also take issue with the very airy way Mullet tells people in effected areas “locals know there areas and what the likely impacts are”. Maybe, but new arrivals to town who have never been through an event like this have no idea and aren’t helped by being told to “make a decision early”. Based on what exactly??

            Sorry Pie, turned into a rant but I think it’s fair to say we are all on edge after the last week, particularly the last few days and it’s not close to over yet

          • The Magpie says:

            A sensible rant, nevertheless, thanks.

          • Mangrove Jack says:

            This is the SunWater Ltd Emergency Action Plan dated March 2018


            It lists triggers for spillway gates opening once the water height reaches certain Elevation Water levels. refer pg C21

            It appears the TCC CEO plays a fairly important role (pg 10)

            refer Pgs. i, 29-37 for more detailed information

            This is a very detailed document. It doesn’t mention Pie-shaped, but it does mention “Dam failure extremely likely” as an event.

            Whether all the actions around the spillway openings and the timing of such have been in line with the document, if this is still the official document, ????

          • The Magpie says:

            Ahem … if things went ‘pie-shaped’, it wouldn’t be too far off ‘pear-shaped’.

  12. seagull says:

    gosh … that Mr Tapiolas is so right … why don’t they just get on with it & start diggin up that coal … so we can all make some more money … hopefully while he’s waitin for that to happen he might pick up a handy bit of insurance work to keep him goin … good luck with it Pete !

  13. Dave of Kelso says:

    A break in the weather and time to inspect the area, together with the rest of Townsville it seems.

    Dam EL at 42.52 but gates not fully open. Spill way viewing platform more exciting than Strand water park, if squeals from the children are a guide.

    Off to Riverway.

    River in this area highest I have ever seen (since 1982), but not over the road.

    At Riverway very little freeboard left. Police clearing the area of the many visitors, advising, “There is a lot more water about to come.” Only residents may stay.

    Does this indicate the TCC is preparing to comply with their own EAP? Answer; don’t know.

    Something to ponder. Pioneer Park, before it was Riverway had significant levebanks to stop a flooding Ross River failing to take the bend and flowing through what is now The Willows and Kirwan, eventually joining up with the Boyle River. Seems that the wisdom of removing the levebanks is about to be tested.

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Some good news. Happyhour approaches!

      • Mangrove Jack says:


        Level 4 activation

        Townsville Disaster Information
        42 mins ·
        MEDIA RELEASE >> Flooding warning for Townsville suburbs, 3 February at 4:22PM
        Residents in many suburbs across Townsville are warned that they may experience flooding from rapid rises of the Ross River.
        This includes Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.
        The dam spillway gates may open to their full setting between the hours of 8.30pm tonight and 6am tomorrow. This setting would release up to 2000 cubic metres of water per second out of the dam.
        Everyone should ensure they move away from riverbanks and get to higher ground before 8.30pm tonight. Residents still in their homes in these suburbs should move to the highest ground in their dwelling before 8.30pm tonight.
        A map of potential inundated properties will released shortly.
        If you require evacuation assistance, contact SES on 132 500. For life-threatening emergencies call 000.
        For more information listen to local radio, phone 1800 738 541 or visit Council’s Emergency Management Dashboard disaster.townsville.qld.gov.au

        • Mangrove Jack says:

          I hate the idea of a potential disaster about to happen during the hours of darkness. It would have been much more preferable for the action to be taken from 6am.

          Sorry for the Pie-shaped/Pear-shaped mix up….

          • The Magpie says:

            look, beden thinking about that, and genuine question: why at night? Doesn’t that increase the hazard risk beyond what could be expected anyway? Surely there must be a reason, one we HAVE A RIGHT to know about. Please don’t let it be that the decision-makers have painted themselves into a corner, where time and timidity have brought them to this potentially terrible moment.

          • Dave of Kelso says:


    • Linda Ashton says:

      I climbed said levees back in the day bushwalking and rode horses with pony club in the now soggy newer developments of idalia, (oonoonba), Fairfield waters, Annandale and older Rosslea. The new ones were saltmarsh then, too risky for rider and horse following king tides. Add some rocks and topsoil – voile – suburbs. Harris Crossing, Mt. Margaret, The Avenues ……. Hope all is well for these?

  14. I'm no genius.............. says:

    I’m no genius…………..but page 159 of teh Ros River EAR has a storage curve that tells you what the EL is from the storage capacity ML.

    Dave of Kelso has all the answers to his questions in the document. Just needs to read and understand it.

    By my reckoning the current capacity of 550ML (https://twitter.com/rossriverdam?lang=en) is equivalent to an EL of about 43 mAHD.

    Personally I think the general public would be more comfortable with the “%Full” number that the “EL”………………………..but like I said:
    I’m no genius

    • The Magpie says:

      Of course you are … you’re reading The Magpie, aren’t you?

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Thanks for the advice. With the input of all intrested we will get a correct understanding. When I get facts wrong I welcome correction, in a nice way. When it comes to my opinions, well that is a different matter. Haha.

      Thanks Ing.

      ps you calculate an EL of 43. That is Stand Up 3 with gates fully open?

  15. seagull says:

    ok here we are … capitulation … they have no idea …

    “Flooding warning for Townsville suburbs� �

    Residents in many suburbs across Townsville are warned that they may experience flooding from rapid rises of the Ross River.”

    fair enough too … we are all doin this for the first time … stay safe

  16. Cantankerous but happy says:

    A couple of our local darling juveniles have been spotted going through the floodwaters at Idalia, showing the sort of community spirit Townsville is famous for, probably just checking that people had locked up their houses. A few locals gave them a gobfull of abuse of which they just politely ignored and went on regardless until a Bushmaster full of army lads pulled them up and told them to fuck off quickly or else, they departed instantly, wish our police were given the same respect, maybe it’s all in the way you say it. .

  17. The Wulguru Wonder says:

    The discussion about the clarity and effectiveness of the information being released by the Daiaster Management Committee reminds me of a great line in Kurt Vonnegut’s “Cat’s Cradle”:

    “Dr. Hoenikker used to say that any scientist who couldn’t explain to an eight-year-old what he was doing was a charlatan.”

    My gut feeling is that in today’s political and social environment a lot of complicated stuff isn’t actually complicated at all……it’s just made to seem that way so no one will notice that it’s actually bullshit and/or that the ‘experts’ don’t really know what they are doing. Most political communication and discourse is badly written because if it wasn’t, people would actually understand what the was being said and laugh them out of a job.

    • The Magpie says:

      And welcome to the Murray/Darling debate.

    • Achilles says:

      Yep it`s been around for ages, Sir Humphrey Appleby would be so proud of these clowns following his example.

    • Linda Ashton says:

      Every insurance company’s policy will have specific terms describing cover. One wrong phrase from an official source and it can be voided. Disaster zone? Natural disaster? Flood? Stormwater surge? Act of god? (Nice chap), manually operated flood gate action? Auto operation as per the EAP? Will we know what happened? The published warning was for 8.30pm. The full opening was 8.09pm. catastrophe? Whatever it was it’s fair to say no one was really fully prepared.

  18. boho63 says:

    Saw this on the disaster dashboard released 14.23 Flooding warning for Townsville suburbs� �
    Residents in many suburbs across Townsville are warned that they may experience flooding from rapid rises of the Ross River.

    This includes Rosslea, Hermit Park, Railway Estate, Townsville City, Oonoonba, Idalia, Cluden, West End, Rowes Bay, Garbutt, Aitkenvale, Cranbrook, Currajong, Mysterton, Pimlico, Mundingburra, Douglas, Annandale, Kirwan and Thuringowa Central and South Townsville areas.

    The dam spillway gates may open to their full setting between the hours of 8.30pm tonight and 6am tomorrow. This setting would release up to 2000 cubic metres of water per second out of the dam.

    Everyone should ensure they move away from riverbanks and get to higher ground before 8.30pm tonight. Residents still in their homes in these suburbs should move to the highest ground in their dwelling before 8.30pm tonight.

    A map of potential inundated properties will released shortly.


  19. boho63 says:

    SORRY,,,,should read released 16.23

  20. Dutch Reverend says:

    Why do we not get updated information breaking into TV broadcasts like we get with a pending Cyclone. ? Not everyone listens to the radio or goes to websites. There is a serious neglect here in giving residents urgent and vital information.

    • Non Aligned Worker says:

      Dutchy. Given the very up to date rain fall information available, the known flow rates out of the dam, the water levels through the suburbs with measured and recorded and council approved levels of all blocks and houses, the flood levels are predictable. Maybe more should have been spent on modelling programmes than a flash emergency centre?

      • Dutch Reverend says:

        There’s no reason this information couldn’t have been shared through all forms of media on a more regular basis so people could make better, informed decisions.

    • Linda Ashton says:

      Not all older folks have a mobile phone.

  21. Achilles says:

    Many years ago I was engaged on a project in Western China on the Yellow River near Lanzhou city. The main purpose was to ensure that proposed levees and earthen dam walls would stand the test of time due to the annual dramatic changes in the climate.

    One experiment conducted was the effect of thunder on these dams when filled to capacity, were close to, or direct lightning strikes, with the accompanying low frequency thunder shock wave.

    The resulting collapses of all the saturated earthwork dam walls, meant that the more expensive but sturdier use of piles and concrete was adopted.

    • Achilles says:

      Supplementary, I sent the item before it was finished. About 10 years ago engineers in China came up with a simple and very cheap solution, to enable the use of earthen dam walls.

      They worked out how the low frequency sound-waves` harmonic signature could be neutralised by simple breakwaters with walls of calculated lengths and heights.

  22. No More Dredging says:

    ‘Pie, I’m fascinated by your assertion (about three times, one way or another, in your piece) that the Ross River dam flood managers, be that the Mayor, the Premier or whoever, did not open the flood gates early enough. I wonder what the facts are? I assume, waiting to be corrected (and haven’t I been there before!), that the ‘flood gates’ cannot have any effect until the dam is at 100+%? I looked at the notes I made back in the day and it seems that the dam reached 98% at 11am on Wednesday 30 January. A report, with photo, in the North Queensland Register showed that one of the floodgates was opened at 1.30pm on that same day – 30 January – i.e. two and a half hours later. So how could the floodgates have been opened any earlier? What difference could a few minutes have made?

    • The Magpie says:

      Look again and you might find what you call an assertion was in fact a question… how the hell would this bird know anything about that operation, and his idea … perhaps not clear … that there may have been a certain timidity in the timing, in the hope that this would – literally – blow over. A quoted businessman commenting on the situation did pose a strong question about the gate opening, but that too was a question. Certainly the mayor would be right to exercise caution before opening, given that water is such an issue in this town. But the question remains about the timing, the advice and the information, and the ultimate effectiveness which we will not know about unless it comes out in a post mortem. You also appear to ignore that there are degrees of opening, as you spring Sir Galahad-like to the defence of your favourite maid which you appear to judge the evil ‘Pie has besmirched. Gadzook and zounds!!!

      • No More Dredging says:

        ‘Pie, I think you’ll find that the Mayor has been announcing what the dam managers have done after the fact. Until the 100% opening thing that is. That needed a whole swag of pre-organisation. I think it has been a cruel circumstance today that while a big area along the coast (North Ward, Belgian Gardens, airport etc and Maggie Island) had virtually no rain after 9am until mid-afternoon (according to the BOM rain gauges), the RR dam itself had well over 300mm fall right in it. All of a sudden, that deluge has to go somewhere and with the dam level at 246% at 7pm it had to happen right away.

        • The Magpie says:

          And your point is?

          And, mate, your dead wrong about the coastal rainfall … North Ward and right along the Strand to Belgian Gardens had some of the heaviest falls of this round from early this morning, well before 9am, it bucketed down in torrents until about 1.30, then there was that lull of no rain at all … then it started again about four-ish … even heavier than the morning. The ‘Pie knows this as a fact since he was in the middle of it all where he lives. Either your information (for whatever reason) is wrong or the BOM gauges are wrong – by a reasonably educated guess, North Ward had more than 50-60mm this morning, probably more … it was unrelenting.

    • Non Aligned Worker says:

      NMD Cannot release water below 38. 45 m because it is below the gates/ overflow.

  23. The Wulguru Wonder says:

    Watching 7QLD news…..The Premier was filmed visiting an evacuation centre….did I really hear hear say “Keep smiling and it will all be OK” to the evacuees?

    How reassuring.

  24. Cup Cake says:

    They are most likely opening to 100 percent tonight as full low tide occurs around 3pm Low tide allows water to flow out more easily.

    Sunwater has created this problem. They are consistently making decisions two days late. They would have been better off releasing 100 percent today during low tide – instead they waited …. again.

  25. Cup Cake says:

    low tide occurs at around 3.28pm tomorrow

    keep the gates open 100 percent for as long as you can , as soon as the tide turns towards low tide release as much as you can


    the devil be damned and keep them open 100 percent all the time

  26. Ando says:

    Good overlay map here. Type in an address to zoom in on it.

    If I was anywhere within the potential flood area, I would be getting out.

  27. Ando says:

    Clive seems quiet at the moment. I wonder how his dams are holding up?
    Surprising that there is no mention in the media considering his “children will die” assertion a few years back when the proposal to pump out was rejected.

  28. SNAFU69 says:

    Surely the quote of the week has to be the one by Sarah Huckabee Sanders the White House Press Secretary “I think God calls all of us to fill different roles at different times and I think that he wanted Donald Trump to become president,” If you follow that thought process were Premier Alphabet and Mayor Mullet appointments a divine calling from up high?

  29. sir ossis o'fliver says:

    I claim no expertise in these matters, but, cannot fathom why the dam gates would be fully opened at 8.30 pm, exactly the time of HIGH TIDE!!

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      So by the time the surge travels down river to the tidal section downstream of the last weir it is catching the outgoing tide one hour after the ebb as it heads towards the lowest low tide of the day at 03.00 or thereabouts, and hope like shit enough of it gets away before the highest high tide of the day mid morning comes back in.

      • Bentley says:

        In my living memory, (longer than I care to admit), the common factor in flood events has been the procrastination of those in control before opening floodgates. Yes I believe this dam needs to be 100% (to the spillway) before that can happen. But it was then opened progressively until there was a risk of catastrophic failure.
        What I could not understand was the contained flow during low tide/ebb. The river level at Douglas increased by about a metre between 8 and 10pm when they apparently opened automatically, doubling the rate, at high tide. Perhaps the hydraulics could not be controlled manually?

        • Dr Seuss says:

          The gate ARE controlled manually , theres no “automatic”. Sunwater are feeding the council porkies.

          • The Magpie says:

            Possibly, but it may be a matter of dodging around using semantics … meaning that when a certain level is reached, it is an implicit order to open them – manually. So maybe its the order that is automatic determined by the level.

            Or not.

    • Ando says:

      Can’t claim to be an expert myself either.
      I would assume the flow from the fully opened gates would take many hours to go downstream and possibly the reason for opening two hours before the high.

  30. Gull says:

    Great blog again Pie and full marks, as you say, to the Bulletin for keeping people up to date on their website… perfect use of the technology, once again showing that the printed word can be outdated by the time the paper publishes the following day. But also a perfect example of the importance of having a strong local media outlet that can ask the pertinent questions of the powers that be and stand up for the people. Just as you do but to a wider audience (dwindling admittedly). My thoughts are with all affected … I do agree with one commenter that yes most homes are highset but it’s a disaster nonetheless . No fun having water flow through your home and yard … it happened several times in a few years when I lived at Currajong but this sounds worse. There’s a lot of angst to come for many I fear … and a long inquest.

  31. Cajun says:

    Big thanks to the Bully for not putting their latest news reports behind the paywall … it means they are reaching far and wide, through Facebook. Much appreciated!

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie seconds that … in fact the paper’s policy appears to have always been that to quarantine some stories would be counter-productive and just produce resentment. On the other hand, can you imagine putting rolling, running VITAL information behind a paywall … there’d be riots afterwards, and even possibly legal action. On rare occasions, even News Corpse must bow to overwhelming common sense in the community interests.

  32. Mooney street blues says:

    You bring up Tapiolis at an interesting time to mention him, Pie. Valid though his opinions may be, Mr Tapiolis and the other architects and home builders in this town need to really assess what they’re building. We see new suburb after suburb of badly drained landlocked boxes. Yeah, massive flooding everywhere, but those up high are fine. In the past, people didn’t just decide to build northern homes on stilts arbitrarily. It wasn’t a decision based on aesthetics of any such nonsense, it made sense. These guys need to wake up and design for the region, because as we now see, and have seen many times, shit happens.

    • The Magpie says:

      The ‘Pie understands the purpose of the high-sets was two-fold … coolness and yes, safety from floods. Some have even suggested protection from snakes and the like. Seems air conditioning and mis-placed arrogance ruled by economics put paid to that wisdom.

  33. One legged tap dancer says:

    The disastrous committee has finally opened the Burdell evacuation centre, now that the floodwater has gone down and the road is open.
    My favourite quote from Mayor Mullet: People in high blocked houses are in a better position than those in low houses.
    My thoughts are with the good people of Idalia today. Wonder if they were told, when they were buying their homes, that the suburb used to be a swamp and part of the Ross River flood plain.

    • The Magpie says:

      Well, due diligence is up to the buyer, sellers generally only lie by omission (like the govt owns next door and will become a sex offenders half-way house). Anyway, anyone within a flat cooee of a waterway should know things would occasionally get dampish.

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      They don’t call it the Bohle flood plane anymore. After the developers moved in it became Lar-De-Dar Waters or similar.

      • Alahazbin says:

        King Les had the official flood level lowered on Bohle Plains when he was Mayor of Thuringowa, so more Developement could occur.

  34. Cantankerous but happy says:

    I think it would be a good time for the state govt to pull the ads for its Village development off the TV, considering half the fucking thing is underwater and houses evacuated, Riverside, Cityside indeed, they have gone from houses by the river to houses in the river. I can see a big class action against the state govt on this one, half the houses in the development are built below the old Fairfield Heights developement levels from years ago, an investigation must be made as to why.

  35. Grumpy says:

    The media keep saying that the gate opening last night was “automatic”. It’s as if they have been told to emphasise that fact.

    Is it really true that there is no manual override?

    I’ve been a little busy the last few days and have not been able to focus on the science and three-letter-acronyms being thrown about. But it sounds to me like there is a lot of arse-covering going on. Did they learn nothing from Drayton?

  36. Achilles says:

    The Astonisher on line has published a status of suburbs under threat in alphabetical order. Great idea and very constructive, unless you live in Cranbrook, because they have cut and pasted the warning for Currajong.


  37. The Magpie says:

    To commenter Greg: while The ‘Pie appreciates your questions, they’re wholly based on what your ‘friend’, whose reasons/qualifications for making such a claim are not mentioned, therefore your overall comment hasn’t been published. To say your friend … and therefore ultimately you – are ‘muddying the waters’ is perhaps a bad and untimely joke, but floating such suggestions – that imply deliberate and life-threatening lying by authorities – are neither helpful or justified at this stage. If it turns out your friend is right, technical data will be available afterwards to prove it, but now is not the time.The ‘Pie has his hands full with sorting through messages to the blog as it is – and sure, he may have made some misjudgements – but completely unverified accusations are not helpful.

  38. Mangrove Jack says:

    An Emergency Management media conference on ABC TV broadcast just before lunch.

    Premier Anna running the show, with Coralee O’Rourke and the Mullet behind her, and Senior Police in the background, and the whole time you could see the Mullets face was expressionless.

    It was beautiful how Premier Anna had her say, then handed over to a couple of Senior Police, then when it came for the Mullets turn at the Microphone, the ABC went back to the Brisbane studio, and we never heard a word from her. I nearly shed a tear..

    • The Magpie says:

      Senator The Hon Ian Macdonald
      Liberal – Queensland – LNP

      Commonwealth Government Townsville Disaster Assistance

      The Commonwealth Government has activated disaster relief and recovery arrangements across Townsville and North Queensland in response to the significant weather event and flooding emergency of the past week.

      As an initial emergency response, Disaster Recovery Payments of $1000 per adult and $400 per child will be available from 10am on Tuesday February 5, 2019 by phoning the Australian Government Emergency Information Line on 180 22 66.

      Further information on the Disaster Recovery Payment, including eligibility criteria, can be found at:


      Assistance is also being provided through the activation of the Disaster Recovery Allowance (DRA).

      The DRA provides a short-term income support payment to assist individuals who can demonstrate their income has been affected as a direct result of the floods.

      People eligible for DRA can access income assistance for up to 13 weeks, equivalent to the maximum rate of Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance.

      Additionally, the Director General Emergency Management Australia has approved the activation of COMDISPLAN, the Australian Government Disaster Response Plan prepared and maintained by Emergency Management Australia (EMA) disaster assistance in support of the Queensland Government.

      Emergency Management Australia has deployed a Liaison Officer, who will be situated in the State Disaster Coordination Centre from February 4, 2019.

      Recovery assistance is being provided under the jointly funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA). DRFA assistance is available in the 8 affected local government areas of Townsville, Burdekin, Cairns, Hope Vale, Whitsunday, Wujal Wujal, Cook, and Douglas. Available assistance includes funding to restore damaged essential public assets and for counter disaster operations.

      Further, the Commonwealth Government has ensured that:

      approximately 1800 ADF personnel are available and assisting under the direction of local authorities.
      Joint Task Force (JTF) 658 has been stood up under the command of Brigadier Scott Winter.
      A Defence Aid to the Civil Community (DACC) 2 request for the supply and delivery of 90,000 sandbags was approved, with 30,000 being a delivered today, after Queensland had exhausted its stock.
      Geoscience Australia has obtained approval to activate the Copernicus Satellite to capture radar images over the impacted areas. The first images will be available to view from Monday February 4, 2019.
      Some areas may also receive assistance for personal hardship and to reconnect essential services.

      Any member of the community who requires additional information regarding any of the Commonwealth Government assistance that is being made available should contact the office of Senator Macdonald:

      Office of Senator Ian Macdonald
      131 Denham Street
      07 4771 3066

  39. The Magpie says:


  40. The Magpie says:

    Story placement blues … oh, well (sigh) … it was inevitable really.

    Since the left hand story is sponsored content (an ad in effect), it could easily have been dropped, if any one was on the ball … which answers that.

  41. Zebu says:

    Gday Pie
    Could someone please clarify for me if it is correct that when the gates are open at 100per cent that the storage is at 94per cent.
    If this is the case then couldn’t the gates have be opened then because we haven’t seen the dam at that level for so long and we didn’t have a ‘Water Crisis ‘at levels far less than that.

    After all this rain event commenced in January and there could be a realistic expectation that we could receive more rain in the remaining months of the Wet Season.

    These decision makers have all the information from the BOM at their disposal and from the outset it was forecast that this would be a significant Rain event.

    • The Magpie says:

      Your comment takes a bit of reading, but it makes sense to The ‘Pie. In other words, nothing flows out at 94% so why not have the gates wide open so a steady, and not overwhelming stream flows through and down the Ross River. There may be a technical reason why not (the idea is too logical to be missed, surely) but as The ‘Pie has suggested elsewhere, there could be a political dimension to this, if the authorities have been stupid enough to allow someone like Jenny Hill to have a major say in all this … make no mistake, it would constantly be in her mind to have this event bestow on her the mantle of saviour, Saint Jenny of the Lake. So she would be worried at the outset that if it didn’t rain significantly to increase the dam to 100% or more, fully open gates would invite her opponents and carpers (hi from The ‘Pie Jen!) would accuse her of wasting 6% at least of our precious water and that the flow could’ve been shut off and the dam level increase back up to 100% when it was clear that the rain was abating. So maybe the gates stayed shut until it was too late for that reason. Maybe not, but whatever the reason, thousands of people will want to know exactly how this disaster was ‘managed’, and was there devastation n’for the greater good’ really necessary.

      There certainly will be a need for an explanation of the timings, the flood gate apertures and amount of water released, no matter who made the call – and remember, it may well not have been the mayor.

      • Mike Shearer says:

        The comments so far have been about letting water out of the dam. But that water had first to come in, and surely we need to know how much and at what rate it was coming in. It’s possible (probable) that the inflow was so rapid and so great that there was no way the dam content could be stopped from exceeding 100%, or 120% or whatever.

  42. Puddles says:

    Here is a interesting one for the legal eagles who I believe will be counting there dollars after they finish with all the flood fun.
    Lovely close-to-town suburb The Village was developed to 1 in 50 year flood heights – the council told developers it has to be built to 1 in 100 year event but the state government over-ruled the council as they can and it was built to 1 in 50 year event heights.
    Watch the eagles hover here.

  43. J jones says:

    Out in the burbs and dry
    Interested – is the new stadium site under water?

    • The Magpie says:

      Drove by yesterday, an d the surrounds were muddy but not under but the interior where the playing field is to be was under … don’t know how deep, but no biggy at that stage.

  44. One legged tap dancer says:

    Regarding who made the decision to open the dam gates, I have heard from a reliable source that in the early days of this disaster the police representative on the Disastrous Committee wanted to open them to relieve pressure on the dam wall, but Mayor Mullet argued against it and initially got her way.
    Eventually, with the dam wall in peril, she had no alternative but to give in to the demands of the police.
    The unnecessary delay caused the misery inflicted on thousands of families along the river banks and across flood plains. Instead of a steady release, we got something akin to parts of the dam wall collapsing.
    I’ll be very surprised if Anna Alphabet instigates an inquiry into the handling of the disaster by the Disastrous Committee, but I’m betting the victims (class action anyone?) if not the insurance companies, will want to know if some of the millions of dollars in dam related flood damage could have been avoided.
    Whatever transpires it appears that Mayor Mullet has treated the disaster as a PR opportunity in a desperate attempt to bolster her flagging electoral appeal.
    For example, I asked why she always wears that ridiculous white “Chairperson” vest during her bumbling media conferences and was told that all committee members have to wear them so they know who’s who (fair dinkum, if they need to do that then God help us).
    But the vests are only required to be worn during meetings, so why wear it at a media conference if not to big note yourself?
    The police representative hasn’t worn a vest during any of the media conferences. Neither has Anna Alphabet, who took over the chairperson role after she arrived in town on Sunday.
    Instead of constantly pissing in the mayor’s pocket, can just one radio jock, tv reporter or newspaper journalist grow some balls and ask Mayor Mullet how what should have been a gradual dam water release turned into a full scale disaster?

    • The Magpie says:

      Undoubtedly, that question will be front and center when this is all subsided. And Dolan’s gunna be a busy boy, spinning this one. And old bird is happy to predict that The ‘Pie will be copping spme sideways flak ..,. even at this stage, the mayor is flinching about ‘armchair critics’ … well, it’s a change from keyboard warriors.

    • Cantankerous but happy says:

      Exactly right, anyone would half a brain would be able to look at the BOM last Thursday and see rain rain and more bloody rain, 150-200mm most days for the next week, surely this is the advice the BOM would have given the Mullet, there is no logical reason why it would be any different to the advice on its website, maybe the Mullet like many of us thought here goes the BOM again telling everyone it’s going to piss down and then nothing happens, the only difference is when the rest of us ignore the BOM it means we still put our sprinklers on the day before, when the Mullet doesn’t believe them it floods a few thousand people.

  45. Sam1 says:

    Where do these boofhead reporters get their information. Josh Holt on 10 News just said that Annandale got 260 mm overnight and Annandale is inundated. Not at my house or anyone else in my neighbourhood. No wonder family down south get worried.

    • The Magpie says:

      And while we’re in this area – you can’t keep a good pedant down – ‘floods or flood water inundated’ is redundant, indundate means flood, basically it’s saying floods flood. One of the first lessons in English The ‘Pie learnt as a cadet reporter.

  46. Concerned says:

    It would be good if the media ask our so called sulent and useless State and Federal members about why the Bruce highway has not been flood proofed.
    And I hope ALL.voters remember this the next time the election comes around and kicks the current head shaking State members, and minority extremist Fed member out.

  47. Dutch Reverend says:

    To see Mullet blaming victims for being stuck in the floods was absolutely pathetic. She carried on about people having to be door knocked twice. (could it be they weren’t there the first time they we’re door knocked)? Then she banged on that they sent out numerous EA’s, (so fundamentally, if they got caught, too bloody bad) I got several EA’s which were very broad. My wife only got some earlier, but didn’t get any later at the same time I did. Guess what, thankfully we didn’t get flooded, so what if we did evacuate, and ended up using resources more needed for others. The EA’s were too broad and should have been better targeted. I’m sure the technology is there to fine tune.

    • The Magpie says:

      Irony Corner: Seems Mayor Mullet’s vision for 2020 has come somewhat early.
      Oh cruel, cruel fate.

      • seagull says:

        that notice was no longer there when I came past this morning …. but sure enough the 1/2 yr rates notice was in my p o box … choice

  48. Water rat says:

    How do I buy shares in Dolan Hayes Inc?

  49. J jones says:

    Interesting study in housing this flood has created.
    High set timber homes …. the old style….showing their worth.
    But the new modern southern style houses at Idalia have been found to be unsuitable to their location.

  50. Mark Harvey says:

    The Emergency Action Plan for Ross Dam is a public document. The EAP was written by experts in dam management. Table C3 tells you what gate movements are required at what water level. There is very little discretion available without putting the whole dam at risk. In terms of lake level rise, this was a rapid event which would further limit discretionary choices. If the water overtops the gates they will most likely fail mechanically.
    The gates lift out of the water at a lake level of 43m AHD – and the discharge rises significantly. The lake reached that level last night.
    To counter a very specific suggestion in the comments, The fixed spillway with the gates lifted will hold 30% of the full supply volume at steady state, not 96%. If the dam was left in that state then every rainstorm in the catchment would go straight over the spillway and go roaring down the river.

    I don’t believe that uninformed speculation, conspiracy theories and rumours will in any way help the thousands who have been so devestatingly impacted by this unprecedented rain event.

    For those who will undoubtedly ask me about the decisions made during this event, I was not in the room and cannot speak for those who were. I am simply pointing you to the rulebook that guided them.

    • The Magpie says:

      As one of the most respected commenters to this blog with real background experience, your technical explanations are accepted without question by The ‘Pie, Mark. And please understand that The ‘Pie thought long and hard about ‘opening the floodgates’ to comments – many of which have not seen the light of day – but in the end, in order to refute your inference about speculation etc, will not help those who have been so devastatingly impacted by all this, it will also not so them any harm. Those folks aren’t sitting around reading the Magpie blog, or even thinking much about the issues raised here – that will come later. It is quite legitimate to raise questions as matters unfold, not to be armchair critics but at some future date, let it be known that certain actions – and motivations – were questioned at the time.
      Perhaps things have changed since your time Mark, when you rightly commanded the respect due to the person in charge of our water needs, and it is no doubt a completely different, politically charged situation nowadays.
      But sincere thanks for your input.

    • Dearie Me says:

      My questions aren’t with management of the dam, nor the dam gate. The EAP is abundantly clear on what must happen.

      My queries are with management by TCC of the entire debacle.
      The events leading up, the lack of maintenance around the city, the way the have treated staff during and prior to this event, the poor and untimely communication coming from the disaster centre.

      Thank Christ we are a garrison city and the army can step in and save our arses when we need it. There would be a serious loss of life without these guys.

      Also a big thanks to the Council workers who are busting a gut to fix burst pipes, sewage leaks and other infrastructure breaks accross the city. And the Garbo’s who came and collected my rubbish. You guys and girls, are as always, our unsung heroes.

    • The Magpie says:

      Mark, have a southern reporter keen to have a chat with you (no, not the Daily Mail).. Can you send your contact details to messenger at the Magpie fb page, please (if interested).

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        See, the mainstream media do follow The Magpie.

      • Mark Harvey says:

        No contact with the reporter thanks – for a range of reasons I restrict my commenting to clarification of publicly available information and I have no doubt a reporter would want much more than that.

        • The Magpie says:

          Actually think that’s exactly what he wants … he’s not from a tabloid. But your call, and your input here is always appreciated.

    • Non Aligned Worker says:

      Thanks Mark
      They followed the rule book exactly, as they should. (100% release at 42.9 m).

  51. Mike Douglas says:

    There will be a lot of post-mortem after these floods notably the value of properties in areas with some of the worst damage like Hermit Park, Bluewater, Idalia, Fairfield Waters etc and a possible revised flood map . Questions asked of developers notably Idalia , Fairfield Waters and others . Insurers and whether houses and contents insurance can be available and at what cost . It’s not about kicking people when there down it’s challenging Council to collect data and try and put infrastructure into areas to possible avoid the same occurrence . Based on the amount rain it would impossible to keep every area safe but definitely lessons to be learnt .

    • The Magpie says:

      Certainly right, Mike, but The ‘Pie has often wondered about some of the arguments by those rightly concerned with the costs of insurance. The simple test of putting yourself in the insurer’s shoes and the financial risks taken should direct the argument in the right direction – and surely that can only be towards government involvement, perhaps guaranteeing top-off provisions in special areas – asking investors to willingly lose money is simply a (in this case, wet) dream of the left side of fancy dress fringe politics. Spreading a small part of the financial responsibility across wider society generally by the use of public money for such a top-off idea is not to compare insurance companies with the rapacious anti-social behaviour of the banks, such a move should be seen as a requirement of government responsibility towards vulknerable areas from which they are happy to collect their taxes in good times.

      • Cantankerous but happy says:

        New Zealand has a great model as proven by the Christchurch earthquakes, basic maths tells us the burden of insuring across a mass has far less impact on the individual when absorbed by that mass, reflecting the random way these things occur, floods at one end of the country, fires at the other. I also think when Govt have some risk in the game they will always want to offset that risk by proactively keeping that risk as low as possible, for example ensuring any floodwater from the Ross River that used to flow across the Idalia and Oonoonba plains have more than 3 small outlets under the railway line for water to escape east to then ocean.

    • Alahazbin says:

      Interesting TTE in Today’s Astonisher suggesting that RRD should be relegated to ‘flood mitigation and water be piped directly to a pump station from BFD. Similar to stage 2 of latest submission of the pipeline project. Wholly agree with RRD for flood mitigation.

  52. Dave of Kelso says:

    Dear ‘Pie,
    Seems someone at the ABC reads the Magpie. This article explaines dam ops using terms from the RR Dam Emergency Action Plan addressing matters raised in your Blog.

    Shame similar is not on the TCC web site.


    • The Magpie says:

      Kind words about The ‘Pie’s readership, Dave, but ‘taint necessarily so … it is an obvious journalistic response to buzz word Masonic-like announcements from stressed people with limited understanding of mass communication requirements. Clearer explanations would have been much more beneficial and should be a lesson learned for future situations that require skilled crisis management advice.

  53. Cynical Cricket says:

    Which idiot had the road gangs patching wet potholes in the rain? How is the premix going to stick? All the materials just getting kicked onto the road. Another absolute waste of money.

  54. Crankie Frankie J says:

    First time I’ve ever seen a stunned mullet

  55. Mark McGregor says:

    When I was GM of Townsville Basketball, I was approached by the TCC New stadium Project Manager to assist with input into the sporting side of the now RSL Stadium. There were a number of barriers laid on the table because of the other use for the venue being an evacuation Centre. Having had a lot to do with that area over the years I told them that it might be planned as such but nobody would access it in floods times. I was assured that all the appropriate measures would be implemented so it could be used in the case of an emergency. It was always going to be a multi sport/emergency evacuations Centre. I left TBI before they started it but now there is no mention of it. I wonder if it was just a ploy to ensure State Govt funding. The Mayor at the time was his Radiance. I still don’t know how they planned to flood proof the area.

    • The Magpie says:

      Well, hello there Mark, hope you are keeping safe and dry-ish. Have added this pic to illustrate the point you’re making. Photograph by the Bulletin’s Zak Simmonds, part of a graphic aerial gallery Zak put together from an overfly of the floods.

      • Inside TCC says:

        I think you will find the Townsville stadium formerly (RSL stadium) is now a recovery centre after events. Has something to do with being unable to get in and out during an event, not 100% on the details but never seems to get opened before “it hits the fan”

  56. The Magpie says:

    Memo Jenna Cairney for your troops.

    An old subbing point from way back – if you ‘evacuate’ a place, then you remove the inhabitants … if you ‘evacuate’ a person, you give them an enema. Just precautionary advice, and a trap better papers than yours fall into, like the SMH and Age.

    All this talk of self-evacuation perhaps explains why our floodwaters are brown.

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      Very clever.

      Perhaps the Townsville performing arts community could develop,

      Townsville Magpie, The Stage Show.

      Which actress would wear the red dress, black hair, carry an axe, and maintain glum look.

      Of course the musical will follow.

    • Mugwump says:

      C’mon now, really? Who will they be interviewing tomorrow? Ross River? Serge-Gene Waters? Of course, Jenny Hill.

      • The Magpie says:

        Regular readers will know that The Magpie collects this sort of triviality with names… his fav is the spokesman for the aviation authority or the pilots association, forget which, every time there is some sort of industry disaster – Mike Safe.

  57. Scientician79 says:

    I watched Mayor Mullet get quite wound up at a press briefing on Monday where she claimed the messaging was out and they couldn’t have done any more. Essentially if you got a message and didn’t leave that’s your fault.

    But here’s the problem, the messages were open to interpretation.

    Others may have received different communications, but below is the timeline of what I and my family in flood impacted suburbs received.

    Friday 11am
    “Your Property may experience imminent flooding from Ross River. Warn others, take action now”

    So on receipt of this message family members, based on the available information of prior flood events and likely flows decided there was no need to move. I also add around this time Mayor Mullet was informing people it was a judgment call, and locals know the areas to be concerned about – a message I take issue with as previously commented.

    Saturday 4pm
    “Increased flooding from intense rainfall. Move to higher ground if concerned”

    Again a message of open to interpretation, particularly that last sentence – “If concerned”. Where were the flood maps? The directions informing particular streets of the likely impact?

    I understand this is far from an exact science, particularly during a developing event, but where were the maps showing worst case, and likely case scenarios? Something to allow people to see what was possible and make these judgment calls that were being encouraged. Also at this point they were indicating the likely impact at around 500 properties.

    Sunday 5pm
    “Move away from Ross River now. Flash flooding from Dam between 20:30 and 06:00″

    Now we are at the pointy end, the level in the Dam was massively impacted Sunday afternoon, and the Dam was heading to the trigger point for increased outflows. At this point Council sent out a similar message on Twitter promising maps shortly.

    The maps weren’t published for over an hour after this message, while flood waters were rising rapidly and the window for evacuation was closing. When they finally appeared the resolution was so poor streets couldn’t be seen and there were no street names. They were next to useless for suburbs like Annandale that had a range of likely impacts.

    So Mayor Mullet, I’ll Armchair criticise.

    Those maps in high resolution should have been made available with the first warning on Friday – but at a minimum on Saturday. This would have allowed people to make truly informed decisions and possibly not required roof top rescues overnight on Sunday.

    It’s clear the Dam release was a likely outcome as this event proceeded – and while it may have caused increased movement out of those suburbs and put extra pressure on evacuation centres isn’t that a better outcome?

    I personally had family who made a call on the Saturday and in the absence of any information to the contrary returned home Sunday only to be confronted with the much more emphatic message that was sent. They made a call and left again, and were lucky to be able to have time to get out.

    There needs to be some very tough questions asked about the timing and phrasing of those messages when this is all over.

  58. Stillnotalocal says:

    Another great cock up by The Bullshiten today. In flood coverage you’ve got Laurence Lancini talking about the damage to Fairfield Central and the lengthy delays to re-open… flick to the cover story in the Prime Site section and a lovely kick in the teeth for poor Paul Fiztgerald with an article about his new store at the same centre…. Surely this could have been pulled??

  59. Ranger says:

    One specific case of too little information too late is my son and his family who have recenlty rented a unit in Lindsey St Rosslea. Thursday 31st there was some flooding in the street but no text warnings or mapping information from council and they therefore did not realize that they actually should have been evacuating that night. Friday morning they woke up unable to drive their car out of the unit complex and were being urgently evacuated by SES boat at 10:30 am in the driving rain.

    By Friday afternoon there was water flooding into rental unit as they waded chest deep back to try to rescue some belongs.

    Now the disaster response team surely had mapping information that would have helped residents make informed decisions :
    The 2013 Ross River flood study on the TCC Engineering Reports page (including Part B appendices of flood maps for varying severity) clearly shows details on suburbs and streets likely to be affected.
    Also the Emergency Action Plan maps on pages A11 to A16 broadly shows streets at earliest risk in black. These maps alone would have been incredibly useful for many residents to make more informed decisions about their need to move their cars and vital belongings to higher ground.

    I am left wondering why the Townsville disaster information dashboard eventually decided to refer rate payers trying to get some information to the complex council GIS flood mapping service which requires an effort to interpret and operate a very technical toolbar. Especially if it is on a mobile phone as power has possibly already been disconnected.

    • The Magpie says:

      This has just appeared on FB … is there no council mechanism to priortise? This is no casual whinge, and the council and our mayor will face a very different interrogation if something serious even fatal happens. Who is the local councillor?

      Craig Mc Donald
      5 hrs ·
      Folks, it’s been a week now and the situation hasn’t changed. Hervey range is the “too hard” problem for the council and Townsville Disaster Management. I’ve made this post public so share with anyone you think might be able to solve it.

      Currently the community of Hervey range 32k west of townsville is cut off from both Townsville and Charters Towers. The range road is cut due to a partially cleared landslide and cut off from Charters due to 3 river crossings being flooded.

      It has been like this for a week now.
      We have been imploring TMR and both councils to put in some temporary remedial work so that residents can access vital supplies in Townsville but it has all been lodged in the too hard basket. The road is not overly damaged and has lost some of the bitumen covering it in a number of places. It has been looked at once by engineers on the weekend with no result or ongoing plan that we are aware of.

      The frustrating this is that in ALL other situations access to residents stranded can be gained by boat. Gumlow, alligator creek Giru etc.
      We cannot.
      There has been three failed attempts at helicopter food drops but because of the low cloud cover it has been impossible. One was successful for medication and other vital supplies.

      The frustrating thing is that we can see Townsville from the lookout but because of council and government arguing, we can’t get access to it. The road needs major repair, we get that. But to keep us cut off while arguing backwards and forwards is unacceptable.

      The damaged section is 40m long. Still 100% driveable or walkable but we have been threatened with a $3000 fine if we set foot past the road closed signs. All because we are in the too hard basket and not a pothole that needs filling.

      There is a community of 250 people up here stranded, cut off because our situation is “ too hard” to make a decision on. We don’t need promises of food drops. We need someone to man up and make an honest attempt at a temporary fix so we can get to town and restock. More importantly allow medical emergencies to be dealt with should they arise.
      At this point we cannot land the rescue chopper here due to the mountain being in cloud almost 24/7. Our community is mostly over 50’s or families with very young children.
      250 people who have been told it may be weeks before someone even returns to look at a solution. Apparently you can’t think when it’s raining nor can you temporarily repair a road.
      In the meantime a lot of interesting things are being eaten, worn and said around the community but the general feeling of frustration is immense.

      We all realise there are other people in the area with significant issues. The difference being they have access to essential supplies and medical help.
      We do not and unless our situation is made more prominent, we won’t for a long time yet.

  60. No More Dredging says:

    For anyone interested in the rainfall stats for every BOM gauge around Townsville there’s a 7-day record available on the BOM site. Go to “Townsville Area Rainfalls”, scroll to Latest Observation Tables (just under the map), select “24 hour rainfalls” and you get lists of gauges in every local river catchment. The last two lists are for the Ross/Bohle and Black/Bluewater.

  61. One legged tap dancer says:

    There may well be a guidelines book for managing the Ross River Dam during floods, but apparently it was not followed by the Disastrous Committee in the early days of the current disaster.
    Since mentioning on this blog that Mayor Mullet argued against police, who wanted more water to be gradually released to avoid the flooding that eventuated on Sudnay/Monday, I have met a local resident who has a device that can monitor police radio messages and conversations.
    She is adamant that Mayor Mullet’s stalling on release of water from the dam was frequently discussed by police.

    • The Magpie says:

      Now, that comment requires some caution, Tap Dancer. Matters of concern re comment are: although The ‘Pie could be wrong, because of the great number of comments here since last Friday (by no means all published) and he may have missed it, but please point him to where anything was said about the mayor arguing with police as stated.
      How and why would your ordinary plods going about the business of assisting and saving people be chatting about the issue ….

      More importantly, why would their hierarchy be broadcasting widely decisions that were made within the small group of decisioins makers at the Disaster Centre? ..

      And have we established that the mayor is the designated shot-caller in this whole unfolding story? You can bet she certainly hopes that is not the case, irrelevant to this particular aspect.

      But here’s the kicker mate … did your friend record any of those conversations and be willing to provide them to an inquiry? The legality of such a recording could be challenged. Not sure if your allowed to legally listen in any more, there was a great hoo ha more than 10n years ago when the police went to a difficult-to-scan frequency because crims were listening in.

  62. Grumpy says:

    What’s this “stand up” business? Is this meant to be the opposite of “stand down” as used in the military (or at least it was when I was in), which basically meant to resume normal duties. If so, the correct term is “stand to’, which meant to go to a high state of readiness – eg, in the foxhole, weapon on instant

    What was that you were saying about made-up buzz words and self-important jerks?

    • Dave of Kelso says:


      Different organisation, different culture, different mission, and a different language.

      The reassuring thing is that have, to use military parlance, Standing Operating Procedures (SOPs), except they call them Emergency Action Plan.

      To their credit they seemed to have followed them to the letter.

  63. Dave Sth says:

    Put money any ineptitude by Mullet won’t be pursued too hard by either Palace”chook” or the media… Seems ALP women are off limits to scrutiny. Also the developers that built on a swamp with spot heights on the map of 3m won’t get asked a question. Burdell ditto…

    As it is power went off here again, saw most of town lit up in final approach Sat night, taxi ride power on all the way through to Geaneys lne then 1 side lit other not. We residents have been complaining for 10years to rectify the single dodgy connection in here. It fails at the slightest puff of wind & Ergon is never in a hurry to restore, though this week I can understand the delay. This will probably hasten the move of the family south with me…

    Hope all guys & gals weren’t affected too much. We know couples in Hermit Park who were flooded out in areas they have never seen flood water in… My family were lucky, it got close though.

    • The Magpie says:

      It may in fact be Premier Alphabet who will need to come under scrutiny … there is no way in hell she wouldn’t ever take a backseat to The Mullet – unless, of course, Anna P was operating on the old military dictum Sun Tzu (pinched by Napolean): Never interrupt your enemy when they’re making a mistake.

  64. One legged tap dancer says:

    Points taken Pie, but wouldn’t the police representative on the Disastrous Committee be likely to tell the truth if asked the question?
    I’m sure the police aren’t happy about being lumped with part of the blame for the delayed dispersal of water from the dam.
    There is one way to clear this up once and for all.
    I know all the local journos are shit scared of the mayor, but surely there is one out there brave enough to ask the police representative on the Disastrous Committee just who made the decision to delay.

    • The Magpie says:

      That question is sure to be asked of a number of people in the near future. And let’s not forget, there may be a reasonable argument by experts for the delay, but whichever, the community deserves an answer, even those not directly affected by the waters sure are going to be affected by the backwash. Am now hearing there may have been a mechanical malfunction and am trying to confirm..

      BTW any one out there know where to find the rules regarding a local mayor’s role and level of authority in such emergencies?

  65. Mike Shearer says:

    I’m not a lawyer, but… The Disaster Management Act 2003 does not include the word “mayor”. It’s section (34A) describes the functions of the chairperson of a local group. The Townsville Local Disaster Management Plan’s Section 2.3 Membership lists a “Core Member – Chairperson” as a “TCC – Councillor (Mayor)”. Under the Act any Councillor could be appointed to the Chair and Deputy Chair roles.

    After a skim through the TLDMP and ActI cannot find any statements on the authority of the Chairperson, other than to oversight the running of the group and its working parties etc to carry out its disaster management responsibilities.

  66. Full Moon says:

    I look forward to the coroner’s report for the two people killed by the floods recently? Presumably the coroner’s report will include the actual cause of the floods that killed them?

    • Dave of Kelso says:

      According to the ABC news they were last seen entering flood waters evading Police who wanted them to assist in their enquiries about a recent break and enter in the area.

      How can the ’cause of the floods have killed them?

      Perhaps the deceased should have taken responsibility for their own safety and stayed OUT of the flood water In the first place!

  67. One legged tap dancer says:

    I’m confused (more than normal anyway).
    Original reports in the Astonisher https://www.townsvillebulletin.com.au/news/crime-court/looters-strike-vulnerable-flood-hit-businesses-and-home/news-story/f521517bf02e13ac71ec5f128b30666a
    and on tv and radio news about the two men going missing in Aitkenvale stated clearly that they were pursued by police who caught them “looting” by trying to break into Dan Murphy’s at Aitkenvale, near the drain they disappeared into.
    But after their bodies were found the mention of “looting” and breaking and entering disappeared and it turned into an inquiry into police conduct.
    Anyone else find this a bit strange?

    • The Magpie says:

      No, not at all really (seriously). For starters, at no time did the police say that the two men they were pursuing – presumably to question – were the looters disturbed at the pub … the police know full well their job is to prove what they reasonably suspect before making any bald statements like that. It seems the police did recognise the pair (the photos appear to be police pics) and allowed publication on the somewhat spurious grounds that someone would recognise the missing men and report them safe. But person’s history is not proof of anything (and is often not permitted in trials before a jury).

      Then, after the discovery of the bodies, any mention directly linking the deceased (who had not been formally identified at that stage) to the looting would leave the police and possibly the paper, open to legal action if relatives felt it reflected on them or was proof that police action had unjustly influenced the fatal actions of the deceased. And the internal police inquiry is stock standard procedure – which we should applaud – for any deaths involving a police pursuit.

      Besides, while practically everyone who has read the story has drawn what in Townsville is an inevitable conclusion, it is best to remember that there is no death penalty in this country for any crime – two men are dead by their own misadventure – and any rush to put in the slipper is indecent and shameful. In normal times, this attempted break-in would be a minor page 12 filler, but came in circumstances where many emotions were raw, anxiety high and tempers on edge.

      Of course, all this is not helped by the paper publishing the predictable and inflammatory opinions and comments of grieving friends and relatives.

      While the difference between rednecks and reality can often be blurred, this episode is best left alone.

      • The Magpie says:

        Memo Jenna Cairney: Absolutely correct in your editorial today … but Christ, girl, ain’t this opening declaration gunna come back and haunt you.

        Spot in this instance … but The ‘Pie is keeping this one on file for when the world returns to normal and we’ll see how good you virtue-signalling statement holds up.

        • Ollie says:

          Has anyone given a thought to the two poor young coppers who watched them being swept away to their almost certain deaths? Or the police diver who found their bodies?

          • The Magpie says:

            Hey, hang on … suddenly the police are the ‘victims’ of the tragedy? This sort of nonsense has got to stop. Police do a difficult and dangerous job, and see things most of us never want to see, but they are trained in this, volunteered to join up for this, and have counselling available. While what The ‘Pie calls ‘officer anguuish’ can be real and debilitating in extreme cases, it is surely vastly overstated. Police Union boss Ian Leavers is a past master at this tactic, making out that we should be concentrating on the emotions of the attending officers than the real victims of accidents, murders and other unpleasantness they attend. If nothing else, this invites all police officers to embrace a weird sort of victimhood of emotional injury. (Of course, this does not include actual injuries courageous police officers receive in the line of duty, but again, the dead-stare, Peter Dutton lookalike Leavers trots out the totally false mantra that ‘police do not go to work expecting to be assaulted and deserve to be able to go home uninjured to their families’. False because that is EXACTLY what they are entitled to expect, especially when given their powers of arrest and hardware to accomplish this if necessary. Such irresponsible, unintelligent sophistry completely belies what a police officer’s job is all about … controlling, detaining and otherwise engaging with the criminal and the unfortunate. Does he suggest that all the wrong-doers in this world have some sort of moral obligations to walk forward, arms outstretched for the cuffs, saying’ You got me bang to rights, constable, sorry about that’? ‘Morals’ and ‘criminals’ are mutually exclusive terms and for zealots like Leavers to imply otherwise is just plain insulting. And dopey.

  68. boho63 says:

    Spent 50 mins today waiting for someone to answer the phone re disaster relief payment. My credit ran out so will top up the phone and try again tomorrow. A bit ironic. Spending money to receive some money. I wonder how many bodies they have answering calls ?

    • The Magpie says:

      Yeah, well, maybe, but c’mon, cut them a bit of slack, at a guess they’re overwhelmed right now. ‘Bout the only time you’ll hear The ‘Pie say that about trying to get something done on the phone.

      • boho63 says:

        Spoke to Phillip Thompson a short time ago as I let him know I have been on hold since first thing this morning. Gave up at 11.30am. I said wouldn’t it be great if the form was online. He contacted dept of Human Services who emailed him a link saying it could be done online and he sent me the link.
        The link states the following,
        “To claim, call us on 180 22 66 between 8am and 5pm.

        New claim forms will be available shortly.”

        I let Phillip know and he is getting back to them.
        What a great genuine bloke.

    • J jones says:

      I would have thought it’d be a free call

  69. Mike Douglas says:

    $7 mil on advertising across Australia and Clive’s party can’t even get their Herbert Share above KAP+ One Nation who have basicly spent nothing . Clive took it up a notch last night for an hour warning us the Chinese buying our airstrips means Australia can’t defend ourselves ( can’t find the link as it’s so recent) . Glencore , Adani have donated to the Townsville recovery appeal but havnt heard from Clive, Townsvilles temporary resident .

  70. One legged tap dancer says:

    Here we go. Anna Alphabet has announced a “review” into the flood disaster.
    Considering the estimated $1 billion damage bill and the fact that lives were put at risk, surely there should be an independent inquiry into how the dam was managed and the warnings (or lack thereof) provided by the Disastrous Committee.
    Wonder if the insurance companies will be happy to accept the findings, if there are any, of this “review”.

    • The Magpie says:

      Yep, now the shit fight starts … and for expensive entertainment, when friends fall out, there’s nothing like a political bitch slap between two inept women facing electoral retribution.

      • The Magpie says:

        And another thing … what ‘blame’ is the paper talking about? Has there already been some definitive argument that things were done incorrectly? There must be, if the premier is shovelling responsibility across to Mayor Mullet … like all of her political ilk, Anna Alphabet would be elbowing the mayor aside to take credit if there was any credit to be had out of what looks like a complete and possibly avoidable debacle.

      • The Wulguru Wonder says:

        Methinks Dolan may already be on the job.

        The Astonisher FaceBook page is alight with comments of what a great job Mayor Hill and ‘her team’ on the Disaster Management Committee have done and how good the communication and warnings were.

        • The Magpie says:

          Say it long enough and loud enough and we’ll believe it, eh? And if it ain’t Dolan, says everything you need to know about the readers of the paper.

          • The Magpie says:

            BTW how does anybody know that it was a good job at this stage? Apart from the fact that warnings of deliberate actions were often given less than an hour before they were due, and one very important one – for which The Magpie will provide proof of in this week’s blog – was given AFTER the very dangerous and deliberate event.

          • No More Dredging says:

            The TBully is now reporting an exchange about the timing of the release of water from the dam:

            “Cr Hill said the first opening of the gates occurred automatically when the dam level was 38.65m EAP which occurred on Jan 30.

            “The spillway gates opened to the next trigger point about an hour later. For the next 46 hours, the gates continued to operate automatically and increase in line with the EAP to manage increasing water inflows into the dam,” Cr Hill said.”

            The RRdam was at 98% at 11am on the 30th January and apparently the flood gates were first opened at 1.30pm the same day.

  71. The Magpie says:

    The Magpie hangs his head in shame … all those jocular jibes at Bazza The Legal Foghorn Taylor in this blog, and it turns out that Barry Taylor is a humanitarian of the first order if the old bird’s information is correct (never guaranteed).

    Seems Bazza, who is currently resting up in his $10m Noosa gin palace, has given over his Townsville home on Castle Hill to a poor, displaced family of flood victims … Tony His Radiance Mooney and his wife. A humbled ‘Pie is sure Bazza is now seeking out another seven or so families who could easily be accommodated in his motel-like Victoria street eyrie.

    • Grumpy says:

      And for breakfast shall be served:

      Quid over pro, with lashings of quo.

    • Alahazbin says:

      Mr Mooney built a house on Victoria St and sold it only after living in it a short time. It was purchased by a business man in Truck Parts. He moved to Brissy and sold same. I wonder if it’s the same place.

      • Jatzcrackers says:

        Pie, mate of mine in real estate biz tells me Mooney and wife had their names on a title top end of Victoria Street. His recollection was His Radiance built two units up there and onsold before moving to house on Kenilworth Ave. Records confirm same !

        • The Magpie says:

          Sounds about right … knew one of the tenants and was under the impression Mooney moved into one as a tenant. but you mention it, sounds right.

    • Tropical says:

      Ah well Australia’s loss is India’s gain advancing 52 coal mines at a time.
      The new mines have added 164 MT (million tonne) to India’s annual coal production capacity, marking 113% increase over capacity added during the 2009-2014 period. Since 57% of power is generated in India by burning coal, these mines allowed the government to rapidly move towards universal electricity access without creating shortages.
      Nothing the eco loons, green bedwetters, the RET and the renewable energy carpet baggers do to destroy our energy supply and supporting networks will stop global warming.
      Look up what those idiot Democrats want to do to the US with its Green New Deal stupidity.

      • No More Dredging says:

        Tropical, you’d be nominating for the seat of Herbert as a climate change/global warming denier I presume? If not, are your views represented by any political party or independent in the upcoming election? If you can’t name anyone I suggest you keep the word “loon” for yourself.

      • seagull says:

        i agree entirely …

        “Nothing the eco loons, green bedwetters, the RET and the renewable energy carpet baggers do to destroy our energy supply and supporting networks will stop global warming.”

        waiting for your better idea Tropical …

  72. seagull says:

    blimey …. who would have thought that someone would give me a thousand bucks for all that mould I’d been too lazy to clean off the walls all these years …. just goes to show … procrastination pays !

  73. J jones says:

    Weren’t we always told the dam would stop us getting flooded?

    • The Magpie says:

      It was built for flood mitigation, water supply was a secondary consideration, apparently.

      • Dave of Kelso says:

        Yes, spot on. Learnt this from my Uncle who was a councillor when the project was conceived. The Burdekin was always the primary supply, the Ross opportunity supply only. This has been forgotten over the years.
        My Uncle and the other councillors lost an election to Pers Tucker and team just before the RR Dam was finished. They got their names on the brass plaque having had nothing to do with the project.

        • Dave of Kelso says:

          Dear ‘Pie,
          Given that the RD Dam is for flood mitigation it would have been prudent, and routine to release water early, this time and at any time there is heavy rain forecast, to minimise the chance of getting to the stage of dam gates 100% open and flooding down stream.

          It seems to me Mayor (there is no water crisis) Mullet would see electoral advantage in having the dam full in 2020.
          Question; Did the Mullet influence the decision not to prudenty release water early thereby contributing to the later need for the emergency water release and resultant flooding?

          • The Magpie says:

            Oh, goodness gracious, dearie me no, you old silly … as our mayor repeatedly points out, it was THE COUNCIL, that made the decisions regarding release … no ‘I as mayor and chair of the Disaster Committee,’ ‘or even a ‘we’ … it was the council.

            Jenny Hill is now scrambling to distance herself from decisions she should have been modest and honest enough to admit she should be nowhere near, and the fact that she is now using the euphemism of ‘the council’ for herself alone is proof that everyone on the committee seems to be having second thoughts on their disastrous strategy.

          • No More Dredging says:

            Dave, the dam level (not the opening) was at 98% at 11am on 30 January. The gates were not open at all until 1.30pm that day, and not opened “100%” until much later. Are you suggesting that water should have been released from the dam even before it reached 100% capacity? If so, what would have been the point of spending over $100 million on floodgates etc. making the dam into a functioning “flood mitigation” facility? Even today the dam level is still over 140%. Are you saying you would want the thing to have stayed fully open until the level was back below 100%? That’s not flood mitigation, that’s just dumb.

          • The Magpie says:

            Then The ‘Pie reckon there’s quite a few residents who would would’ve preferred dumb to this sort of flood mitigation.
            Anyway, your comment simply doesn’t make any sense, NMD … and (sigh) The ‘Pie is expecting a lot of this ping-pong in coming days, and will limit the back and forth to relevant understandable comments.

          • Mark Harvey says:

            How about a few simple numbers – derived using the EAP and the river levels.
            The gates appear to have been fully lifted for about 26 hours and were discharging at 1.9 ML/sec.
            That gives 177,000 ML discharged in that 26 hours, which is equivalent to 76% of the full supply volume of the dam. That is how much extra water would have to have been released before Sunday night, along with what was released up till then, if the lifting of the gates out of the water was to be avoided.
            A pre-release is normally done at a relatively low rate in order not to cause premature flooding. A pre-release of 0.1 ML/sec will get rid of 8,640 ML per day.

          • The Magpie says:

            Ok … but all of which means what regarding the questions raised?

  74. Cantankerous but happy says:

    A report from south of the river, it would appear the blame game is well and truly on. The well heeled lakeside dwellers of Fairfield Waters are convinced it is the newcomers of the state govt development of The Village that is to blame for the water piling through their homes when the dam gates opened the other night, in their opinion the new development stopped the natural flow of water across the old DPI flats, but little recognition of the same thing happening when Fairfield Waters subdivision did exactly the same thing a few years ago when it was built, flooding all the old Idalia properties at the same time. The facts are as long as new development is allowed it will inevitably mean the existing properties are now the lowest, this Is just rediculous, what next, people building their own hills and sitting on them as the people next door swim.

    • seagull says:

      well … if you cant build one … you can always buy one … Mt St John, anyone !

    • wally says:

      Can it be revealed how much council has received in rates, since the developments were started, from the areas flooded, as it appears the only reason to approve the development was to gain revenue from rates. Is the council relying on the adage, “here for the profit not the practise.”

  75. Kenny Kennett says:

    It wasn’t only the latest stage of Fairfield Waters where the problems started, it was doomed from the start. Anybody remotely close to that area could see the flooding increased when ALL that land was built up for development which then snowballed as the rats got the green light to continue. Us commoners could see what was going to happen. It was common sense. But common sense ain’t so common anymore- particularly when one’s purse is being filled. I’m so happy that Reynolds, Mooney, Hill, Wallace and all their friends are living comfortable.

    • Alahazbin says:

      Mr Lancini called the flooding of Fairfield Shopping Cente a “bloody tragedy”. Well Mr Lancini! Who created the “bloody tragedy”?

  76. Scientician79 says:

    Hi Pie

    I think the document everyone is really looking for is this one.


    It seems to have formed the basis for the EAP? No doubt those closer to the action can confirm or deny.

    The key part of this massive technical study arrives at page 76.

    This table (5-4) shows likely number houses damaged under the old gate opening regime vs the new recommended regime.

    The driver here seems to have been to mitigate the number of homes impacted by events up to 1 in 200, but would be a worse scenario for anything over that. Given the number being thrown around is 1 in 2000 that would seem to line up.

    The other interesting part is just prior to the table, page 70 or so, a series of maps showing likely scenarios for the various flood levels including comparisons of old to new.

    Lots more info in the document – those of a more technical bent will no doubt find many more interesting parts.

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