Independent panel of experts for flood studies in Queensland

About the Panel

In June 2020 the Australian and Queensland governments established the Independent International Panel of Experts for Flood Studies to provide assurance to the public that the flood models and reference design developed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) meet national guidelines and industry best practice. 

Community safety and the potential impact of Inland Rail on flood behaviour are key concerns of stakeholders along the Inland Rail alignment and the Panel’s assessments will assure communities that the ARTC flood modelling follows best practice design of waterway structures in a floodplain environment.

Role of the Panel

The Panel will review the flood modelling undertaken for the Inland Rail project and Inland Rail reference designs against national and state engineering requirements as well as industry best practice guidelines. In Queensland there are a total of 21 flood models. 

The Panel does not have any statutory, or regulatory powers under either Australian or Queensland legislation. It is an advisory body and will not make decisions or recommendations regarding approvals for the Inland Rail route or alignment. 

To find out more about the Panel's role and scope please refer to the Panel's Terms of Reference.

Panel members

The 5 members of the expert Panel were appointed in June 2020:

  • Mark Babister, Chair – Managing Director, WMAwater
  • Tina O’Connell – Principal Engineer, Hydrology and Hydraulics, HDR
  • Ferdinand Diermanse – Expert Researcher, Deltares
  • Steve Clark – Managing Director, Water Technologies
  • Martin Giles – Senior Principal, BMT.

Panel member experience

The Panel members were selected for their expertise in flood modelling, hydraulics, hydrology and associated disciplines.

The members have a combined experience of more than 130 years in the movement of water across landscapes (hydrology), the way in which artificial structures interact with the movement of this water (hydraulics) and best practice design of waterway structures in a floodplain environment.

Panel reporting

The Panel reports to a Joint Working Group comprising of officers from the Australian Government Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications and the Department of Transport and Main Roads. All Panel advice, recommendations, and deliverables are reported to this group.

Investigations and findings the Panel undertakes

The Panel will focus on investigating if national and state guidelines as well as industry best practice have been applied to modelling techniques and outputs to create the existing flood models. The Panel will assess 4 core areas:

  • extent
  • assumptions
  • application
  • interpretation.

The Panel will also investigate the design of waterway structures in relation to the Inland Rail in a floodplain environment in Queensland.

The Panel will review the relevant Environmental Impact Statement section dealing with surface water and hydrology (which includes flooding) against the Environmental Impact Statemen Terms of Reference requirements. The Panel will not review groundwater changes or review alternative alignments as this is outside of the Panel's scope.

More details on the Panel's scope of investigation, and deliverables can be found in the Terms of Reference.

Draft reports

The iterative process that ARTC is undertaking to refine the Inland Rail design includes responding to the Panels draft reports for each section in Queensland.

These Panel draft reports identify technical issues and prioritise these based on whether an issue: 

  • needs to be fixed now because it may affect an Environmental Impact Statement conclusion/condition
  • needs to be fixed soon (before a tender design process) because it affects the robustness of the models that the tenderers will use and rely on
  • can wait until detailed design, although the tenderers must be made aware of these issues so they can make appropriate allowances in their tender. 

Inland Rail Independent Panel Calvert to Kagaru draft report

Inland Rail Independent Panel Border to Gowrie draft report

North Star to NSW/QLD Border Preferred Infrastructure Report Models Review – Supplementary Report on Review of Draft Border to Gowrie EIS

Inland Rail Independent Panel Helidon to Calvert draft report

Inland Rail Independent Panel Gowrie to Helidon draft report

It is a commitment of both governments that both draft and final reports are to be made publicly available.

Advice on the draft report findings has been provided to the Office of the Coordinator-General by the working group. 

The Panel is expected to provide their final reports by mid-2022.

Inland Rail Flood Panel works program 

Key activities
Project section Review of reference designs EIS review against ToR Community feedback Final report 
(encompassing: review of reference designs, EIS review against ToR and community feedback)
Border to Gowrie  Completed Completed  EIS Public Consultation  Mid-2022 
Gowrie to Helidon  Completed Completed  EIS Public Consultation  Mid-2022
Helidon to Calvert  Completed Completed  EIS Public Consultation  Mid-2022
Calvert to Kagaru  Completed Completed  EIS Public Consultation  Mid-2022

Provide feedback to the Panel

Submissions to the Panel are now closed.