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 (the Independent Panel) to provide assurance to the public that the flood models and reference design developed by 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 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 Commonwealth 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 5 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.

Selection of panel members 

The Australian and Queensland governments selected the members based on their experience, reputation and independence from the work undertaken to date on Inland Rail. 

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 will be reported to the Joint Working 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.

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

The Panel will provide finalised reports and recommendations to the Joint Working Group for review. It is a commitment of both governments that both draft and final reports which will then be made publicly available here.

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

Results of investigations

The Panel is expected to complete their work by the end of 2021. The Panel Work Program for when final reports will be available for each section of Inland Rail within Queensland will be published here.

The iterative process that ARTC is undertaking to refine the Inland Rail design includes responding to the Panel as their draft reports are released for each section in Queensland.

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  To be advised 
Gowrie to Helidon  Completed Completed  EIS Public Consultation  To be advised 
Helidon to Calvert  Completed Completed  EIS Public Consultation  To be advised 
Calvert to Kagaru  Completed Completed  EIS Public Consultation  To be advised 

Review of Environmental Impact Statements prepared by the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) 

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

The Panel reports align with the 4 EIS sections identified above. Draft and final reports will be made available on this website. Submissions on the draft reports can be made as per below details. Final reports will also be placed on this website following the closure of the public consultation stage for an EIS section.

Advice on the draft report findings will be provided to the Office of the Coordinator General (OCG) by the Joint Working Group that oversees the Panel. The Panel will not review alternative alignments as this is outside of the Panel's scope.

Submission timeframes

Section Draft report Final report
Calvert to Kagaru  Open 19 February–19 March 2021  TBA 
Border to Gowrie  Opens 26 March-30 April 2021  TBA 
Supplementary Border to Gowrie Report  Opens 18 August–1 September 2021  TBA 
Helidon to Calvert  Opens 2 June-2 July 2021  TBA 
Gowrie to Helidon  Opens 26 August-16 September 2021 TBA 

Provide feedback to the panel

A submission (including any questions) for the Panel can be provided via email

Alternatively, written submissions can be provided to:

The Department of Transport and Main Roads 
Inland Rail Team
GPO Box 213
Brisbane Qld 4001

The Joint Working Group overseeing the Panel will endeavour to respond to submissions within 30 days depending on the nature of the submission.