Paradise Dam.
Paradise Dam.

Paradise Dam inquiry hears last call

THE Paradise Dam Commission of Inquiry will finalise its report for the Premier and the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy with the end of public hearings.

On Monday, chairman John Byrne and John Carter heard the final submissions on the evidence presented throughout the hearings from expert witnesses and documents.

The inquiry seeks to examine the cause of structural and stability problems at Paradise Dam.

Its objective is to determine if, and to what extent, the governance, processes and systems in the design, construction or commissioning of the dam contributed to the problems found by engineering and technical studies.

Among those to take the stand, whether in person or via teleconference were Ernest Schrader, Paul Rizzo and Richard Herweynen, who was involved with the dam design.

The final submissons were to be heard at the Bundaberg courthouse, but social distancing rules forced the hearing to be virtual.

Parties, media, lawyers and the public did not attend the hearing. Speakers used virtual meeting technology to take part in the inquiry remotely, and the public could watch online.

Throughout the six-hour hearing, submissions and questions about the Lift Joint Quality Index, sheer strength testing and stability, and the dam's apron and area immediately downstream, were raised.

At the morning session, Declan Kelly QC (Hydro Tasmania) said to answer chairman Byrne's question "assuming the dam's not stable, what accounts for that?" there were two possible factors.

"I think on that question you'd have to be guided obviously by expert opinion," Mr Kelly said.

"And I read the clear expert opinion coming from Mr Dolen and Dr Schrader as being firstly, it's either because there was something peculiar about the aggregate that was unexpected.

"Or secondly it's because there's porosity at the bottom of lift joints."

The inquiry started on December 6 and is to report to the Premier and Minister for Trade and the Minister for Natural Resources, Mines and Energy by April 30.

See more from the afternoon session of the final public hearing in tomorrow's NewsMail.

For more information about the inquiry, head to https://paradisedaminquiry.qld.gov.au



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