In late November 2010, rain began falling in Queensland. By January 2011, extensive flooding had impacted 75 per cent of the state and a disaster zone was declared. In total, 33 people lost their lives, with three bodies never recovered and declared deceased by the State Coroner in June 2012. Evacuations numbers totaled 5 900 people from 3 600 homes. An estimated 28 000 homes were in need of rebuilding; scores more would require extensive repairs. The final report of a judicial inquiry into the event was published in March 2012.
The economic and commercial impact of the floods was significant. Approximately 3 572 businesses were inundated, with an estimated $4 billion in losses across the mining, agriculture and tourism sectors. Nineteen thousand kilometres of road were damaged, and three major ports significantly affected. Over 28 per cent of the Queensland rail network was left twisted and displaced.
The Insurance Council of Australia estimates the 2011 damage at $2.38 billion.
On 25 December 2010, Cyclone Tasha crossed the northern Queensland coast and brought disaster to every river system south of the Tropic of Capricorn, and as far west as Longreach and Charleville. The flooding engulfed Alpha, Jericho, Chinchilla, Dalby, Theodore, Warwick, Bundaberg, Gayndah, Munduberra, Emerald, Rockhampton, Condamine and St George. The Condamine River, the Balonne River, the Burnett River, the Comet River, the Dawson River and the Nagoa River reached flood peaks never before recorded.
On 10 January 2011, a wall of water swept through Toowoomba, then travelled west, flooding Oakey, Dalby, Chinchilla and Condamine for a second time. This caused flooding through the Lockyer Valley, including Murphy’s Creek, Postman’s Ridge, Helidon, Grantham, Laidley, Lowood, Fernvale and Forrest Hill.
The floodwaters affected the Bremer, Lockyer and Brisbane River systems, reaching heights that engulfed Ipswich, Goodna, Gailes, Karalee and suburbs of Brisbane.