Dam safety authorised officers

Queensland Government has emergency powers to intervene and prevent the failure or minimise the consequences of dam failure.

The Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water can appoint authorised officers to conduct inspections, to monitor and ensure dam owners or operators comply with legislation.

An authorised officer will typically inspect the dam, nearby land or records about the dam, to find out:

  • if there are factors likely to cause dam failure
  • the impact such failure would have
  • if the dam complies with development conditions.

Authorised officer powers

Officers have various powers under the Water Supply (Safety and Reliability) Act 2008 to help them perform their duties.

An authorised officer's powers include entering or crossing land to access a dam and the power to obtain information. Depending on the circumstances, they may not need prior consent to do this for inspection purposes.

The officers have the power to:

  • inspect, measure, test, photograph or film any part or anything at the property
  • take items or samples for analysis or testing
  • take onto the property, any person, equipment or materials reasonably required.

It is an offence for a person to fail to comply with an authorised officer's requests unless the person has a reasonable excuse (defined in the Act as when complying might incriminate the person).

Identity cards

Authorised officers are issued with an identity card showing their name, photograph and signature. Officers must produce their identity card for inspection, or have the identity card clearly displayed. If this isn't practicable, the officer must produce the identity card at the first reasonable opportunity.