Frequently Asked Questions

The Paradise Dam Commission of Inquiry was established on 6 December 2019 to examine the root causes of structural and stability issues identified with the Paradise Dam near Bundaberg.

Briefly, the Commission will determine what went wrong, why, and what can be done to prevent the problems from recurring.

The scope of the Commission’s investigation is set by the Inquiry’s terms of reference. Find the terms of reference here.

The Honourable John Byrne AO RFD is the Chairperson and Commissioner.

Because of the complexity of the technical and engineering issues, Emeritus Professor John Carter AM is also engaged as Commissioner.

Counsel Assisting is a term used for barristers appointed by the Commission to facilitate the Inquiry. Counsel Assisting gather information and present evidence at public hearings. They also assist the Commissioners to assess the evidence.

Leave to appear is a legal term and process meaning permission to present or test evidence given, or to present arguments about the evidence. The process is managed by the Commission in line with Practice Guidelines or directions made by the Chairperson.

The Commission obtains information through public submissions, interviews of people with knowledge of relevant facts, testimony and documents at public hearings, research, and from other material provided by organisations and individuals.

The Commission has power to require organisations and individuals to provide information that will assist the Inquiry.

Anyone with information that could assist the Commission with its investigations is encouraged to submit that material, in writing, by 3 March 2020. Email the Executive Director at or post it to PO Box 15216, CITY EAST QLD, 4002.

At the hearing on 20 February 2020, the Chairperson and Counsel Assisting the Commission will explain how the Commission is conducting its investigations and speak about the nature and scope of the Inquiry. On that day, no witnesses will be called to testify.

Much like at the trial of a court case, at later hearings, in Bundaberg and in Brisbane, witnesses will give their evidence.

Usually, a witness will already have provided a written statement setting out the witness’s evidence. That statement will be received at the hearing.

Counsel Assisting and representatives of those parties granted leave to appear at a hearing may question the witness. Learn more about this procedure in Practice Guideline No.1.

Documents and photographs may also be received into evidence.

Counsel Assisting as well as those with leave to appear may make submissions about the issues raised by the Terms of Reference available here.

Hearings are open to the public.

Hearings will also be livestreamed from the Commission’s website. More information about public hearings for people wishing to attend is available here.