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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Craig Crawford

    New report reveals Townsville District’s disaster management capability “highly effective”

    Minister for Fire and Emergency Services
    The Honourable Craig Crawford

    Wednesday, April 04, 2018

    New report reveals Townsville District’s disaster management capability “highly effective”

    Fire and Emergency Services Minister Craig Crawford today (Wednesday) released the findings of a major review showing the Townsville District’s disaster management capability is “advanced and highly effective”.

    Speaking in Townsville, Mr Crawford said the district’s seven local disaster management groups “are well positioned to meet future challenges and risks in the region”.

    Mr Crawford said the district covered Townsville, Burdekin, Charters Towers, Richmond, Palm Island, Hinchinbrook and Flinders.

    “It is highly reassuring to know the district disaster management group and seven local disaster management groups in the region have performed well,” Mr Crawford said.

    “One of the strengths of disaster management practitioners in the north is their commitment to improvement, and this capability review has delivered the information and data to allow that to occur effectively.

    “Queensland is at the forefront of disaster management in Australia, and the Palaszczuk Government is committed to maintaining that position through a comprehensive program of on-going reviews and assurance activities, such as the Townsville Capability Review.”

    The review, by the Office of the Inspector-General Emergency Management (IGEM), assessed the individual and collective capability of the groups across all facets of the disaster management system. Hundreds of residents also took part in a telephone survey.

    Mr Crawford said the review had already proven invaluable in the wake of recent severe weather in the region.

    “The sharp focus on capability strengths and areas for improvement through the review has without question had a very timely positive impact on the delivery of disaster management arrangements and services, to the benefit of residents,” he said.

    The findings were overwhelmingly positive with Burdekin securing a strong rating in Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment; Charters Towers strong in Hazard Mitigation and Risk Reduction; Flinders well placed in the category of Response; Hinchinbrook well placed in Relief and Recovery; Palm Island well placed in Emergency Communications; Richmond well placed in Hazard Identification and Risk Assessment; Townsville Local Disaster Management Group strong in Emergency Communications, and Townsville District Disaster Management Group strong in Preparedness and Planning.

    Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill, Chair of the Townsville Local Disaster Management Group said: “Townsville City Council and the Local Disaster Management Group have worked extremely hard to ensure our city is prepared for natural disasters such as cyclones and other extreme weather events. Both Council and the LDMG have introduced rigorous training regimes to prepare for disasters and this has helped the community get through recent severe weather events. Recently we have moved to better utilise real-time information such as online dashboards and social media to help keep the community informed.”

    Burdekin Mayor Lyn McLaughlin said: “Burdekin Shire Council has invested heavily in understanding and identifying hazards that affect our region. We are pleased that our efforts have been noted in the findings in the review by the Office of the Inspector-General Emergency Management and we will continue to build on these strong foundations.”

    Palm Island Mayor Alf Lacey said: “Palm Island Council and the Local Disaster Management Group have been working closely with the Townsville District Disaster Management Group for many years, which has resulted in the community’s increased preparedness to deal with a natural disaster event. We also support the findings and will continue to foster and strengthen our relationships with the various stakeholders to improve our capabilities.”

    Flinders Mayor Jane McNamara said: “The Flinders Local Disaster Management Group is very proactive and has an established and very organised and structured emergency plan. The group reflects the great values that are espoused by IGEM. Our LDMG members are well trained and committed to the community.”

    Richmond Mayor John Wharton said: “Richmond Shire Council has had a great relationship with our Local and District Disaster Group for many years, and it is only improving all the time. The key to this successful relationship is allowing each part of the Disaster group to do their job, and supporting those decisions.”

    Hinchinbrook Mayor Ramon Jayo said: “Hinchinbrook Shire Council and the Local Disaster Management Group have invested significant work and resources into developing outstanding disaster management arrangements, and we are pleased that the positive findings in the review reflect this effort.”

    Charters Towers Mayor Liz Schmidt said: “The review has confirmed Charters Towers Regional Council’s Local Disaster Management Group capability, and as a group we acknowledge that there is further work required particularly in respect to Relief and Recovery. The review was a positive outcome for our District and for our group.”

    Inspector-General Emergency Management Iain MacKenzie said the study – part of an on-going program of Statewide reviews - identified cutting-edge examples of good practice.

    “They include innovative approaches to ensuring depth of trained staff; positive engagement of the community through sustainable risk reduction activities; and the setting up of working groups to provide expertise for planning,” Mr MacKenzie said.

    Mr MacKenzie said a capability enhancement strategy had been created, based on the review findings. A workshop will be held next month to develop an action plan to support the district, which was the only recommendation to come out of the review.

    ENDS

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