QLD councils manage disasters through Resolute IT hub

By Paul Hemsley

Queensland communities and businesses will have access to a disaster hub website developed to deliver information from authorities and local councils.

Designed to educate and prepare council staff, Australian ICT supplier Resolute IT developed the ‘Disaster Hub’ as a website integrating participating council websites.

The facility is a two way communication tool allowing SMS or e-mail alerts to be sent out, allowing for community feedback about incidents via the same electronic avenues.

The federal government’s Natural Disaster Resilience Program funded the project as a state government initiative with partial funding from the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ).

LGAQ president, Paul Bell said four councils have participated in the project, which are Gympie, Central Highlands, Murweh and Somerset.

Resolute IT program manager for disaster management, Mirjana Bece said the initiative came as a result of the flood inquiry recommendations.

“Those recommendations related to the communications with the community on how to better prepare for disasters, during and afterward and provide a central point for them rather than searching for different websites,” Ms Bece said.

From a technology perspective, the site is built on top of the technology that Resolute already has, where councils have the software they used before, Ms Bece said.

“There is some Java development included as well that will enable alarms and SMS warnings and that type of technology that is built on top of this proprietary software that we already have in Resolute IT, just expanded for this purpose,” she said.

According to Ms Bece, the councils’ internal IT and councilors received training to use the technology from Resolute IT, which will look after the technology for the councils.

“ResoluteIT is a partner in this program of work as a specialty as a subsidiary from the LGAQ and we work very closely on initiatives that are going to support all councils in Queensland.”

Resolute will provide support and maintenance of the software itself and support the clients in the councils through the process.

Ms Bece said implementation depends on what the councils are using for their website development, but total implementation as a solution can be provided for the councils for that have actually developed their websites themselves.

Ms Bece said there is no social media integration at this point because there was a limited time to actually finish the functionality of the hub and to put it out before December.

“We didn’t have time to implement all of the functionality that we would like to do, so we would consider that the functionality in the hub is definitely giving a lot of functionality to start with to the councils, but it’s a foundation we are putting in place that we can build upon the existing product,” Ms Bece said.

She said the council’s website would be the first contact point for community members

According to Ms Bece, participating councils will not have to make any funding contributions for the first year

The first year includes implementation for their data support and maintenance, with special maintenance and entrance of content to keep it up-to-date, which is quarterly and “fully free in the first year”.

Ms Bece said the second year is $500 and the third year is $750.

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