The tragic succession floods in Queensland over the past few years have prompted the state government to spend up big on new mitigation measures, however the state is now conspicuously investing in people as well as infrastructure to effectively manage emergencies.
Once a discipline that was applied to unusual events, personnel training in disaster management is now becoming a staple skill as authorities grapple with the very real prospect that extreme weather events that create floods and fires are here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Having made the decision to treat future floods from storms as an inevitability, the Campbell Newman government has now moved to invest in exploiting the know-how acquired from dealing with the deluge that washed through state in early 2011.
The investment will take the form of an $11 million commitment to a formal partnership with the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) to create a Regional College of Disaster Management.
The College will offer two qualifications to public sector managers who complete courses, including an advanced diploma or a graduate certificate.
Training will be delivered both online and face to face through facilities in Cairns, Townsville, Brisbane and Rockhampton.
The advanced diploma will cover subjects including building community relationships, managing multi-agency response, developing emergency management exercises and organising public safety awareness programs to build strong, prepared and resilient communities.
The graduate certificate will give participants “high-level” leadership knowledge as well as imparting skills that can be applied across preparation, prevention, response and recovery phases of disaster management.
The new college is a significant step in realising the Newman government’s election promise to “revitalise” frontline services.
The Newman government is also keen to capitalise on political disasters. Queensland Minister for Police, Fire and Emergency Services Jack Dempsey said the investment in training will fill “an important gap left by the previous Labor government”.
Mr Dempsey is also talking-up the partnership with the federal government to provide an opportunity to upskill a “new generation” of disaster management professionals.
“This model of training delivery is the first of its kind offered by the Queensland Government and will provide further important professional development,” Mr Dempsey said.
Queensland Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said disaster management is a “challenging field” and it’s vital that opportunities like this are provided so that when disaster strikes, management officers are well-trained and ready to support their communities.
“I’m confident that this new partnership will enhance Queensland’s mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery,” Mr Keenan said.
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