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North Burnett community members take the lead on disaster preparation

Dec 14, 2017 | Front Page Feature, News

Service providers of North Burnett have joined forces to establish one of the state’s first “community disaster recovery teams”, which is taking the lead on preparing the region for the next disaster.

Established formally in October 2017 under the direction of North Burnett Regional Council, the recovery group has many years of combined experience in disaster management and recovery between them.

North Burnett Mayor Rachel Chambers said the recovery group was an important step towards ensuring local communities are prepared ahead of storm season.

“Severe weather is a natural part of living in the North Burnett region and over the past eight years, we have been hit by seven major natural disaster events, including cyclones Oswald, Marcia and Debbie, with an estimated total clean-up bill of more than $150 million,” Ms Chambers said. “While there is little we can do to stop Mother Nature in her tracks, we cannot sit back and wait for her wrath before we take action.

“The recovery group shares a wealth of local knowledge and recovery experience and is well equipped to play a major role in our region’s preparation, response and recovery efforts during future disaster events.

The group has developed a ‘Recovery Plan for the Cumulative Impacts of Disasters’ which will support the community on its journey through recovery following past events, assist the community with building resilience, and advise how to plan and prepare for future events.

“While the establishment of the recovery group is a relatively new development, the members have been at the centre of recovery efforts in recent years and are well informed about the effects natural disasters can have on our region,” Mayor Chambers said.

Ms Chambers said she was thrilled to have the team on board and was looking forward to working together on all elements of disaster preparedness.

“When it comes to disaster recovery, there is no question about the importance of a collaborative approach by governments, local authorities and local communities to ensure a rapid and effective recovery,” she said.

“As individuals, we also have a responsibility to ensure our community is prepared and able to be as self-sufficient as possible, particularly during the height of an emergency situation.

“That is why a recovery group is vital for the North Burnett region, not only so local residents have the knowledge and resources to be prepared, but to also be on the ground to coordinate recovery efforts and ensure our community is ready for future disaster events.

“This is a wonderful initiative and we are so grateful to the members for their goodwill and generosity – on behalf of the North Burnett community, we thank you for your invaluable commitment to strengthening our community.”