Disaster response project celebrated at Resilient Australia Awards

06 December 2022

A team of CQUniversity academics were named as finalists in the 2022 Resilient Australia Awards' a nationwide program designed to recognise and promote initiatives that strengthen community disaster resilience.

After successfully winning the 2022 Get Ready Queensland Resilient Australia Award – Business category in late September' their research project' 'Preparing for the Unimaginable' was shortlisted for the National Resilient Australia Award.

The winners were announced at an awards ceremony in Hobart on Tuesday' 6 December 2022' with the Unimaginable project placing in the top 11.

Led by Associate Professor Adele Baldwin' the multi-disciplinary project team consisted of CQUniversity Townsville academics Dr Paul Duckett' Dr Anne Ferguson' Ms Joanne Harding' Professor Clare Harvey' Dr Bree Kitt' Dr Robyn Preston' Dr Naomi Ralph and Ms Stephanie Pasewaldt.

Arising from the research team's experiences of the North Queensland monsoon floods in 2019' the Unimaginable project aimed to explore' develop' and implement organisational response guidelines for businesses in the prospects of future disaster response.

Assoc Prof Baldwin said the research team was proud to have their project recognised on a national stage.

"We were all impacted by the devastating and unprecedented North Queensland floods in different ways' motivating us to go above and beyond to help build community resilience'" she explained.

"The Unimaginable project was developed over multiple years and comprised of three scaffolded' individual research projects to provide business with appropriate resources to support their staff' before' during and after a disaster."

  • The first project' 'The Sting in the Tail?' explored the experiences of university staff based in the affected region.
  • The second project' 'Preparing for the Unimaginable'' explored the lived experiences of organisations and community members in two affected sites using multiple methodologies' to develop a set of guidelines for businesses and organisations.
  • The third project' 'Practically Preparing for the Unimaginable'' comprised the development and delivery of six workshops across targeted Local Government Areas in Queensland affected by disaster events. These workshops introduced the guidelines to the workshop participants' working through how the guidelines may be implemented in their business and their region.

Since 2000' the Get Ready Queensland Resilient Australia Awards have showcased innovation and exemplary practice across Australia' celebrating achievements that might otherwise go unseen.

CQUniversity's national nomination highlighted the growing importance for businesses to prioritise disaster resilience.

"We saw first-hand how CQU Townsville campus employees supported each other and received support from our colleagues at other campuses.

"But in both the literature and disaster management guidelines' there was little information about employer support for employees or colleague support'" Assoc Prof Baldwin said.

"Our evidence-based policy and guidelines inform future efforts for employers and contribute to the whole of community resilience to disasters and emergencies."

The Resilient Australia Awards is proudly sponsored by the Australian Government in partnership with the states and territories and managed by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR).

To view the full list of National Resilient Australia Award Winners and Finalists' visit aidr.org.au/resources/resilient-australia-national-awards-2022/