By Warwick Finn, First Assistant Secretary, AGD National Security Capability Development Division and new Editor-in-Chief of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management
Helping educate young Australians about natural hazards and the risks they pose is key to developing and strengthening a culture of resilience in our young adults of tomorrow. To assist in this important area, the Australian Government recently launched a new national school education resource from AEMI in the form of a phone app, “Before the Storm”. On 7 March 2012, the Australian Minister for Emergency Management, the Hon Nicola Roxon MP (who is responsible for national emergency management and disaster resilience) and the local Federal Member for Latrobe, Ms Laura Smyth, launched the “Before the Storm” app with students from Harkaway Primary School in Victoria.
The Hon Nicola Roxon launches “Before the Storm”.
At the launch the Minister said “The devastating floods here in Victoria and in New South Wales this week prove how important it is for communities to be well prepared for severe weather events, I encourage teachers to use this storm awareness tool to broaden knowledge about disaster resilience and to make it a catalyst for discussion and learning in the classroom”.
The Hon Nicola Roxon with SES volunteers from Narre Warren SES, John Hall and Bill McKnight, at the launch of “Before the Storm” at Harkaway Primary School.
While on the subject of the February floods in country NSW and Victoria, it would be remiss of me not to recognise the extraordinary response from the emergency services and volunteers. I am sure their efforts were appreciated by the community and it is, yet again, a reminder of how we depend on these organisations and individuals during times of crisis.
In this edition of AJEM the peer reviewed articles have a legal theme focusing on emergency management and the law. My thanks to Dr Michael Eburn, a member of the AJEM Editorial Advisory Committee, for his efforts as guest editor for this edition. Articles in this issue reflect projects under the Bushfire CRC “Mainstreaming Fire and Emergency Management across Legal and Policy Sectors: Joint Research and Policy Learning” program. Some of the articles have been sourced from current students studying at the ANU College of Law, and present some challenging and thought-provoking ideas.
We will all be aware the Council of Australian Governments endorsed National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR) provides essential direction to Australians in planning and preparing for disaster events. A recent initiative in this regard is the development of the new NSDR visual identity. It is produced below and in other places of this AJEM edition and we see it as an important tool in helping spread the Disaster Resilience message.
Looking forward, the July 2012 edition of AJEM will be the last by our current editor, Ms Anita Cleaver, who has been editor of the journal since August 2002. Many of our contributors and readership will know Anita having corresponded with her over the past 10 years. In my official capacity as Editor-in-Chief, I thank Anita, and acknowledge her efforts over the years in helping to establish AJEM in its current format and creating a product of which we are all so proud.
I look forward to being involved in the national emergency management and disaster resilience community and welcome the opportunity to serve in the capacity of Editor-in-Chief for the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (AJEM).
If you have something to say to the AJEM readership, please do not hesitate to contribute a Letter to the Editor.