By Kym Duggan, First Assistant Secretary, AGD National Security Capability Development Division, AJEM Editor-in-Chief
I am delighted to be recently appointed as the First Assistant Secretary, AGD National Security Capability Development Division and therefore as Editor-in-Chief for the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (AJEM).
AJEM has a long and proud history, including a strong association with the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) at Mount Macedon, and I look forward to my association.
The devastation of the recent floods throughout Australia has shocked us all, particularly due to their size, severity and tragic loss of life. The emergency management response and recovery arrangements, and the efforts of the volunteers, have been appreciated by all involved. Accordingly, we have produced a special cover to this edition to mark these events.
In relation to capacity building for flood, the Attorney-General had previously released updated editions of our Australian Emergency Manuals series publications:
- Manual No 20 Flood Preparedness
- Manual No 21 Flood Warning
- Manual No 22 Flood Response
- Manual No 23 Planning for Floods Affected by Dams
We will now re-double our efforts, with the National Flood Advisory Group, to publish an updated edition of the overarching volume EM No 19 ‘Managing the Floodplain’ as soon as possible.
Turning to editorial matters, in a recent edition of AJEM we asked readers to participate in our triennial Readers Survey. This year the survey was conducted on-line and many of you contributed. When we have assembled an analysis of the survey results we will report back to you. We also conducted a Subscribers Review, asking you to advise if you still wanted to receive AJEM, at what address or by electronic notification. Thankfully, we have been swamped with replies and a new mailing list will be drawn up accordingly.
We also called for nominations to join the AJEM Editorial Advisory Committee. This Committee meets regularly to provide advice to the Department on the strategic direction of the AJEM. I am please to confirm that Dr Michael Eburn has been appointed to this role. Many of you will know Michael, previously from the University of New England and now a Senior Fellow at the ANU Centre for Climate Law and Policy and the Fenner School of Environment and Society, within the ANU College of Law. Michael is an expert in legal aspects of emergency management and in 2011 will be undertaking research, funded through the Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre, looking at how emergency (in particular fire) management is incorporated into Australian law. Michael also has emergency management volunteer experience with St John Ambulance, NSW Ambulance and NSW State Emergency Service. Michael is the author of “Emergency law: Rights, liabilities and duties of emergency workers and volunteers” (Federation Press Third Edition 2010) which, I am advised, is a very popular title held at the AEMI Australian Emergency Management Library.
Appointments to the Committee are time quantified, so as they say “watch this space” for future opportunities to nominate. Our Committee comprises some very eminent persons in the Sector, including Dr Chas Keys (former Deputy Director General, NSW SES), Prof Jennifer McKay, Professor of Business Law, University of South Australia, David Parsons, Manager Emergency Management and Security Unit, Sydney Water Corporation, Andrew Coghlan, National Manager Emergency Services, Australian Red Cross and Raelene Thompson, Executive Director, AEMI. More information about the Committee is planned to be presented on our associated website “Emergency Management in Australia” at www.em.gov.au shortly.
The peer review articles in this edition of AJEM contain a wide range of content, reflecting current priorities in our national emergency management industry sector, including national disaster resilience, emergency management volunteering, schools education and lessons learned from recent disaster events. This content includes: Simon Rice and Barry Fallon from Australian Catholic University on ‘Retention of Volunteers in the Emergency Services’; David Johnson and Massy University NZ colleagues on ‘Preparing Schools for Future Earthquakes’ including a discussion of evacuations; Peter Rogers from Macquarie University NSW on ‘Development of Resilient Australia’, which is very timely given the proposed upcoming release of the National Disaster Resilience Strategy by Australian governments, and interestingly, a review of regional flood mitigation policy “Resilience to Climate Change Impacts: A Review of Flood Mitigation Policy in Queensland” from a collaboration of leading Queensland academics and researchers (noting that this article examines events from 2008). This paper was contributed and peer-reviewed prior to the recent Australian floods.
Also in this edition: the communiqué text from the recent meeting of our industry sector peak body, the Ministerial Council for Police and Emergency Management (MCPEM-EM); information from the latest AEMI national workshop “International Experts Talk Resilience”; pictures and reports from the 2010 national presentation of the ‘OSCARs’ for our sector, the Australian Safer Communities Awards (ASCAs); and updates from AEMI about some key upcoming emergency management sector national workshops, including the new media national workshop “Only Connect! – Workshop on community resilience, emergency management and new media” (14–15 April 2011) and the national workshop on community engagement “Engaged and resilient communities workshop” (17–19 May 2011).
Looking forward, the April 2011 edition of AJEM will be a specially “Bushfire” themed edition, for which the call-for-papers was distributed last October. It is proposed to have a Foreword prepared by the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), an opinion piece by the new Victorian Bushfire Commissioner and a range of articles co-ordinated in partnership by AEMI and the Bushfire CRC.
I look forward to being involved in the national emergency management community. If you have something to say to the AJEM readership, please do not hesitate to contribute a Letter to the Editor.
First Assistant Secretary, AGD National Security Capability Development Division