2014 Resilient Australia Awards




Australian War Memorial, Canberra – 24 November 2014

The Resilient Australia Awards national ceremony is the culmination of the year’s awards program which is sponsored by the Attorney-General’s Department in conjunction with the states and territories.

The Hon. Michael Keenan MP, Minister for Justice presented the 2014 Resilient Australia Awards at a ceremony held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra on Monday 24 November 2014. There were a total of 24 entries recognised from 160 applications.

‘Congratulations to the award-winning and highly commended projects in this year’s national Resilient Australia Awards.

‘These awards recognise outstanding contributions communities are making to disaster management including risk assessment and mitigation, education, training and research, community awareness and engagement, as well as to response and recovery.

‘The work of these organisations, groups and individuals are helping to prepare our nation for future natural disasters and ensuring our communities are more resilient to adverse events that are a fact of life when living in Australia.

‘The Australian Government is committed to making the nation’s communities safer and more resilient to natural disasters. Better understanding of how we can manage our natural disaster risks is essential to achieving this goal.

‘There is an opportunity for reform, to better protect our communities from harm and improve the living standards of Australians. The release of the Productivity Commission’s draft report in September was an important step in this process’, said Minister Keenan.


Australian Red Cross

Building Resilience Workshops

The Building Resilience Workshops project focused on making sure older people, people with disabilities and those from culturally and linguistically diverse communities are better prepared for disasters. The Australian Red Cross worked in partnership with councils, emergency agencies and experts, to determine how best to provide preparedness messages to vulnerable members of the community. The ultimate aim was to ensure people would have the skills to prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.

Carolyn Townsen, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Jody Broun and Diana Bernard

Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Brigade

Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Community Engagement Plan

The Mt Wilson/Mt Irvine Rural Fire Brigade developed a Community Engagement Plan to improve communication with the community. Neighbours worked together in survival planning and gained a better understanding of their role in an emergency. A Response Plan and Recovery Plan were also developed. The Brigade runs workshops on planning for a bushfire and provides information via the community newsletter and community website which is jointly funded by the Brigade, Mt Wilson Progress Association and the Historical Society. Evaluation following the 2013 State Mine Fire showed a high level of community participation and contribution to the response.

Elizabeth Raines, Kathleen Oakes, The Hon Michael Keenan MP and Kim Gow

Education and Research

Bundaberg North State School

Bears Calm Bundy North after 2013 Floods

Bundaberg North was devastated by floods in 2013. Nearly every home sustained significant damage. During the emergency the Bundaberg North State School became a hub for physical and emotional support. This prompted the school Guidance Officer to provide ongoing support for students and their families. The Guidance Officer developed the BEAR Plan and along with the school Chaplain, students were taught calming strategies based on the letters B E A R – Breathe, Exit, Ask, Relax. Students were also given teddy bears to help calm them when they became emotionally overwhelmed.

Alan Bowmaker, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Selina Taggart and Veronica Geiger

University of Wollongong


Floodengage is an online support system that empowers the community to learn about, prioritise and make collective and considered decisions about floodplain management options for their local water catchment area Floodengage provides a database containing knowledge on a range of flood management measures currently available. This data includes information on management options, specific advantages and disadvantages, and environmental, constraints faced by the community. Floodengage also documents case studies, past successes, and lessons learned.

Ray Laine, The Hon Michael Keenan MP and Chris Cook

Private Sector

Are U Ready: Anthony Turner and Sandra Slatter

Are U Ready? - surviving small business disaster

Are U Ready? –surviving small business disaster is a unique and easy to read book that provides clear insights into the psychological and emotional impact of disaster. Are U Ready is a comprehensive and easy to complete series of check-lists, tools and templates designed to assist business owners both identify and then create realistic plans to mitigate potential threats to their business.

Sandra Slatter, The Hon Michael Keenan MP and Anthony Turner

Australian Government

Geoscience Australia

Water Observations from Space

The Water Observations from Space (WOfS) program aims is to better inform communities of where flooding is usually present, where it is seldom observed, and where inundation occurs. WOfS is derived from satellite imagery archives dated from 1998—2012. WOfS was developed to provide a nationally consistent view of surface water in an open and accessible way to improve the understanding of floods. WOfS is part of the National Flood Risk Information Project and is available through the Australian Flood Risk Information Portal and via web map services at Geoscience Australia.

The Hon Michael Keenan MP and Norman Mueller

Nationally Significant

Australian Red Cross and Noggin IT


The Register.Find.Reunite program was funded by the National Emergency Management Projects grant program and the Australian Red Cross in partnership with state and territory governments. Register.Find.Reunite is a voluntary registration and enquiry service for people impacted by an emergency through a web-based filing system. The system helps reunite families, friends and loved ones separated by an emergency. It provides basic details on the whereabouts of people and also streamlines access to agencies providing recovery support services.

Owen Prime, Simon Rickard, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Julie Groome and Charlie Forsyth

Women's Health Goulburn North East, Women's Health in the North and the Monash Injury Research Institute

Gender & Disaster: Leading the Change

Leading the Change is working to achieve better health, wellbeing and safety outcomes for community members and emergency service workers through ground-breaking work in the area of gender and disaster. It brings a gender-focus to disaster policy, planning, training and practice. Its aim is to improve the support that men and women receive before and after disaster, mitigate risks to men and women's health and wellbeing post-disaster and to build awareness of the critical need for attention to gender in disaster planning.

Claire Zara, Debra Parkinson, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Susie Reid and Helen Riseborough

State and Territory Government

Department of Natural Resources and Mines Qld

Queensland Flood Mapping Program

The Queensland Flood Mapping Program provides the Queensland community with information that assists in preventing, preparing, responding to and recovering from flood disaster across the state.

The first two phases of the program have included mapping more than 100 high-risk flood towns in 40 local government areas and developing flood maps for a further 75 at-risk locations. These flood maps are now being incorporated into geospatial information systems to better articulate flood hazard and determine strategic land use planning.

Top: Graeme Milligan, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Sudarshan Karki and David Carlisle

Tasmania Fire Service and the University of Tasmania

Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods Tasmania (pilot project)

The Bushfire Ready Neighbourhoods program trialled the implementation of evidence-based community development in bushfire prone areas by working with selected communities to build community preparedness and resilience.

An example of this was a community-led bushfire prevention, preparedness and recovery event called ‘Molesworth Fires Up’. This was a whole of community event that included students from the local school participating in the trial.

Bottom: Sandra Barber, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Mai Frandsen and Peter Middleton


Emma van der Moezel

Renewal by Fire

The winning photograph (as voted by the public) depicts the burning of fuels which could be a hazard to communities in the ACT. The fire was a controlled hazard reduction burn by the ACT Rural Fire Service as part of the assessment of the newest fire fighters.

The Hon Michael Keenan MP and Emma van der Moezel

Local Government

Cairns Regional Council with Deaf Services Queensland, CentaCare Migrant Services and ARC Disability Services

Be Ready, Cairns!

The most at risk community members in the Cairns region have been the priority in a targeted public engagement program to grow disaster resilience. This has been achieved by working together to share knowledge, raise awareness and develop self-management response strategies. Specialised resources were developed and provided free in hardcopy and electronic versions from a wide variety of sources such as all the region’s libraries.

The success of the Be Ready, Cairns! program was fully demonstrated through community preparation for and response to Tropical Cyclone Ita.

Hala Kattab, The Hon Michael Keenan MP and Sioux Campbell

Sydney Coastal Councils Group and the University of Sydney

Coastal Vulnerability to Multiple Inundation Sources

The Coastal Vulnerability to Multiple Inundation Sources (COVERMAR) project facilitates the development of balanced, multi-hazard mitigation strategies. This project has developed the first multi-hazard assessment tool which compares the risks posed by multiple hazards, namely tsunami and storm surges using a probabilistic approach. The project also assesses the vulnerability of different types of buildings and critical infrastructure and assesses the financial cost applicable to inundation damage.

Filippo Dall’Osso, The Hon Michael Keenan MP, Dale Dominey-Howes and Stephen Summerhayes

A full list of the award recipients can be found at www.em.gov.au along with the annual awards booklet and photo gallery from the national ceremony.

Further information about the Resilient Australia Awards program is on the Australian Emergency Management Knowledge Hub on the Connect! page: www.emknowledge.gov.au.