The Australian journey regarding warnings has been a long one, and while the concept of a national warning system had been under consideration for some time, momentum really started to gain pace following the development, testing and analysis of the Community Information and Warning System in Victoria in 2004.
While the systems, processes and technology used for the trial were ahead of their time, Australia has not sat on its laurels. Since then, Australia has developed and implemented a national warning system, Emergency Alert, which has progressed in leaps and bounds.
Warning and information systems are integral as part of a broader functional community safety system. Ongoing research, education and appropriate investment are enablers to continuous improvement in this critical space. No system is perfect, and we will always, through a combination of planned improvement activity and the inevitable inquiries, find ways to do it better.
As I frequently say when conducting inquiries, ‘Anything that hurts you can teach you, and if it keeps hurting you it’s because you haven’t learnt’. This applies equally to the improvement of warning systems as it does any other emergency management activity. I look forward to seeing further advances in the provision of warnings and information in the future.
Inspector-General for Emergency Management Victoria
Read the full Foreword in the January 2021 edition of AJEM