Bundaberg Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch and disaster management officer Mal Churchill.
Bundaberg Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch and disaster management officer Mal Churchill. Scottie Simmonds

Disaster preparation gets boost

BUNDABERG Regional Council will soon appoint a community development officer to help prepare the community in the event of a disaster, following a Local Disaster Management Group meeting held yesterday.

The meeting was held to discuss the first round of recommendations to emerge from the Queensland Flood Commission’s interim report.

Disaster management officer Mal Churchill said 22 of the positions had been offered to 17 councils, and Bundaberg was set to have the position filled in the coming weeks.

“The development officer will work in the disaster management field to help build community resilience,” he said.

Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch said the officer would work with the community and help prepare families in cases of emergency.

“The community should be able to expect more information to be available, prior to (the disaster),” she said.

The costings to implement some of the key recommendations identified in the report have not been determined, but Mr Churchill said grant applications would be considered.

“It’s fair to say we would endeavour to exercise our rights for each of the grants issued by the government,” he said.

“We’ll go back and re-examine all these recommendations and see which fit in with the criteria of a grant application.”

Mr Churchill said other issues applicable to the disaster group included dealing with people in aged care, retirement villages and those with disabilities.

“One of the key things is also pushing the issue of the SES – we’re looking to seek out volunteers who might like to join,” he said.

Mr Churchill said getting the message to the community about driving through floodwater was also one of the main focuses.

Other key recommendations included general community wellbeing and the importance of councils forming strategic alliances with each other.

Cr Pyefinch said many of the 65 local council recommendations had already been in place before the report was released.

“We will review that plan in light of those recommendations,” she said.

The next disaster meeting will be scheduled for October, just before the start of the storm season.

“We’ll continue working through the recommendations and attempt to implement the ones we haven’t already done,” she said.



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