With the ongoing threat of bushfires, and storm season on the horizon, Queenslanders are being urged to prepare for extreme weather as part of Get Ready Queensland Week.
The week, which was launched in Brisbane today and runs until 19 October, coincides with the release of the Bureau of Meteorology’s Cyclone and Severe Weather Outlook for 2019-20.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Queensland was the most disaster impacted state in Australia and it was vitally important that all Queenslanders were ready to respond if disaster strikes.
“In the past decade, Queensland had been impacted by more than 80 significant natural disaster events, resulting in tragic loss of life and more than $15.7 billion in damage to public infrastructure,” the Premier said.
“Last season we had catastrophic bushfires in central Queensland one month and unprecedented flooding in North Queensland the month after,” the Premier said.
“And most recently we’ve seen homes and businesses destroyed in the devastating bushfires in the Gold Coast hinterland, the Sunshine Coast, Stanthorpe and Laidley.
“The bushfire season started early this year and since September we’ve already seen 2000 fires in Queensland so if they haven’t already, Queenslanders should take steps now to protect what’s most important to them.”
Cameron Dick, Minister responsible for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, said Get Ready Queensland Week was a chance for all Queenslanders to get better prepared for the threat of natural disasters.
“It’s a time to think about your families, your pets, your neighbours, homes and businesses, and how to help keep them safe from bushfires, cyclones and flooding,” Minister Dick said.
“As we are regularly shown in Queensland, when it comes to extreme weather it’s not a matter of if but when and having a ‘what-if?’ plan could be the difference between staying safe or putting yourself and your family in danger.”
Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Craig Crawford said the early and severe start to this year’s bushfire season was a timely reminder of the need to be prepared for the unexpected.
“Unfortunately, we may not have seen the worst. We are staring down the barrel of what could possibly be a prolonged and severe bushfire season, and we now have storm and cyclone season on the horizon too,” Mr Crawford said.
“QFES staff and volunteers are always ready to roll up their sleeves to protect communities, and we’re asking residents to join us by ensuring they are prepared as well.”
Get Ready Queensland Ambassador Johnathan Thurston said bushfires, floods, storms or cyclones can strike at any time in Queensland.
“The floods that caused so much damage in Townsville and through other parts of north and Far North Queensland were a reminder of the challenges Queensland faces from Mother Nature,” Mr Thurston said.
“As a husband and father of four girls, I know having a ‘what-if’ plan in place can help keep my family safe, and I would encourage all Queenslanders to do the same.
“Your ‘what-if’ plan can include having an emergency kit with essentials such as a battery-operated radio for updates, torch, first aid kit, and enough food and water for three days,” he said.
“You should also have an evacuation plan in place for your family and pets, and it’s really important to check your insurance too.”
Bureau of Meteorology State Manager Bruce Gunn said although severe weather can occur at any time in Queensland, October to April is the peak time for heatwaves, flooding, tropical cyclones and severe thunderstorms.
“Bushfires and early season heatwaves will likely be the main hazard in Queensland for the remainder of 2019, with isolated occurrences of the usual severe thunderstorms, particularly in the south-east,” Mr Gunn said.
“However, parts of Queensland will undoubtedly also experience major flooding or a tropical cyclone before the end of the 2019-2020 season.
“The projected absence of any strong climatic influence of El Nino or La Nina indicates an average to slightly below average number of tropical cyclones in the Australian region, but it only takes one cyclone to cross the coast for it to be a significant season.
“The main message the bureau would like to convey to everyone in Queensland is to know your weather and know your risk – to be ready to act and stay safe.”
The Palaszczuk Government has committed $2 million to Get Ready Queensland to help councils prepare their communities for disasters in 2019-20.