Research into a raft of disaster-related issues that residents face, from insurance costs and caring for pets if evacuations are required, has earned Cairns Regional Council a state-wide accolade.
Council’s Disaster Resilience, Officer Sioux Campbell, has received the Inspector-General Emergency Management (IGEM) Champion of Change Award in the Research and Engagement Category for a decade of work to build the region’s disaster resilience.
Disaster resilience is all about preparing the community for the range of natural disasters that can impact the Far North, to ensure residents know what to do, and that communities can recover effectively from such emergencies as cyclones, floods and fires.
“In my context, this is all about resilience in the Cairns region and how we’ve been able to use many sorts of different research to add value to resilience development,” Ms Campbell said.
“Everything from desktop research, to low level social research to academic reports – all those things have led to operational and practice improvements in the way we do things in disaster management and resilience for Cairns.”
Inspector-General for Emergency Management, Alistair Dawson, said the awards recognise the work of those in the disaster management sector who actively champion change and demonstrate excellence.
“It is great privilege and honour to be here today to acknowledge Sioux’s achievements in being named the winner of this award,” Mr Dawson said.
“Sioux has demonstrated quite clearly the value of bringing academic and what I call industry research together, in that it creates a strong bond and a strong web of information which we can build on in the future.
“With the fact we are trying to build in the State more resilient communities through research and engagement, this is a well-deserved honour.”
In her role at Council, Ms Campbell helped establish the Animal Care for Seniors at Home group and worked on the Cairns Resilience Scorecard developed from Torrens and UN resilience measurement tools.
She has also helped develop the Living with Water project which uses historical research into flooding on the Barron River to develop understanding with current residents, provided understanding the role of local ecosystem services in disaster resilience, and looked at planning for food contingencies in the region.