We are very excited about the new projects and initiatives we are developing in the Centre and look forward to sharing these soon with partners, both actual and potential, virtually and in person. That was the aim of our first Board Stakeholder Forum for Queensland, which was held in Brisbane at the end of April.
Attendees were drawn from emergency services, local government, other state government entities, research institutions, emergency management, not for profits, the private sector, special interest groups and federal agencies.
The forum included:
- Chair Dr Katherine Woodthorpe AO, Deputy Chair Ian Mackenzie and our outgoing CEO Dr Richard Thornton on what has been achieved so far in the Centre’s establishment year
- Acting Commissioner Mike Wassing on why the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services continues to invest in this national research capability for Queensland
- an update on our research program development – what is underway and what is to come (including highlights which offered the most relevance to Queensland)
- future directions and opportunities for organisations to be involved
- networking with Board members on the needs of organisations and of Queensland across natural hazards resilience and disaster risk reduction and how the Centre could help address some of those needs.
Dr Thornton launched the Centre’s inaugural Disaster Challenge, a new national research challenge developed in collaboration with a Queensland-based working group. Applications close 30 June: http://disasterchallenge.com.au/
The atmosphere was fantastic from the very beginning of the forum – many who attended commented that it was the first face-to-face event they had attended in over a year and so were keen to reconnect with the Centre and each other in person.
Commentary from attendees in the Q&A section of the evening was impressive, reflecting the depth and breadth of knowledge of the sector, their passion for making a difference in this field but more importantly, their enthusiasm about the possibilities of what lies ahead with being involved in this new Centre.
On a personal note, it was so pleasing to hear the amount of gratitude that attendees had for our departing CEO Dr Richard Thornton – for his commitment to the sector, his leadership/ stewardship of the Centre and a friend to so many in the field.
Overall, the event went incredibly well, and we thank our Queensland stakeholders for sharing their time, expertise and feedback with us, which we will take on board. We look forward to engaging in similar ways across the jurisdictions over the coming months.