Queensland flood response to be reviewed by former policeman

By Melissa Coade

March 15, 2022

Annastacia Palaszczuk
Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk. (AAP Image/Darren England)

Inspector-General Emergency Management Alistair Dawson, who has over 40 years’ policing experience, has been called upon by the Queensland government to undertake an independent review of the state response to the recent flood emergency. 

On Tuesday, Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk announced Dawson has been asked to review the response to flooding in the south-east of the state. The review will consider the timing and effectiveness of emergency alerts to warn the general community of the flooding event between February and March 2022 and the effectiveness of cooperation between all agencies engaged in response operations.

“This is how we constantly improve our response to natural disasters. Learning from the last event makes us better prepared for the next,” Palaszczuk said. 

Dawson has previously served as chair of the State Disaster Coordination Group, coordinating the whole of government response to several complex disaster events in Queensland. In 2021 he was appointed an adjunct professor at Griffith University’s Centre for Environment and Population Health in the school of medicine and dentistry.  

Emergency services minister Mark Ryan said Dawson had contributed to state reviews, including the Queensland Bushfires Review 2019-20 and the K’Gari (Fraser Island) Bushfire Review 2020-2021.

“The role of the Inspector-General was recognised by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements as a leading example of continuous improvement and best practice that has worked successfully and that similar arrangements to the Queensland model would be desirable for other jurisdictions,” Ryan said. 

The review will focus on best practice approaches and opportunities for improvement in responding to emergency flood events. Bureaucrats from local, state, and federal agencies, and other relevant stakeholders will be asked to share information to assist in the review.

The minister noted that because Queensland was one of the most disaster-prone states, it was important for the government to have a system that led to continually improving emergency responses.

“That is the Inspector-General’s job, to examine the response to the floods, and see if there are any lessons that can be learned, or improvements that can be made to the way we deal with these events,” Ryan said. 

Public forums will be held by the Inspector-General as part of the review and invitations for public submissions will also be accepted until 19 April. The terms of reference for the review can be found online.


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