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AFAC Annual Reports : 2011 Annual Report
Naomi Brown, CEO AFAC To quote Charles Dickens -- the past 12 months has seen "...the best of times and the worst of times...". Images of the 'inland tsunami' flowing through the Lockyer Valley and Ipswich in Qld, the fast flowing flood waters of the swollen Brisbane River sweeping pontoons, boats and walkways before it and the devastation and damage sustained in WA through the worst fire season in the West for many years, are etched in all our minds. But so too are the images of the resourceful SES crews and fire-fighters in the leading roles they played in communities large and small during these disasters. The response by our members to these emergency situations was outstanding and drew the focus and admiration of the world. The leadership demonstrated by Australian emergency services people through these often tragic events has provided a model in a global sense, showing that communities when they band together and are supported by well trained and appropriately resourced emergency services can prepare and recover, even in the face of some of the worst natural disasters. Tropical Cyclone Yasi was testament to our ability to mitigate the impacts of even the most signiﬁcant disasters through education, early warning and advice, and recovery planning. We had barely drawn breath on our own signiﬁcant disasters and we were mobalising USAR teams to New Zealand and Japan. We can be justiﬁably proud that we do have a sector with capability and capacity. In the wake of two signiﬁcant Inquiries which have been highly critical of our industry, it is easy to lose perspective, focusing only on the failings, rather than celebrating what was well done. Many of these events required our member agencies to work together in these times of need. Our ability to do so reinforces the role AFAC has played in interoperability – particularly in command and control situations where the work through AIIMS to date has been invaluable. Much of the real work of AFAC often happens behind the scenes. As the industry organisation for all ﬁre, land management and emergency services in Australasia, it is up to us to identify the future needs of our industry. We must work with government at all levels to ensure the needs of emergency management are recognised and addressed. We also need to work across the sector engaging with all our member agencies to ensure that knowledge is being shared and applied. Our role is to facilitate efﬁciencies in both infrastructure and human capital. Through that collaboration we can continue to build a sector with capability and capacity to respond and manage disasters when they strike. Our recent spate of signiﬁcant emergencies has precipitated a focus and scrutiny on our work, making it all the more critical that we keep our eye on the core issues that will make our industry stronger and better able to play our role in keeping our communities safe. Change is constant and the rate of change in the emergency management sector is rapid. In this environment AFAC has commenced the task of reviewing our structure, our collaborative models and workgroups and our membership arrangements to ensure our future sustainability and relevancy. We outline this body of work in this report on page 18. The AFAC into the Future (AITF) program is extensive and far-reaching. Our Council and Board have been engaged from conception and will continue to guide this process. At this time of year I acknowledge and thank our sponsors for their continued support. Our sponsorship arrangements allow us to extend the reach of so many of our programs – particularly our knowledge and professional development events, including our highly successful annual conference and our on-going commitment to knowledge sharing across the sector through our Knowledge Web. At AFAC we are acutely aware of the commitment and dedication displayed by so many people who contribute to the AFAC Groups. We know that you take on these responsibilities in addition to your own busy ‘day-job’ and we sincerely thank you for your contribution. I also thank and acknowledge the hard working AFAC staff. It has again been a very busy year full of some unique challenges. I am very proud of the achievements of my staff and the outcomes we have delivered on behalf of our members. Our key achievements and the work of everyone involved with AFAC, is highlighted in this report. To the AFAC Board and all of the Council members, my thanks for your ongoing support of AFAC, its activities and me personally. Finally, I urge you to read this report and share it with your colleagues. Even leave it in the tea rooms. The more people from our member agencies we can engage or even just make aware of the work AFAC undertakes, will help us demonstrate the value of an efﬁcient and effective industry association and in itself will lead to a stronger and more capable emergency management sector. Naomi Brown Chief Executive Officer From the CEO Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council | 5 Annual Report 2011
2010 Annual Report