Updates

Queenslanders encouraged to Get Ready for summer

Queensland Government media release

Queenslanders are being urged to start preparing for disaster season and the wide range of extreme weather events that can impact our state including bushfires, storms, floods and cyclones.

Get Ready Queensland Week (10-16 October) was launched at Milton State School in conjunction with the Bureau of Meteorology’s Severe Weather Outlook.

Minister for Fire and Emergency Services Mark Ryan said Queenslanders have shown in the past 18 months how well we can work together responding to COVID-19 and we should do the same ahead of disaster season.

“The global pandemic has challenged us like never before, but I believe it’s because of the Queensland spirit that frequently shines brightest in times of emergency that has helped us through these tough times,” Mr Ryan said.

“Queensland has been hit by almost 90 significant natural disasters and weather events in the past decade leaving a recovery and reconstruction bill of more than $16.8 billion.

“But we always get through them, digging deep and working shoulder to shoulder as communities recover from these events.”

Minister Ryan said today’s launch at Milton State School, which was severely damaged in the 2011 floods, is a great reminder of the extreme weather we need to prepare for.

“Our emergency services staff do an amazing job helping us out in our times of need so it’s important we show them they can count on us,” Mr Ryan said.

“We also know a lot of people have moved to Queensland from interstate this year and we welcome these new residents to our great state with open arms, but we also want them to be aware that in Queensland, disaster can strike anywhere and at any time.

“Research shows 57 per cent of Queenslanders have an emergency plan, which is up from around 18 per cent eight years ago but there is plenty of room for improvement.

“Just last season alone, Queensland was hit by 11 natural disaster events across 50 local government areas including a hailstorm, bushfires, floods and cyclones.

“Unfortunately, it’s not a matter of if but when severe weather strikes somewhere in Queensland and that’s exactly why we all need to be prepared.

“Get Ready Queensland Week is the ideal time to prepare ourselves and our households for the upcoming storm and cyclone season.”

“Get Ready Queensland Week is about raising awareness to start preparing your families, pets, households and even your neighbours for severe weather and the Get Ready Queensland website has all the information to guide you.”

Get Ready Queensland Ambassador Johnathan Thurston said Queenslanders can get ready in three simple steps.

“All we need to do is prepare an emergency plan, pack an emergency kit and make sure our insurance is up to date,” Mr Thurston said.

“By taking these simple steps now we can make sure we protect what’s most important to us.

“If everyone can take some time to be prepared for disaster season, it means that our emergency services can focus on the people who really need help in a disaster.

“The only predictable thing about Queensland’s weather is it unpredictability so let’s not leave anything to chance this summer,” he said.

Bureau of Meteorology Senior Meteorologist Laura Boekel said Queenslanders should keep up to date with the latest warnings and forecasts on the Bureau’s website and the BOM Weather smartphone app.

“We want people to ‘know your weather, know your risk’ – and that means understanding not just what kind of severe weather can impact the area you live in, but the hazards associated with it and what you need to do to avoid getting hurt,” Ms Boekel said.

“The 2021-2022 Severe Weather Outlook released by the Bureau today indicates that climate drivers including the current La Niña Watch, warm waters in the north, the sea surface temperature pattern across the tropical Pacific Ocean, along with a negative Indian Ocean Dipole, point towards more rainfall and an average to slightly above average cyclone season.

“There are on average four cyclones every season in the Eastern cyclone zone of Australia – but all Queenslanders must remember that it takes just one to cause devastation from damaging winds, heavy rainfall and tidal surges.

“Localised major flooding can occur in any northern wet season, but in 2021-22, there is an increased risk of widespread and prolonged riverine flooding across eastern and northern Queensland.

“While long-running large bushfires are less likely than during dry years such as 2019-20, continuing wet conditions during spring may further increase grass growth, which could increase fire danger as it dries during summer.

“The Bureau is Australia’s most trusted source of weather information with a national network of expertise, technology – including radars, automatic weather stations, satellites and computer modelling – and robust partnerships with emergency services, organisations such as the QRA, and all local councils to help keep all communities safer.”

Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston said the insurer was partnering with Get Ready Queensland once again in 2021 to a bid to help communities prepare for natural disasters.

“Suncorp is incredibly proud of its Queensland heritage, and we’re committed to working with the QRA, SES and JT to encourage Queensland households, businesses and communities to be weather-ready,” Mr Johnston said.

“Each summer, we see homes and communities destroyed by natural disasters, with much of this damage avoidable.

“Our research shows even small-scale events can have a big impact, financially, emotionally and even physically, so it is critical Queenslanders undertake home preparation and maintenance now, as waiting until a storm is bearing down is just too late.”

Get Ready Queensland’s advertising campaign featuring Johnathan Thurston as well as representatives from Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Lifeline started yesterday and runs for six weeks.

Get Ready Queensland is a year-round, all-hazards, resilience building initiative to help communities prepare for natural disasters. For more information on Get Ready Queensland visit the website.