Townsville not-so-hypothetical overview
An more detailed overview of the event.

Green Cross Australia is partnering with Townsville City Council to produce a "Cyclone Hypothetical" which enables the community to visualise and plan a response to a Cyclone Yasi-like event that hits Townsville directly. This is initiative is funded by the Queensland Government's "Get Ready Queensland" program.

This project will involve business, emergency response, research and community leaders to cultivate shared responsibility for planning for such an event, which inevitably will occur.

The event builds on Green Cross Australia's online disaster preparedness tools including an animation of such an event developed by CSIRO, using assumptions guided by Townsville City Council, Bureau of Meteorology and James Cook University experts.

Paul Barclay, Producer of ABC Radio National Big Ideas, will moderate the Cyclone Hypothetical, which will be showcased for national ABC radio and online audiences, and possibly ABC TV.

Mayors, business leaders and emergency response professionals from across Queensland coastal communities to attend the event in order to share insights from this initiative.

The program will be used in future to train Queensland emergency response professionals.


Engaging local stakeholders in scenario planning
Disaster preparation, response and recovery involve a highly interdependent network of stakeholders including businesses and government agencies whose actions influence each other's responses in often unpredictable ways. For this reason, it can be helpful to bring together diverse stakeholders as a form of scenario planning to anticipate situations and recalibrate response strategies.

The "Hypothetical" format of addressing situational responses offers a powerful and imaginative way of addressing how Townsville would response to a direct hit from a Yasi-like cyclone. Over many years, Geoffrey Robertson, QC, has developed and hosted a series of discussions for ABC TV on social issues using a Hypothetical format - a compelling imaginary situation is created, and a selected panel of experts discusses its ramifications.

In this case the situation is not so hypothetical. The ability for Townsville leaders to interact with real-time scenario based challenges would be valuable not only to inform local planning, but also to influence similar engagement across other populated cyclone exposed regional towns in Northern Australia.

This format enables small business, retail, property, finance, telecommunications, and energy and water providers to develop scenario-based interactive responses alongside local political, community and disaster response leaders - to demonstrate what can go wrong in the preparation, response and early recovery phases of a major cyclone event. The Hypothetical format invites participants to play different roles, enabling people to see challenges from different perspectives. The community's self-reliance will be tested.


Why hold a Cyclone Hypothetical in Townsville?
Apart from the evident reality of Townsville's cyclone exposure - producing this kind of event in Townsville for a national audience and large local audience makes sense because:
➢    Townsville is a leader in disaster resilience, having benefited from decades of consistent policy and practice improvements and a number of national-scale capacity building grants. A number of these tools and programs can be included as part of the background storyline development to enrich the program and lessons learned.
➢    Despite the tough culture of cyclone preparedness in and around Townsville, the local population turns over frequently. According to the ABS, Townsville's population has increased by 2.6% over the past seven years and approaches 200,000, with 464 arrivals and departures per 1000 people (compared with 442 per 1000 nationally).
➢    The city's current population has the potential to rise to between 270,000 (medium range forecast) and 380,000 people (boom range forecast) by 2031. Events like the Cyclone Hypothetical can be leveraged into the future through local education and engagement programs for years to come to embed a culture of preparedness as Townsville grows.

When:  29 May 2014 - 29 May 2014

Time:  Approx 11am to 3pm

Where:  C2, Civic Theatre, Townsville

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