The recent floods in Queensland have brought physical and psychological damage – and APESMA members are at the heart of the recovery
APESMA distinguished service award member and former national president Tim Griffin OAM is at the heart of Queensland's response to the flood crisis. Not only is he the Department of Transport and Main Roads (DTMR) Manager of Planning and Infrastructure for Central Queensland, he is also DTMR's Emergency Management Liaison Officer with statutory responsibility for the planning, preparedness, response and recovery under the Queensland Disaster Management Act 2010. A proud Rockhampton Region resident, Tim is well aware of the physical and psychological damage that the floods brought – and the challenges the regional community faces in recovering from the disaster.
“We need to prioritise what gets done, which means some informed tough decisions need to be made. The key challenges are ensuring we build the future safely with zero harm to staff, contractors and the communities we service.”
Tim emphasised that the focus must be on “building the future”, not “re-building”. “We want to do the infrastructure right so that we don't have a repeat of the devastation of this event. As engineers we want to make changes to ensure that communities can remain connected and can continue life.”
As well as ensuring essential goods and services can reach isolated communities, better infrastructure is needed to ensure that the local economy can recover, he said.
The skill shortage will become a big issue, Tim noted. “Queensland will not have enough engineers, so we will be searching nationally and to some extent internationally for essential skill sets.”
While the full cost of the floods is yet to be calculated, the economic impact is likely to be in the tens of billions of dollars. Tim urged APESMA members to donate generously to the Queensland Premier's Disaster Relief Appeal