Disaster Recovery Efforts Earn Council Top Teamwork Award

Western Downs Regional Council

WDRC Wins LGMA Teamwork.jpg

Western Downs Regional Council’s exceptional disaster response and recovery efforts during the 2023-24 bushfires and floods have earned the organisation the Local Government Managers Australia (LGMA) Teamwork Award at the LGMA Awards for Excellence Gala at Brisbane last night.

The prestigious LGMA Awards recognise the best Local Government initiatives in the State and celebrates the outstanding work undertaken by Councils across Queensland.

Council also earned third place in the Australasian Management Challenge, which pits teams of seven from 10 leading Councils around Queensland in an exciting one-day regional challenge.

Western Downs Regional Council Chief Executive Officer Jodie Taylor said the award recognised the exceptional display of teamwork across all areas of the organisation during the recent bushfire and flood emergencies, led by Council’s disaster coordination team.

“I am just so very proud of the whole of Council response and recovery efforts during the catastrophic bushfires and floods that ravaged the region in 2023 and 2024,” Mrs Taylor said.

“From coordinating the on-the-ground disaster response to the tireless dedication of our field staff in the sweltering heat of the frontlines for the provision of water to those teams mobilising and manning evacuation centres and emergency communications – every single member of Council stepped up to support our community through these challenging times.

“Through it all, the care our teams showed for each other and our communities, was truly extraordinary.

“Council’s disaster coordination team is a highly dedicated group of professionals and Council staff, who demonstrate unwavering commitment and exceptional teamwork to keep our communities safe and connected in the face of some of the worst natural disasters our region has ever seen.

“During these times of adversity, Councils staff worked around the clock for weeks on end as a united and cohesive team, with the Local Disaster Management Group, to deliver appropriate and accurate emergency response efforts, communications, resources, and support to affected areas.

“Our disaster management team is made up of staff from multiple areas of Council, and the way in which our teams have mobilised to utilise resources, collaborate and communicate during the darkest times in our community proves the adage that the whole is greater than sum of its parts.

“At Western Downs Regional Council, we like to have a one-team approach, and this award reiterates how hard Council staff and teams work to deliver, support, and protect our communities.”

The 2023 bushfires on the Western Downs constituted one of the largest bushfire events in Queensland history. The total burn scar area was 13,102 hectares with 112 structures destroyed or severely damaged and 562 damage assessments completed.

“During the bushfires of October and November 2023, our disaster coordination team did a tremendous job mobilising and manning evacuation centres in Dalby, Tara and Chinchilla for displaced and at-risk residents,” Mrs Taylor said.

“In a mighty show of teamwork between Council staff and external stakeholders, Council was able to provide immediate short-term caravan accommodation for temporarily displaced residents and long-term emergency housing at the Tara Accommodation Recovery Park (TARP).”

“It’s great to see our teams’ dedication and hard work acknowledged among the best Local Governments in Queensland.”

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