Awards celebrate Queenslanders’ resilience to disasters

Inspiring projects building the resilience of Queensland communities to natural disasters were celebrated at the 2021 Get Ready Queensland Resilient Australia Awards held in Brisbane tonight.

There were 56 entrants across the six categories – a record number of submissions and the most of any state in Australia for 2021.

Many of the entries this year focused on responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and also preparing the most vulnerable members of our community and I was humbled by the efforts that individuals and organisations have put into caring for our community through difficult times.

The quality of this year’s entries is highlighted by the announcement of joint winners in three of the six categories and nine highly commended projects across the awards.

Among the winning projects was Wujal Wujal Aboriginal Shire Council’s Elders and Vulnerable Person’s initiative in the Local Government category.

The project involved translating disaster awareness resources into the Kuku Yalanji language, creating and delivering emergency kits to the vulnerable before the wet season, and relocating dialysis patients to Cooktown when a disaster threatens.

The joint winner in the Local Government category was Mackay Regional Council for its work improving the safety and wellbeing of people with disability during disasters by training 100 disability service providers and distributing 4,000 workbooks to help people with disability create tailored emergency plans.

In the Community category, the Townsville Community Rebuild Project was a joint winner for its work bringing together 14 organisations to help 47 vulnerable households with psychological support and home repairs after the 2019 North and Far North Queensland Monsoon Trough. 

The Australian Red Cross was the second community winner for its development of multilingual disaster preparedness resources, advocacy and research to help culturally and linguistically diverse Queenslanders prepare for, cope with and recover from disasters.

The three joint winners in the Schools Category included Longreach State High with its Central West Wellbeing Day; Pimlico State High with its iCare response to supporting student wellbeing during online learning and innovative ‘show must go on’ response; and Roma’s St John’s School for its heart-warming discussion around mental health as students, families and the wider community grapple with the long-term impacts of drought and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services received the Government Award for creating the Happy Valley Community Bushfire Risk Management Project in partnership with community members on Fraser Island.

One of the most exciting winners was Queensland start-up FloodMapp, which picked up the Business Award for developing real-time flood modelling software to help forecast peak river heights and inundation.

Meanwhile, fire captured the public’s imagination with Ben Brackin’s image of a volunteer firefighter battling a grass fire between Gladstone and Yarwun winning the popular vote for Best Photograph.

The Queensland Chapter of the Resilient Australia Awards is delivered by Get Ready Queensland, the Queensland Government’s all hazards disaster awareness program, in partnership with the Australian Institute of Disaster Resilience.

Selected projects will progress to the National Resilient Australia Award ceremony in late 2021.

The full list of Queensland winners and highly commended entrants is available at