Hazard and risk

About 

The Queensland Government is delivering a suite of reforms to Queensland's disaster and emergency management system. 

For the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (QRA), the reforms mean expanded prevention, mitigation and preparedness responsibilities. QRA’s existing roles and functions in resilience and recovery will remain. From 1 July 2024, QRA will be responsible for:

  • state-level Hazard and Risk functions (including the state risk assessment tool) 
  • certain Community Engagement and Education projects and activities, and
  • certain Community Awareness Campaigns (including the expansion of QRA’s Get Ready Queensland brand in October 2023 to include the If It’s Flooded Forget It campaign).

On 1 July 2024 the state-level hazard and risk functions previously performed by the former Queensland Fire and Emergency Services (QFES) Hazard and Risk Unit transitioned to the QRA. 

From 1 July 2024, QRA responsibilities include leading state-level hazard and risk functions, comprising: 

  1. overall responsibility for Queensland’s disaster risk management approach, including the ongoing refinement and evolution of risk assessment tools/frameworks such as the Queensland Emergency Risk Management Framework (QERMF)
  2. coordinating and implementing policies related to potential disaster risk assessments across Queensland 
  3. maintaining disaster risk management reporting and assessment functions, such as the State Disaster Risk Report, State-level risk assessments (such as the State Earthquake Risk Assessment) 
  4. supporting state and local stakeholders to develop and implement disaster risk assessments, including improving and evolving hazard and risk information and accessibility over time 
  5. coordinating state-level relationships and collaborations for specific hazards or products, including with other state agencies like the Department of Energy and Climate, and with Geoscience Australia, the Australian Climate Service, and research organisations such as Natural Hazards Research Australia and universities.  

Current status and transition arrangements 

  • QRA has been working closely with the former QFES to ensure the transition is as seamless as possible. Detailed transition arrangements have been formulated to transfer key frameworks and products previously delivered by the former QFES Hazard and Risk Unit to the QRA, including: 
    • QERMF 
    • State Disaster Risk Report 
    • state level risk assessments, including the State Earthquake Risk Assessment, State Heatwave Risk Assessment, Severe Wind Hazard Assessment, and Tsunami Guide for Queensland 
    • various presently unreleased state-level hazard and risk investigations and products, including the proposed Queensland Risk Information Portal (QRIP). 
  •  QRA is in the process of communicating with Chairs of Local Disaster Management Groups (LDMGs) and CEOs of local councils to advise of the formal transfer of specific disaster management responsibilities to QRA and will provide contact details for any queries relating to the transitioning functions.
  • Throughout the reforms, disaster management agencies have committed to no degradation of service. QRA will continue to work with the new Queensland Fire Department (QFD) following the transition of the hazard and risk function, to ensure there is limited impact to disaster management stakeholders.
  • QRA has commenced the enhancement of its internal Hazard and Risk Management capability, combining their well-established Flood Risk Management and Geographic Information System (GIS) Teams, with further business and resource planning underway, to ensure an ability to mature and deliver this new state function. 
  • QRA will continue to work collaboratively across government to ensure state hazard and risk is well understood and informs community risk profiles, as well as mitigation initiatives for resilience building, particularly in the face of climate change. 
  • QRA will continue to work with relevant State agencies to provide support to key stakeholders and align Guidelines, training and support across the QDMA. 
  • QRA will continue to seek feedback from key disaster management stakeholders, in particular councils and disaster management groups on the effectiveness of the current risk management approach and methodology in Queensland, as the QRA’s delivery of this function evolves.

Forward directions 

Disaster risk management governance from local, to district to state to national is a foundation of disaster management arrangements in Queensland. This includes the development of scientifically informed disaster risk assessments and impact tools for disaster risk management for Queensland, to ensure there is shared understanding of risks, and that they are managed to reduce the impact of disasters on the community. 

Our understanding of disaster risk is deepening as we experience and analyse the impacts and consequences of each disaster season in Queensland. Our awareness of what constitutes risk and the information and tools needed to effectively manage these changing risks is also improving. 

This means that our approach to disaster risk management in Queensland also needs to evolve, so that we can ensure our information, intelligence and processes are up to date in supporting risk-based planning and decision making by all stakeholders. 

QRA is developing its capability to effectively respond to and support others in responding to this evolving disaster risk management space as envisaged by the recent disaster management reforms. This process of capability increase will take time, and more information will be provided as it is available.   

Media statements

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Is QRA setting up a new Hazard and Risk function?

Yes. 

QRA has commenced the enhancement of their internal Hazard and Risk Management capability, combining their well established Flood Risk Management and GIS Teams, with further business and resource planning underway, to ensure an ability to mature and deliver this new state function. 

What will the QRA Hazard and Risk function do?

Existing service delivery functions previously performed by the former QFES Hazard and Risk Unit will continue. 

QRA is also actively analysing how to evolve and mature Queensland's current risk management approach and methodology to ensure it is flexible, contemporary and accessible. This may involve a broadening of how risk management is currently approached within Queensland.

What is happening with the QERMF?

A revised version of the current QERMF (Version 2) was developed by the former QFES Hazard and Risk Unit following an independent review into the QERMF. Version 2 of the QERMF was not released due to the broader reforms to Queensland’s disaster and emergency management services.

The unreleased Version 2 of the QERMF is being updated by the former QFES Hazard and Risk Unit prior to transition based on recent stakeholder feedback. 

Following the transition of the state-level hazard and risk function to QRA, the QERMF will be further reviewed by QRA over time to align with a broader evolution of Queensland’s risk management approaches and practices to support contemporary and emerging risk management needs.

QRA will make a refined Version 2 available to select local governments who are interested in participating in a monitoring phase to evaluate the suitability and effectiveness of the revised version.

This monitoring phase will focus specifically on the QERMF as a tool for use in disaster management planning and practice only. 

QRA will work with councils during this transition and monitoring period to ensure continued support is available for councils who are presently completing risk assessments in accordance with Version 2 if required. 

As disaster risk can be influenced by activities outside the current Queensland disaster management arrangements, like population growth, capital investment, and social/demographic changes, other tools for strategic planning, organisational risk management and/or investment planning will be developed over time to support stakeholders to deliver these activities in a disaster risk-informed way.   

QRA will conduct appropriate stakeholder consultation prior to the proactive release of any additional, revised or updated risk management approach or tools.

 

What hazards will QRA focus on with this new function?

QRA’s hazard and risk focus will centre initially on the top ten hazards at the State level for Queensland identified by the 2023 State Disaster Risk Report, namely: 

  1. Flooding 
  2. Tropical cyclone
  3. Bushfire (noting responsibility for this hazard will remain with the new Queensland Fire Department) 
  4. Severe thunderstorm 
  5. Heatwave (noting Queensland Health is the lead agency for this hazard) 
  6. Pandemic 
  7. Biosecurity 
  8. Chemical, biological, and radiological 
  9. Earthquake 
  10. Tsunami   

Effort to advance hazard and risk knowledge and understanding of each of these hazards will occur in line with broader disaster management and recovery priorities as they may emerge over time. 

What other hazard and risk activities are planned to support local government and communities?

Detailed business and resource planning is presently underway, to ensure an ability to mature and deliver this new state function. More information will be made available once this planning for the new function has been finalised and resourced. 

If I have further questions, who can I contact?

Local governments and relevant state agencies are encouraged to contact their QRA Regional Liaison Officer (RLO) or Resilience and Recovery Officers (RRO) in the first instance for more information on the transition process. The RLO/RRO will also direct your query to the QRA Disaster Risk Management Team. 

More information and contact details for QRA’s RLOs and RROs can be found at www.qrq.qld.gov.au/RLO

Contact 

Any other questions or queries relating to State-level Hazard and Risk functions (such as queries related to the refinement of QERMF) should be directed to Hazard.Risk@qra.qld.gov.au