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Mobile Mapping for the Masses - Where for Art Thou, Romeo

This photo was taken by Aaron Cashion from a helicopter on the southern edge of Lake Rowallan looking SSW over the Mersey complex of Tasmanian bushfires in January 2016.

Mobile Mapping for the Masses - Where for Art Thou, Romeo Mobile Mapping for the Masses - Where for Art Thou, Romeo

Resilient Australia Awards Logo 2016

Resilient Australia Awards Logo 2016 Resilient Australia Awards Logo 2016

(Click through the gallery above to see the recipients or double click to see gallery)

Today, the Minister for Police and Emergency Management, the Hon. Rene Hidding MP, presented the Tasmanian 2016 Resilient Australia Awards.

Now in their 17th year, the Awards are a national program to recognise and promote initiatives which strengthen community disaster resilience. 

The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience recognises that disaster resilience is the collective responsibility of all sectors of society.  Australia’s climate and landscape makes natural disasters a fact of life but by working together, we can reduce their destructive impact. 

Disaster resilience is about making our communities safer, stronger and better prepared to manage natural disasters.  By celebrating innovation and best practice, the awards showcase work that is often unrecognised, inspiring others to think about how they can be more disaster resilient. 

The Awards are open to everyone: individuals; not for profit organisations; small and large businesses; local and state government; schools; education institutions; research bodies; and emergency service agencies.

The 2016 Tasmanian Resilient Australia Award recipients are:

  • 2016 Resilient Australia Community Award
  • Menzies Institute for Medical Research - University of Tasmania for:Protecting the health of Tasmanians using the AirRater network’

Adverse changes to air quality and the increasing prevalence of heatwaves have a major impact on public health, especially for vulnerable populations. Evidence shows those with asthma, hay fever, chronic airway obstruction (COPD or chronic bronchitis/emphysema) and heart disease are at high risk of diminishing health when unfavourable environmental conditions are present. These illnesses are common in Tasmania and consume significant health resources. Early detection of these conditions, and personalised adjustment to treatment plans, can lead to substantial health improvements for those affected. Equipping vulnerable individuals with real-time information is essential in building their capacity to prepare for such conditions.

The AirRater project provides a solution for vulnerable Tasmanians with provision of timely, personalised data through a smartphone app. The app delivers information on current air quality measures (including smoke, pollen and temperature), tracks individual symptoms and provides alerts when an individual's environmental triggers are forecast. The app provides vulnerable individuals with information required to improve self-management of their condition, potentially leading to reduced exposure and positive behaviour modification and adaptation measures.

The AirRater app was launched in October 2015, and currently has over 1000 users. Early evaluation reveals substantial engagement with the app, resulting in behaviour modifications based on information contained in the app. Significant public interest has been generated through traditional and social media, and the number of users continues to grow each week.

In order to collect the necessary environmental exposure information, the project has developed and expanded existing infrastructure across Tasmania to measure and track air quality. These tools and infrastructure are unique to Tasmania.

Funded by the Australian Government, the project is a collaboration between the Menzies Institute for Medical Research, Sense-T, University of Tasmania School of Biological Sciences and School of Medicine, Environment Protection Authority (EPA) Tasmania, CSIRO and Australian National University.

  • 2016 Resilient Australia Government Award 
  • Department of Police, Fire & Emergency Management and Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment for: ‘Common Operating Platform

The Common Operating Platform (COP) is a contemporary and secure, web-based, spatially enabled application for use by Tasmanian Government agencies with emergency management responsibilities, to facilitate collaborative planning, situational awareness and better decision-making.

It is a project that is leading change and coordinating effort not only at a Regional and State level, but also supports a National coordination context. It supports the States capability and capacity to manage emergencies in an all hazards approach through better coordination across emergency services including Police, Fire and Ambulance and local councils. The COP through its integration with Live Web services available to the community is empowering individuals and communities to take a greater responsibility in personal safety, determine risks and hazards to inform preparation and mitigation measures and building a greater level of resilience.

The COP assimilates data from disparate; authoritative data sources and makes this information available via the web, using desktop and mobile browsers. The COP uses framework data (e.g. cadastre, imagery, POI) available from the Land Information System (LIST); near ‘real time’ incident data (e.g. fire fronts from Tasmania Fire Service) and resource location data (e.g. vehicles, personnel); and critical infrastructure, hazard, risk and modelling data.

The use of data sharing through a catalogue of over 1000 layers of information and relying on a single source of truth responsible for the management and provision of that data, has significantly improved the sharing of data used for risk reduction and mitigation.

The assimilation of this information enables decision makers to quickly and efficiently determine priorities, identify solutions and solve problems. This includes prevention, preparedness, response and recovery activities.

The COP has been used successfully to manage major emergency events such as the 2016 bushfires and recent major floods.

  • 2016 Resilient Australia People’s Choice Photography Award 
  • Aaron Cashion (Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment) for:Mobile Mapping for the Masses – Where for art thou Romeo’

This photograph shows the use of a geospatial PDF file within a mobile application on a tablet device. The geospatial PDF map includes the fire boundary for the Lake Bill bushfire (thick black line) and the small blue dot in the middle of the screen indicates the current helicopter location. As the user moves around the fire-ground their location depicted by the small blue dot is dynamically updated. The user can capture points and areas of interest, including photographs, and overlay these on the map. This was possible through the development of the COP Geospatial PDF Module.

The photo was taken from a helicopter on the southern edge of Lake Rowallan looking SSW over the Mersey complex of Tasmanian bushfires in January 2016.


There were also a number of projects that were commended or highly commended:

  • Highly commended – 2016 Resilient Australia Government Award
  • Tasmania Fire Service for: ‘Tasmanian Exercise Framework – Managing Exercises Handbook’

The Tasmanian Exercise Framework project aimed to produce an Exercise management framework with the flexibility, adaptability and scalability to guide all Tasmanian Government agencies (state and local) to successfully conduct exercises. It aimed to satisfy the requirements of large multi-agency, multi-jurisdictional exercises conducted under the auspices of the Australia New Zealand Counter-terrorism Committee capability development program, as well as small agency-specific exercises for an identified need. It also aimed to provide a framework that enabled users with little or no previous experience to confidently conceptualise, plan, conduct and evaluate exercises.

The project team was led by Tasmania Fire Service and overseen by an interagency steering committee comprised of emergency services personnel and representatives from Tasmanian Government agencies. The project team included a professional writer and graphic designer to ensure the quality of the final output.

The outcome of the project is the Managing Exercises Handbook (available in hard-copy and digital formats) that presents a logical, scalable, step-by-step approach to exercise management. The conceptual framework is based on best practice Australian exercise management principles and highlights the phases of exercise management. Each phase is described in a separate chapter that contains instructional text supported by diagrams and examples. An easy-to-read second-person narrative style brings readers closer to the subject matter, and the colour-coded design and use of icons lead users through the exercise management process step by step. The Handbook enables users to choose the information most relevant to their exercise scale and type. It encourages a project management approach to exercise management where appropriate. A preliminary chapter outlines the governance structure associated with the Tasmanian exercising landscape and provides context for exercises within the Tasmanian Government. Templates and samples in the digital version of the Handbook help users follow the process and ensure a consistent approach.

  • Highly Commended – 2016 Resilient Australia Community Award
  • University of Tasmania, Antarctic Climate & Ecosystems CRC and RMIT University for: ‘2016 Tasmanian State Natural Disaster Risk Assessment’

The aim of the 2016 Tasmania State National Disaster Risk Assessment (TSNDRA) project was to identify Tasmania’s high priority natural hazards, assess the risk of those hazards using a consistent and qualitative methodology, identify gaps in knowledge or capacity to implement prevention, preparedness, response and recovery (PPRR), and propose a set of treatment options for the emergency management sector to consider to increase resilience.

Although the project considered impacts at a local level, its main focus was how large-scale natural disasters would impact on the capacity of Tasmania to respond at a statewide level.

The project was led by the University of Tasmania, in collaboration with the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre and RMIT University. Through a series of risk assessment workshops, it directly engaged with a wide range of stakeholders including the Tasmania State Emergency Service (SES), Tasmania Fire Service (TFS), Tasmania Police, Ambulance Tasmania (AT), various Tasmania government departments (including DPAC, DHHS, DPIPWE, Treasury, Mineral Resources, and Parks and Wildlife Service), Hydro Tasmania, TasNetworks, Bureau of Meteorology, Red Cross, Surf Life Saving Tasmania, Engineers Australia, and Aged and Community Care Tasmania.

The project successfully delivered a state-wide risk assessment aimed at a wide range of stakeholders and decision makers from across the State, including a full report that investigated the impact of each natural hazard across all sectors of the community, and a summary report that compared the risk profile of each sector from all natural hazards (report attached with this application).

Although the reports are aimed at strategic decision makers, resources were also developed for the general community to encourage a sharing of the risk, including the production of fact sheets for each natural hazard, which are designed to be used by any member of the community to build awareness and prioritise their PPRR activities.

  • Highly Commended – 2016 Resilient Australia Government Award
  • Ambulance Tasmania for: ‘Early Access to Defibrillation Program’

The Early Access to Defibrillation Program is an initiative of Ambulance Tasmania. The purpose of the program is to decrease time to defibrillation and ultimately increase the likelihood of survival for pre-hospital cardiac arrest victims in Tasmania. The program aims to register as many community-owned Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) as possible.

The AEDs are recorded in a database with the registered owners contact details, which is available as a resource for Ambulance Tasmania’s communications staff. When someone calls ‘000’ for a suspected cardiac arrest the communications operator can search the database for any registered AEDs that maybe closer than the nearest ambulance resource. If the owner of an AED is in the vicinity (and available) they can take their AED to the patient and potentially help save a life. Similarly, a member of the public at the scene of a suspected cardiac arrest can be directed to the location of the nearest AED by communications staff after calling ‘000’.

The Early Access to Defibrillation Program is managed from Hobart, but is applied state-wide from the Ambulance Tasmania State Operations Centre. The program has been developed with the support of the Tasmanian Fire Service (TFS), Police and State Emergency Service (SES), who can respond within a larger radius than the community based AEDs.

The program has been hugely successful so far and has had a large amount of community support, with over 630 AEDs registered to date. From the initial activation of the program in June 2014, there have been 26 incidents where the program has been utilised. From those incidents there has been an amazing 38% success rate of regaining cardiac output in these patients whose hearts had stopped. This is in comparison to a global average of 8% of patients surviving a cardiac arrest.

  • Commended  - 2016 Resilient Australia Community Award
  • Neighbourhood Emergency Alert Phone Tree Networks for: ‘Huon Valley Phone Tree Network’

A phone tree network is a succession of phone calls made from one resident to another along participating neighbourhood streets during time of impending danger - man made or natural.

The program has been implemented by neighbourhoods from seven townships, over 250 participants who have a common concern for safety of self, family, property, animals and businesses in time of threat. 

The tasks and responsibilities involved give residents the opportunity to take on leadership and support roles during the set up and ongoing delivery of network program. Neighbourhood talks and small group training sessions have brought clusters of residents from neighbouring homes together and started conversations about concerns, issues and possible solutions they can identify and resolve together. Other conversations and gatherings naturally followed at BBQs and morning teas, for example, on where is a safe place to go, who in the neighbourhood is vulnerable due to illness, age or has animals, working bees to address natural hazards or identifying hazards on properties, linking with emergency service programs.

Neighbourhoods have their phone tree rehearsal annually, groups with in a neighbourhood meet together annual to ensure new residents are linked in and updated tools are distributed to each participant, neighbourhoods are linked with emergency service groups representatives for potential recruitment, and underlying ethos of preparedness being a shared responsibility.

The Federal Attorney-General’s Department is proud to sponsor these awards in conjunction with the States and Territories.