Toowoomba To Host Major Disaster Recovery Seminar Saturday, 10th September

Speakers from as far away as Kinglake in Victoria will address a major seminar on community disaster recovery in Toowoomba this Saturday. Hosted by Global Care’s Western Region Manager Pastor Jonathan Oastler, the seminar will cover a wide range of issues including the effects of a natural disaster on a local community, how local businesses such as tourism can recover, and the effective use of existing community structures in the recovery process.

Toowoomba Global Care has played a pivotal role in the recovery process in the Lockyer Valley region, with the coordination of flood recovery being handed over to Global Care by the Lockyer Regional Council.

Ps Oastler, who is also Senior Pastor of Citilife Church in Toowoomba, said he was very pleased with the way Global Care had worked closely with community organisations to bring vitally needed long-term recovery operations to the flood ravaged areas of Queensland.  “Global Care, the disaster relief arm of Christian Outreach Centre, is always among the first agencies to respond to a natural disaster, be it a flood, cyclone, bushfire, hailstorm or tsunami. But Global Care’s main job is to act as a second stage recovery provider, remaining in a disaster area long after the early response agencies have left”  he said.

“We were in the Kinglake bushfire area in Victoria for more than two years, and we expect to be in the Queensland flood areas for at least that long. Global Care is ‘mates helping mates’, and we are very aware that even when the emergency is over, the disaster remains for long periods for many people.

“Global Care has been honoured by the Victorian Premiers Department and Victorian Police, while in Queensland Premier Anna Bligh has presented Global Care volunteers with Disaster Relief Hero medals.

Speakers at the Seminar, to be held at the Citilife Life College facility at the corner of Hume and Spring Streets, will include:

· Brad Quilliam, President of the Kinglake Ranges Business Network, who has worked with business and industry sectors in the bushfire disaster areas to not just recover from the disaster, but to prosper and develop new areas of commercial and business activity;

· Anne Leadbeater, Manager of Community Engagement with the Office of Emergency Services in Victoria, who worked on behalf of councils and community groups after the bushfires to coordinate initial recovery, and developed the long-term recovery model for Kinglake, which was used as a case study in the Final Report of the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission;

· Russell Wright, Global Care National Coordinator, who has coordinated all aspects of natural disaster recovery programs in Australia, Asia and the Pacific Islands since 1996, including the Kinglake bushfires, Tsunamis in PNG and Sri Lanka, Cyclones Larry and Yasi, the Sydney hailstorm of 1999 and the Queensland and Victorian floods;

· Glenda Hare, Global Care Operations Manager, who based herself for two years in the Kinglake bushfire disaster area, managing teams of volunteers, coordinating community and business input, and overseeing a wide range of activities on behalf of local councils and the State and Federal Government; her activities included the $1.8M Sony youth music recovery project with the Salvation Army, resulting in hundreds of young people writing music, with more than 80 songs written, more than 50 of them being recorded and filmed.

Russell Wright says Toowoomba has played a key role in the Western Region flood recovery, and he was looking to a very good attendance at Saturday’s seminar.

The seminar will be held at Citilife Life College, cnr Hume and Spring Street, and will include a breakfast at 8am, followed by the seminar, lunch and a Q&A session with guest panellists ending at 2.30 pm. The event is free, and anyone interested in attending is asked to respond to Gaby Campbell [email protected] or phone Russell Wright on 0430 347 355.

Submitted by: John Gagliardi

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