The Fitzroy River on the rise during the December 2010 floods.
The Fitzroy River on the rise during the December 2010 floods. Chris Ison

'Measure twice, cut once' is way to approach disasters

DISASTERS inevitably will hit Queensland communities and a disaster expert believes all we can do is be ready for them.

QUT Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management deputy director Dr Paul Barnes said the Federal Government had approached disasters differently since the 2010-11 floods.

"There's going to be a move away from just response and recovery, which will of course remain important, and more emphasis on mitigation. What can we do to prevent the damage," he said.

"It is of course impossible to stop a flood or a cyclone, but what we can do is work out how we can mitigate future disasters.

"The logic there is hard to dispute - measure twice, cut once."

Dr Barnes said local governments in regional Queensland had a vital role in coordinating with government and local communities how to prepare local areas for inevitable disasters.

He said communities had to be prepared because disasters were predicted to become more frequent.

"The most resilient communities are those that are ready," he said.

Dr Barnes last night held a conference asking "Are we prepared for catastrophic disasters?".

"We're prepared to not be surprised," he said.

"But disasters can happen suddenly. A flooding event will spread across areas quickly.

"We're as ready as we can be. But how safe is safe enough?"

The seminar was held in the lead up to summer storm and cyclone season, with Queensland having already experienced bushfires in recent weeks.