Queensland recently faced four major natural disasters in four months. This has been the greatest natural disaster impact to Queensland in over 10 years. These disasters included the Southern Queensland bushfires, Tropical Cyclone Jasper in North and Far North Queensland, South East Queensland severe storms and Tropical Cyclone Kirrily in North and North West Queensland.

Neighbourhood Centres have been at the forefront of disaster recovery for all four recent disasters and the longer-term recovery of previous disasters such as the 2022 floods. Over the past few years, Queensland Government and other stakeholders in the state disaster management arrangements have increasingly recognised Neighbourhood Centres for the important roles they play in supporting disaster-affected communities. This has included increased Neighbourhood Centres providing official roles as Recovery Hubs and increased government funding allocations to support Neighbourhood Centres provide these services. This recognition and funding has been appreciated and welcomed.

Collective work in the Neighbourhood Centre sector will continue to address challenges identified in the Queensland Neighbourhood Centres Strategy for Disaster Resilience. Some of these challenges include the need for long-term staffing and adequate capacity to meet the growing demands for community support for disaster recovery and resilience. One example is of these increased needs, evident through bushfires, where Neighbourhood Centres have been supporting increased numbers of people facing homelessness and seeing an increased new set of pressures on Neighbourhood Centres, as a result of concurrent, compounding and cascading disaster impacts.

Here is a snapshot of the role Neighbourhood Centres have been playing in disaster recovery:

  • 11 Neighbourhood Centres in flood affected Local Government Areas have been engaged to deliver Service Navigator roles to respond to Queenslanders affected by these flood events in 2023.
  • 3 Centres are currently providing specialised disaster support in response to bushfires in the Western Downs.
  • 5 Centres on the Gold Coast and Scenic Rim are providing disaster support in response to severe thunderstorms
  • More than 5 Centres in Far North Qld are responding to the effects of Cyclone Jasper.
  • Neighbourhood Centres Queensland’s membership and communication on the State Human and Social Functional Recovery Group.

For information of support available to communities affected by the recent disasters, visit https://www.qld.gov.au/community/disasters-emergencies.

Written by: Natasha Odgers
Published: February 2024