Planning Institute appointment a boost for disaster recovery and planning

AUSTRALIA'S principal planning body, the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA), has begun a long-term program to better prepare remote area planners for natural disasters.

Former airport redevelopment manager, Megan Dugdale, has been appointed by PIA as Project Coordinator to set up and manage the initiative 'Supporting Post Disaster Planning in Flood Affected Areas'.

Megan Dugdale said her role as Project Coordinator will be to create protocols and provide the means for regional and remote area planners to better deal with natural disasters well into the future.

"My job will take twelve months, but in that time we will have a system that gives planners in the regions better access to valuable knowledge," Ms Dugdale said.

"Some of these regional planners work on their own and the new system will give them access to other planning professionals with prior disaster experience and the tools to function better in a post-disaster environment."

Engaged by PIA and made possible with funding from the Attorney General's Department through the National Emergency Management Program (NEMP), Megan Dugdale will work out of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.

"My work will be different to the many challenges facing the Reconstruction Authority planners. But certainly there is a synergistic relationship with the roles and we'll be able to communicate better working together," Ms Dugdale said.

Ms Dugdale said she intends to create a system and process that has an ongoing effect, with mentors and relationships to continue after her work has been completed.

PIA President Dyan Currie said the Institute was grateful for the funding it had received and pleased to be able to appoint Megan Dugdale to set up and manage the program.

"Megan has an architectural and redevelopment background and has a wealth of experience working in highly regulated environments," Ms Currie said.

"She has great organisational ability and expert negotiation skills working with contentious issues. Her redevelopment roles with hotel groups and Sydney Metropolitan Airports required plenty of community consultation.

"With this system in place professional knowledge developed through post disaster recovery experience will be easily accessed by planners in affected areas," Ms Currie said.

The project will include the establishment of web based links and resources on post disaster planning, educational seminars and volunteer support and outreach services facilitated by experienced post-disaster planners.

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