How far would you expect a disaster recovery plan to extend into the aftermath of a disaster? Days? Weeks? Months? Years…? The Queensland Natural Disasters Jobs and Skills Package from the state of the same name in Australia shows how government perspectives on a situation can be different to individual enterprises, especially in terms of the timeframes involved. It is often said that where commercial companies plan ahead in terms of years, governments do it in terms of decades. The large number of people often involved in regional or even national populations explains the need to allow for significantly longer periods in which to effect a change or resolve a problem.
Queensland was hit by flood and cyclone disasters, which led to the $83 million Jobs and Skills package being put together in 2011 to help communities, industry and businesses to get back on their feet. The goals are to reduce possible losses of skills and jobs, by supporting local communities in their retention of skilled workers, and to also help meet needs for additional skilled resources. Among the forward looking provisions of this disaster recovery plan is one to maintain the numbers of trainees in critical business sectors to make sure that companies will have access to skilled labour when local economies recover.
The package makes a logical complement to the disaster recovery plan of any individual organisation in the affected area, and other shorter term considerations such as ensuring that IT systems can be kept functioning or restored to an operational state. It is also in addition to other government help for example for rural reconstruction with assistance in farm and waterway clean-ups. When the DR plans at these different levels work properly, organisations can be assured of both immediate survival and sustainability over the longer term.