Volume 25 Issue 4, 2010


Raelene Thompson

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By Raelene Thompson, Executive Director of the Australian Emergency Management Institute.


Raelene Thompson

This edition of AJEM introduces new research about disaster resilience in the context of climate change adaptation, football match security, tsunami, foot and mouth disease, bushfire/post-Black Saturday, remote sensing and business continuity. It also has ‘opinion pieces’ on bushfire and on coastal planning. What a range of topics the emergency management world covers, in this new national security focussed era.

The Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI) at Mt Macedon is proud to produce AJEM on behalf of the Attorney-General’s Department, as a contribution to the development of national capacity in the emergency management sector. AEMI is embarking on a new era of revitalisation as a national Centre of Excellence for the delivery of knowledge and skills development within the emergency management sector.

A two storey brick building with a grassed courtyard and Australian flag. In the foreground are two mature trees and the Australian Emergency Management Institute sign.

I am pleased to have been recently appointed as the Executive Director of AEMI, taking up my post from the beginning of September, 2010. Since then I have met many in the emergency management sector, including from the vast AEMI alumni, members of the National Emergency Management Committee and Community Engagement Subcommittee (that AEMI provides Secretariat for) and members of the Volunteer sector.

Let me introduce myself to you with some background information:

  • My previous appointment was head of the eHealth Group in the Department of Health and Ageing (DoHA). This role was responsible for the strategic direction and delivery of eHealth in Australia, working with all jurisdictions and across government.
  • My previous experience also includes responsibilities as State Manager for DoHA in Victoria, in the areas of rural health, indigenous health, aged care general practice and in the Office of Health Protection related to communicable diseases surveillance. In 2007-8 I was the State Manager of the Aged Care Standards and Accreditation Agency in Victoria.
  • I have over 25 years experience in the Commonwealth public service across a range of portfolios, including social security, employment and workplace relations, and heath and ageing.

I know that AEMI has been playing an important role in the national emergency management landscape for over five decades. AEMI deserves its time-honoured reputation as Australia’s premier emergency management education and knowledge facility.

Five men sit around a coffee table in a lounge room talking and drinking coffee.

The residential courses offer the opportunity to meet and network with other emergency management professionals.

15 men and women sit around a large conference table covered in papers. an overhead projection screen and some whiteboards are in the background.

Experts revise an Australian Emergency manual on recovery from disaster.

I know that the emergency sector is a key element of a just and secure society in Australia. I pay particular tribute to the emergency management volunteers, and to those in the multi-cultural and indigenous communities who also contribute so much to the nation.

Please feel free to contact me if you want to discuss the products and services based at AEMI, including courses and workshops, research activity and community awareness activities such as AJEM, the national ‘Emergency Management in Australia’ website, schools program and the national Library/resource centre.

A woman reading a book in her hands is standing between rows of tall bookshelves.

The AEMI library informs and supports the emergency management sector.

As AEMI continues its quest towards a Centre of Excellence, one of the important priorities that we are focussed on is the training needs analysis that we have recently conducted. Over the coming months, the analysis of the sector’s views about what education or training AEMI needs to provide, will inform the redevelopment and continuous improvement of our curriculum, ensuring an alignment of our courses and other activities with the needs of the sector.

A man is speaking from a lectern in front of a large projection screen to an audience in tiered seating.

Lectures in the Macedon Ranges Theatre.

A lush garden of mature trees, grassed areas and a large pond surrounded by tree ferns.

The institute is surrounded by extensive European style gardens.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank all those who participated in the TNA. We will provide more detail information about this in a future AJEM edition.