Disaster Planning and Recovery

During a natural disaster, people interact with numerous organisations across community, business and government sectors. Some experiences will be positive, others negative, but they are all interconnected. As organisations, if we fail to understand how these experiences collectively impact people and communities, this can have many negative unintended consequences. It also means we can miss the opportunity of providing holistic support to people during these events and building their trust with us and their ongoing resilience.

Download: Disaster Planning and Recovery Collaborative Research Project - Phase 2 Report

Download: Accessible Screen Reader Version - Phase 2 Report

Download: Easy English Version - Phase 2 Report

Access: Phase 2 Research Interactive Systems Map

Disaster Planning and Recovery Collaborative Research Project

This project involves mapping the experiences people in the Townsville community who were negatively impacted by the 2019 North Queensland Monsoon disaster. By asking people directly, and mapping the journey from their perspective, the project seeks build an understanding of what organisations people interact with during severe weather events, and how they find this experience. The purpose of this project is to identify opportunities to provide tangible, actionable, cross-industry and cross-sector improvements to support people impacted.

Born from a need identified by Energy Queensland following the 2019 North Queensland Monsoon and soon embraced by Suncorp and the Queensland Chapter of Thriving Communities Partnership (TCP), this project recognises the complexity and interconnectivity of the ecosystem we live in and the need for organisations to work collectively, rather than individually, to support people in our community when they face challenging times.  

If we want to make sustainable positive change, we must recognise that we all share a co-responsibility for the present situation and that we need to come together to reflect, learn and test new responses. We need to work together with stakeholders, including community members directly impacted by the work we do, to develop transformational partnerships that move us away from doing business as usual.

The two project phases as determined by project partners and participants are:

  • Phase 1 - understand the experience of residential individuals and small business from their perspective
  • Phase 2 - understand the experience from first responder and frontline service provider perspective.

TCP partners and participants have worked collaboratively on Phase 1 of this project over 2019 and 2020, which culminated in Symplicit and the TCP project team visiting Townsville in February 2020 to undertake interviews with people and organisations in Townsville to learn about, and better understand, their experience. 

Thank you to Founding Partners Symplicit, Energy Queensland and Suncorp, and the other TCP members from the working group including Australian Red Cross, Queensland Council of Social Services, Good Shepherd Microfinance (now Good Shepherd Australia New Zealand), NAB, the Queensland Energy and Water Ombudsman and State Government representatives. 

We are also especially grateful to the courageous, generous and inspiring people of Townsville. The research participants were committed to sharing their experiences - no matter how difficult - in the hope they could help make a positive difference for others facing similar challenges in the future. They epitomise what “better together” means.  


We are extremely proud to announce that Phase 1 of The Disaster Planning and Recovery Collaborative Research Project has been awarded the Best in Class for Design Research at the 2021 Australian Good Design Awards. 

The Australian Good Design Awards boast an esteemed legacy as one of the longest-running international design awards, showcasing the best in design and innovation since 1958. The Design Research category is new for 2021, recognising excellence in design research by evaluating a project's purpose, execution, innovation, and impact.  

The announcement is a welcome celebration of the Disaster Project’s achievements and an exciting recognition of the unique collaboration and human-centered design within the research. 

To learn more, or get involved, please email Katrina Moore General Manager of Strategy and Programs at Thriving Communities Partnership.

Phase 2 - Disaster Planning and Recovery Research Project
Phase 2 - Industry Insights

The following research insights represent the major findings for the 12 different industries that we spoke to about their experience in the North Queensland Monsoon of 2019.

The findings are categorised by industry, but due to the large degree of interconnectedness in the ecosystem, many of the insights relate to other industry challenges or opportunities. The research recognises the need for more collaboration across the ecosystem, so each key finding highlights opportunities for leverage that could address challenges across the ecosystem.

Phase 1 - Disaster Planning and Recovery Research Project

Download Phase 1 Report

Journey Map

This map aims to provide a holistic visualisation of a small business' journey through the North Queensland Monsoon in February 2019. It brings to life the experiences, interactions and emotions, as experienced and shared by small business owners, that occurred before, during and after the event.

This map aims to provide a holistic visualisation of residents' journey through the North Queensland Monsoon in February 2019. It brings to life the experiences, interactions and emotions, as experienced and shared by small business owners, that occured before, during and after the event.

Opportunities Workshop Slide Deck

Slide deck to explore the insights learned from the people impacted by the 2019 Northern Queensland Monsoon Disaster.

Disaster Planning and Recovery Roundtable 2020 Report
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