Queensland Floods 2010 – 11 

Rain began falling in Queensland in late November 2010 and by January 2011, extensive flooding had impacted three quarters of the State. The economic and commercial impact of the floods was huge with the Insurance Council of Australia estimating the damage at $2.38 billion. There was a further estimated $4 billion in losses across the mining, agriculture and tourism sectors.

With impacts being felt across the Queensland economy, those organisations with a Business Continuity plan fared better than those without.

Situation

When the floods hit, more than 3 500 businesses were quickly inundated, nineteen thousand kilometres of road damaged, and three major ports significantly affected. Nearly a third of the Queensland rail network was ruined.

Our client, a small manufacturing company had a simple Business Continuity Plan which was tested in 2009. A similar sized manufacturing company in the same industrial complex did not have a Business Continuity Plan. We conducted a debrief with our client when things were back to normal and noted the differences between the two.

When news came through that flooding would affect the industrial complex, both organisations took a range of steps to prepare their operations and were evacuated 12 hours before the expected height of the flood.

Both organisations lost mains power, landline phones and air conditioning and had flooding across their factory floors, offices and storerooms. In addition, both organisations suffered IT infrastructure damage as well as damage to their fire control panels.

Being prevented from entering the flooded buildings for 48 hours, the Dynamiq client immediately commenced recovery planning offsite while their neighbour waited 48 hours to assess the damage and a further eight hours to formulate their recovery plan.

With the benefit of quick action, the Dynamiq client was able to rapidly engage the required suppliers and tradespeople. Basic work activities recommenced within four business days and full operations were back to normal within two weeks.

Because the neighbour did not have a plan to follow, that 48 hours of inaction post-flood proved detrimental to their recovery effort. Once the damage was assessed and they tried to arrange tradespeople, they were joining an extremely long queue of people waiting for similar services. Basic work activities recommenced two weeks later. However full operations did not recommence for another two months, causing significant financial strain for the business.

Outcome

By having a tried-and-tested Business Continuity Plan, our client was able to be proactive when responding to the fallout from the flood. This minimised the length and consequence of the event and positioned them to grow their business at a time when many other businesses were still waiting to recommence operations.

Why you should have a BC plan

While adequate insurance coverage is imperative for disaster recovery, it’s not a business continuity strategy.

Business continuity planning helps you create a system of prevention and recovery tasks so you can continue operations before, during, and after disaster.

In addition, ASX Operating Rules require listed organisations to have adequate disaster recovery and business continuity arrangements in place. They must also test those arrangements annually.

Contact us to discuss your organisation.

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