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Weather portal tells Queenslanders to ‘harden up’

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Queensland has taken a typically individualist and colloquial approach to disaster risk management with the launch of a website called Harden Up Queensland.

The site, funded jointly by the state and federal governments, was built by Green Cross Australia and provides a comprehensive 150-year picture of extreme weather in Queensland.

Green Cross CEO Mara Bun says the site will provide “everyday Queenslanders” with knowledge about weather in their area and advise how to prepare their home and family for extreme weather events.

Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland says the ability of Queenslanders to protect themselves and each other during Cyclone Larry in 2007 was “testimony to the philosophy of ‘hardening-up’”.

“Natural disasters in Australia are inevitable, and the trend is that these disasters are becoming more frequent, more severe and more costly,” he said.

“So while recovery and reconstruction is obviously important, the Government is also focused on how we can better prepare for disasters and mitigate their impact when they occur – in other words, how we can make Australia more disaster-resilient.”

Last week the Federal Government announced an extra $1.1 billion in joint funding to finance reconstruction in Queensland, which last summer suffered major damage due to floods and Cyclone Yasi.

The funds include $18 million to protect the town of Grantham and shift houses to higher ground.

Insurers have committed more than $3.7 billion to pay insurance claims arising from the floods and Cyclone Yasi.