Minister’s Award recognises Aurecon Planner

Alexandra Gaynor

25 June 2013 - Alexandra Gaynor (nee Mackenroth), an Environmental Planner based in our Brisbane Delivery Centre has been awarded the Minister’s Town Planning Prize for Griffith University at the Planning Institute of Australia (PIA) 2013 Awards Launch.

The annual Minister's prize is awarded to graduating planning students from participating Queensland universities and recognises final year research projects/dissertations that best contributed towards the advancement of town planning practice.

Alexandra was the winner of this award for her outstanding thesis titled, ‘Planning for South East Queensland's Floodplain: an analysis of the Queensland planning system's approach to flood risk management and building community resilience of flood hazards’.

The aim of Alexandra’s research was to understand the role of the planning system in improving community resilience to flood hazards and implementing flood risk management practices through the hierarchy of institutional arrangements under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 (QLD) to produce acceptable planning outcomes for floodplain development.

Alexandra’s work found flood risk management and floodplain development was an underdeveloped field of knowledge within the Queensland planning system in 2011. The study found that employing a variety of international best practices would deliver improved planning outcomes for development within the South-East Queensland floodplain. Best practices included:

  • transboundary flood management
  • developing flood mapping tools
  • undertaking flood studies – that informed the planning system as to what the risk was, what is an acceptable level of development and (associated) tolerable levels of exposure

would deliver improved planning outcomes for development within the South-East Queensland floodplain.

Furthermore, capturing this information in planning instruments would improve the dissemination of flood risk information to potential land buyers, sellers and developers within the community. Flood awareness and preparedness, coupled with sharing the responsibility of implementing flood risk management strategies with the local community (where they are included in the formation of these strategies); would build community resilience to flood hazards.

“Given the widespread attention flood risk management has received in Queensland over the past few years, and the work of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority, Alexandra’s research was in line with issues that are at the forefront of Queensland Planning,” said Danielle Thomas, Senior Planner.

“Alexandra’s professionalism and commitment to the planning industry was further evidenced via the excellent acceptance speech that she gave at the Parliament House event. The PIA QLD President, fellow PIA members and industry attendees all voiced this view following the awards presentation. As a member of the planning group, I would also like to personally congratulate Alexandra on her award win,” added Danielle.

“Aurecon congratulates Alexandra on her award which recognises the importance of community resilience as one of the key outcomes of disaster planning. The research aligns with the business’ core values of excellence, innovation and collaboration and compliments the direction the business is taking in Queensland from project delivery in disaster recovery towards more of a focus on disaster planning and resilience building,” says Bruce Penman, Environment and Advisory Services Leader.

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