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Reducing the impact of network disruption

Business Continuity

The department enables and maintains department wide business continuity and disruptive event management programs.

An integral part of the Business Continuity Management Program is the Continuity and Disruption Management Policy, introduced in 2017, and is reviewed and updated annually. The Policy established the requirement to undertake business continuity and disruption management planning and activities using an all hazards approach.

The program continues to evolve, with annual Business Continuity Awareness Week activities and annual review of supporting documents following best practice guidelines. The Community of Practice provides support to department employees and delivers general awareness sessions throughout the year.

When COVID-19 was becoming a global issue, the department adapted and modified the existing business continuity exercises to focus on prolonged employee absences in excess of two weeks to six months. This revised exercise was undertaken by all business areas by March 2020 with all continuity process documents updated to reflect learnings from completing the exercise.

Another important business continuity component is the annual Pre-season Program. The program, established in 2010, supports the department in its capacity to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a disruptive event whilst continuing to deliver its essential functions. The program's delivery positions the department as a trusted advisor to the government during times of disaster or significant disruption. It supports the risk management framework and disruptive event management approach, enabling the department to undertake its functional role and responsibilities under the Queensland State Disaster Management Plan through participation at District Disaster Management Groups.

The 2019–20 program was structured to address the changing emergency management and transport security landscape, reflecting whole-of-government direction. An exercise focussing on a large disruptive event was undertaken, exercising districts' response to business continuity impacts.

Education and awareness sessions were also undertaken, providing district employees with information on relevant current issues such as:

  • statewide traffic operations supporting disruptive event preparation and response
  • bushfire management in road corridors
  • weather forecasts to inform wet season planning and preparation
  • lessons management.

The program is one of several used by the department to assist with disruptive event preparedness.

Queensland Disaster Management Arrangements

The Disaster Management Act (2003) forms the legislative basis for the Queensland Disaster Management Arrangements.

These arrangements recognise partnerships between government, non-government organisations, industry, and the community working collaboratively to ensure the effective co-ordination of planning, services information, and resources necessary for comprehensive disaster management. The department provides functional support in the area of transport systems and is the hazard specific lead agency for ship sourced pollution events.

As a member of the Queensland Disaster Management Committee, the Leadership Board Recovery Sub-Committee and chair of the Roads and Transport Functional Recovery Group, the Director-General leads the recovery and reconstruction support for disaster affected communities and provides strategic oversight for implementation and delivery of resilience initiatives.

The department’s continued membership of State Disaster Coordination Group enables it to contribute to protocols to improve planning for, and response to, disruptive events in Queensland. As a member of this group, the department plays an important role in the focusing of activities across response, recovery and resilience, to respond to new and emerging issues.

The department has engaged in consultation with key disaster management stakeholders and provided input into several key documents in 2019–20 including Inspector General of Emergency Management's (IGEM) Paradise Dam Preparedness Review, and the review of the Emergency Management Assurance Framework and Standard for Disaster Management.

The 2019–2020 severe weather season commenced early. Queensland experienced a sustained run of intense bushfire activity beginning in August 2019. Over following months, bushfires threatened townships across south eastern and northern Queensland with heightened fire weather conditions prompting a State of Fire Emergency declaration on 9 November 2019 across 42 Local Government Areas. District staff assisted the management of fire impacts and supported the state led response as the State Disaster Coordination Centre was activated from 7–24 September 2019 and 12–25 November 2019 respectively. The department continues to provide relevant input into key bushfire planning documents including those arising from the 2018 Queensland Bushfires Review.

Queensland Transport Security Program and Queensland Counter Terrorism Strategy 2013–19

Under the Council of Australian Governments’ (COAG) Intergovernmental Agreement on Surface Transport Security 2005, Transport Ministers are accountable for delivering transport security outcomes, which includes the threat of terrorism.

The department works in partnership with Queensland Police Service, the surface transport industry, and state and Australian governments’ partners to help prepare for, prevent, respond to, and recover from significant security incidents. Operating under the guidance of the National Surface Transport Security Strategy, Australia's Strategy for the Protection of Crowded Places from Terrorism, the National Counter-Terrorism Plan and the Queensland Counter-Terrorism Strategy, the Transport Security Program includes:

  • national and state surface transport counter-terrorism policy coordination
  • regulation of, and support to, Queensland’s Security-Identified Surface Transport Operations
  • facilitation of South East Queensland’s Transport Precinct Security Program
  • support to State Major Event Security Planning and police operations
  • facilitation of intelligence and information sharing events for transport operators
  • critical infrastructure protection.

National and state surface transport counter-terrorism policy coordination

The department leads the Queensland Government’s representation on the National Transport Security Committee. The committee serves to give effect to the requirements for national policy and program coordination to achieve transport security objectives outlined in COAG’s Intergovernmental Agreement on Surface Transport Security 2005.

It is also the functional lead for surface transport and transport infrastructure counter-terrorism arrangements under the Queensland Security and Counter-Terrorism Committee (QSCTC).

Regulation of Queensland’s Security-Identified Surface Transport Operations

Under COAG’s Intergovernmental Agreement on Surface Transport Security 2005, Transport Ministers have responsibility to ensure state legislation is sufficiently strong to achieve the counter-terrorism and security objectives outlined in the Agreement.

The Queensland Government achieves this through the administration of the Transport Security (Counter-Terrorism) Act 2008. Under this Act, the department identifies high security risk passenger transport operations called Security-Identified Surface Transport Operations (SISTO) and regulates security outcomes for these operations.

There are currently 10 declared SISTO in South East Queensland. All SISTO were compliant with the annual requirements in the legislation and have current counter-terrorism risk management plans. The department supported counter-terrorism compliance exercises during the year and provided professional guidance on terrorism and security risk management and auditing in response to industry requests for assistance.

Facilitation of South East Queensland’s Transport Precinct Security Program

Following the bombings on the London transport network in July 2005, COAG recommended all governments continue to support an integrated approach to managing the security of key transport precincts. National Guidelines for Transport Precinct Security were established under this recommendation in 2007. In 2017 the Australia-New Zealand Counter-Terrorism Committee released Australia's Strategy for Protecting Crowded Places from Terrorism which, as applicable to transport precincts, builds on these better practice precinct security guidelines.

In helping to strengthen security at Queensland's largest passenger transport precincts under these guidelines, the department facilitates a Transport Precinct Security Program, which provides security planning, response and coordination opportunities at eight major transport hubs in South East Queensland. During the year the department facilitated 17 precinct coordination meetings with support from the Queensland Police Service.

Support to State Major Event Security Planning and police operations

COAG’s Intergovernmental Agreement on Surface Transport Security 2005 includes the need to ensure response arrangements are in place for security incidents affecting the surface transport sector.

In support of major events, the department works with the Queensland Police Service, local governments and transport operators for security planning. This includes security risk advice and planning coordination.

Facilitation of intelligence and information sharing events for transport operators

Transport sector operators receive the latest intelligence on the threat of terrorism and are regularly engaged in security planning and exercising and have access to contemporary guidance on broader security risk management. During the year, the department facilitated transport security community of practice workshops for declared SISTO, and an ‘All-In’ Forum for SISTO precinct members and other sector stakeholders.

Critical Infrastructure Protection

During the year the department participated in Trusted Information Sharing Network workshops with state-based partners to develop shared understanding of cross sector dependencies to enhance resilience arrangements across Queensland.

The department assisted the Department of Natural Resources Mines and Energy Queensland with input into the Federal Department of the Environment and Energy National Liquid Fuel Security Review. It also participated in workshops to review and improve the Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design Guidelines for Queensland.

Protective Security arrangements

The department’s Internal (Protective) Security team has staff to help manage the investigation and response to security incidents affecting departmental staff, customers, facilities, and assets.

Security reviews and risk assessments were conducted at various locations during the year to ensure staff were safe, information and physical assets were protected, and facilities secured from trespass and other unlawful interference.

Natural Disaster Program

Reconnecting the community after natural disasters

In 2019–20, $86.77 million was spent repairing the state-controlled road network following natural disasters.

Works included:

  • repairing 331 earthworks and batter locations
  • repairing 24 structures (including bridges and culverts)
  • reconstructing 114.92 kilometres of road pavement
  • clearing 167 silt and debris locations.

Reconstruction and betterment works on the Flinders Highway in Queensland's north west were completed in December 2019, following the north and far north Queensland monsoon trough, which caused unprecedented flooding across northern and western Queensland in early 2019. This involved repairing almost 22 kilometres of the vital link for rural and remote communities and improving flood resilience.

Other sites included:

  • Alice River Bridge (Hervey Range Road) bridge repairs completed in early July 2019
  • Mount Spec Road (Paluma Range) landslip repairs at nine sites completed in late July 2019
  • Richmond-Winton Road pavement repairs completed in December 2019.

Severe bushfires swept through the Gold Coast hinterland in September 2019, destroying the historic Binna Burra Lodge and caused extensive slope damage along Binna Burra Road. Works to stabilise bushfire-damaged slopes on Binna Burra Road are underway, and reconstruction works are expected to continue until late 2020, weather and site conditions permitting.

Eligible reconstruction works are jointly funded by the Commonwealth and Queensland governments under the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements and Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

ICT Asset Disaster Recovery Plan

It is vital for the department to maintain resilient and highly available ICT systems to enable the provision of essential ICT services to the community and support frontline service delivery.

The ICT Resiliency Program undertakes ICT Disaster Recovery planning, scheduling, and testing activities annually to ensure its critical ICT system's Recovery Action Procedures are fit for purpose and conducted in alignment with the ICT system's defined Recovery Time Objective.

In 2019, the department undertook scheduled ICT asset disaster recovery exercises to test the resilience of the core network, platforms, and applications. These testing activities provided opportunities for resiliency improvement across elements of people, processes, and technology. Additionally, significant focus was on ensuring service providers’ ICT resilience and availability requirements are met.

Core switch replacement

In response to a ‘cloud first’ approach in the consumption of public cloud ICT capability, the department is undertaking a replacement of its core ICT data networking infrastructure. This activity is being completed by a mix of internal resources and key ICT partners to deliver capability for the future ICT needs of the department.

A significant portion of the department’s data traverses this ICT infrastructure so significant architectural, implementation, and deployment planning has taken place alongside ICT partners and vendors.

The benefits of the new ICT infrastructure include:

  • supporting the modernisation of service delivery such as the digital licence to the Queensland community
  • providing additional capacity for the transmission of large data sets allowing for a more efficient workforce and timely decision making
  • cloud native connectivity allowing for easy transition to cloud ICT consumption
  • highly scalable and resilient architecture.

The implementation of this new ICT infrastructure and is expected to be fully deployed and operational by the late 2020.