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Enhancing leadership capabilities for Australia’s biosecurity champions

During the week of July 17th, 33 members of Australia’s National Biosecurity Response Team convened in Brisbane with a primary focus on leadership and crisis management in biosecurity. The workshop was facilitated by the Decisive Crisis Management team and expertly led by biosecurity consultant Dr Ron Glanville, former Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer & Chief Biosecurity Officer.

Queensland’s Chief Biosecurity Officer Rachel Chay delivered the opening address highlighting the importance of the NBRT program and the cross-jurisdictional support it can provide. Recognizing the significant value of networking, two social events served as an opportunity to not only maintain existing cross-jurisdictional relationships but also to build new connections, ultimately nurturing collaboration and cooperation.

A notable highlight was dinner guest speaker Mike House, a prominent survival instructor in Australia, presented to members, drawing from years of experience in observing and guiding people through challenging situations of extreme deprivation and duress. He conducted practical exercises that delved into the impact of decision-making, bias, and leadership choices in high-stress scenarios. Attendees gained valuable lessons on handling pressure and making critical decisions when faced with demanding circumstances.

On the final morning, a panel discussion was organised, providing an excellent opportunity for members to reinforce their learnings and glean valuable insights from experts in the Emergency Management and Biosecurity sectors.

The panel included Malcolm Letts, former Queensland Deputy Director-General, Allison Crook, Queensland Chief Veterinary Officer and Stephen Young, Emergency Management Consultant. Each panellist shared their valuable insights and experiences, shedding light on the challenges they faced in their respective leadership roles in the Biosecurity and Incident Management sectors.

The workshop proved to be a valuable experience for NBRT members, offering a multitude of benefits. It provided an excellent platform for networking, allowing members to connect with peers and other influential figures in the biosecurity arena. Furthermore, the workshop’s focus on leadership and crisis management skills was particularly beneficial. Participants had the chance to enhance their leadership abilities and grasp essential techniques for effectively managing crises. The knowledge gained from the workshop will undoubtedly contribute to the members’ capabilities in handling challenging situations and fortifying their contributions to the field of biosecurity.