The Australian Tsunami Warning System (ATWS) project has been recognised for excellence in risk management systems. Geoscience Australia and its partner agencies in the ATWS Project, the Bureau of Meteorology (Bureau) and Emergency Management Australia (EMA), have been recognised with a Highly Commended award in the Risk Initiative category of the Comcover Awards.
The Comcover Awards for Excellence recognise exceptional and inspiring examples of risk management and demonstrate how essential risk management is to the success of Australian Government agencies.
In presenting the award Comcover noted that "there was clear evidence of how risk management was used to monitor implementation challenges and how staff from the operational to executive levels of each of the three agencies were engaged in the risk process."
As a direct result of the tsunami generated off the coast of Indonesia on 26 December 2004, the Australian Government saw a need for a warning capability to minimise the loss of life and economic impact to the Australian population and the region.
Under the Federal Budget of 2005, Geoscience Australia, the Bureau and EMA were consequently tasked with upgrading the Australian Tsunami Alert System to a fully operational, early warning system – the Australian Tsunami Warning System (ATWS) – by June 2009.
The experience each of the agencies have gained by managing a complex and high profile project such as this has assisted in developing high levels of risk management expertise in each of the agencies. The initiative has assisted the Government to meet its commitment to establish a tsunami warning system in Australia as well as to support the development of tsunami warnings for the international community.