AFTER steering the Cape through COVID-19, floods and bushfires, Narelle Dukes has been awarded a gong for her achievements.
Cook Shire Council’s disaster management officer was presented with the award for Excellence in Disaster Management in Cairns at the Indigenous Local Government Disaster Resilience Forum.
It was delivered to her by the Inspector-General of Disaster Management, Alistair Dawson.
Mr Dawson praised Ms Dukes for her passion in the role and for keeping her communities safe.
“We need more people on the ground like Narelle,” he told the room of around 100 people.
Cook Shire mayor Peter Scott was in attendance and said it was worthy recognition of the council staffer, who went above and beyond her duties.
“I don’t know how we got on without her. She’s a terrific asset to the shire,” he said.
“The role was created as a result of COVID but she has added a lot of substance to the role.
“What makes her so valuable is her knowledge of the Cape and the people on the ground.
“She can tell us that because there has been rain in one particular area, which people it will impact downstream.”
Ms Dukes praised her council colleagues, community members and service providers who she worked with on a regular basis.
“We’re really lucky that there is a collegiate-type feel in the Cape and that we are well supported by those external agencies,” she said.
“I think we handled COVID really well but a lot of the credit must go to the community because they stood up to help.”
The Indigenous Local Government Disaster Resilience Forum in Cairns, organised by the Cape and Torres Indigenous Councils Alliance, was well attended and drew praise for its diversity of speakers and knowledge-sharing.