Good risk management, good luck and extreme weather combined to make Brisbane’s G20 summit one of the safest and most secure gatherings of global leaders.
That was the consensus among three speakers at a Risk Management Institution of Australasia presentation in Brisbane late last week that assessed risk management in the wake of the G20 summit.
Queensland Police Acting Inspector John Kilburn, from the Security & Counter Terrorism Group, said there were only 14 arrests during the G20. Good intelligence and long-term planning meant police were well aware of potential troublemakers and their locations during the event.
Despite no serious security threats occurring during the summit, the speakers agreed there was no room for complacency in assessing risks.
Acting Inspector Kilburn warned that terrorists required only intent and capability to fulfil their desires. “You don’t have to crash planes into buildings any more.” Intent and a weapon were sufficient and social media ensured the message was broadcast widely, which was what terrorists wanted.
He said the Federal Government was rightly concerned about people becoming “radicalised” via social media and returning to Australia after fighting in the Middle East. He warned: “The problem is here.”
He advised risk managers to seek feedback from “those in the trenches and at the coal face” in compiling risk registers for their organisations.
A key lesson for risk managers was to “validate and test your risk management plans”.
While traditional policing was about collecting evidence and prosecuting, counter terrorism was risk based and co-ordinated nationally. “Counter terrorism is the greatest team sport in policing,” Acting Inspector Kilburn said.
Fellow speaker Barry Peach, corporate risk and compliance manager with the Brisbane Airport Corporation (BAC), agreed. He detailed the special events zone – “an airfield within an airfield” – that was created outside the old international terminal building, which was being demolished before Brisbane was announced as host city for the G20.
World leaders arrived and departed through the special events zone, which had heightened security. Parking areas for 36 aircraft for world leaders – including seven for the Saudi Arabian leader – were inside the zone.
Mr Peach said: “Everything worked, because we had great people and we planned, trained and tested.”
James Keneally, business risk & assurance manager for Rio Tinto Alcan’s bauxite and alumina operations, said his organisation’s G20 risk management plan for its Brisbane CBD office was to plan for the worst.
While the G20 turned out to be “a non-event” for CBD businesses in terms of impacts from protests, Rio Tinto had conducted its own risk analysis and worked with the building owner to complete lock-down tests to ensure it could prevent people entering the building, if required.
Travel to the city was off limits for non-Brisbane employees unless it was considered business critical.
While the G20 required significant planning, Rio Tinto Alcan was focused on a broad range of business critical risks across its global supply chain.
Mr Keneally said: “I recommend risk managers consider the potential for internal and external events to disrupt supply chains and seek opportunities to understand if there are any readily identifiable triggers for escalation.”
Released by: Kate Tilley, RMIA Communications Consultant, ph (07) 38317500 or 0418 741606, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Release date: December 9, 2014