Australia — HALF of the positions created as part of the State Government’s response to January’s devastating bushfires are roles related to public relations and communications.
Of the 16 positions created for the State Bushfire Recovery Unit, four are for media inquiry response, creating newsletters, co-ordinating media events and updating social media. An additional four are focused on community engagement including ensuring “communication efforts are meeting the needs of the community”.
State Government spokesman Michael Stedman said all the new roles for the State Bushfire Recovery Unit would cost $713,000.
The State Bushfire Recovery Co-ordination will have a wages cost of $458,000 while the wages for community engagement and local support will cost $255,000 this financial year.
A new web and social media online co-ordinator, attracting a pro rata salary of $76,000 for six months, disseminates information via Twitter, and through other organisations’ Facebook pages, to keep the community informed.
The website averages 3000 hits a week, and about 20 tweets are sent out weekly to 500 followers, with many re-tweeting the information.
The Online Co-ordinator also monitors other social media sites to ensure information in the public arena is accurate and responds where appropriate, to prevent the spread of misinformation.
A new website will be established to support the recovery of January’s bushfires and any in the future.
A new media liaison job, attracting a pro rata salary of $109,000 for five months, handles media inquiries relating to the bushfires, the Red Cross Appeal Distribution Committee and the Hazel Bros clean-up and identifies and co-ordinates media opportunities and events to keep the community informed about what assistance is available.
A government breakdown of the new and seconded roles shows there are 14.7 new full-time equivalent positions employed within the Bushfire Recovery Unit, including 8.7 new FTEs employed to state bushfire recovery co-ordination and six new FTEs employed in local community engagement and support.