Communities, schools, organisations and businesses working to strengthen resilience were celebrated today as the winners of the Resilient Australia Awards were announced.
The awards is a national program to recognise and promote initiatives which strengthen community disaster resilience across the nation.
Now in its 18th year, the awards promote local projects that help make communities safer and better prepared for natural disasters, such as bushfires or floods.
Emergency Management Commissioner Craig Lapsley said the Resilient Australia Awards were a great way to remind and emphasise the need for communities to work together.
"It is great to see how our communities are using innovation to help them become better prepared for and recover from emergencies, such as bushfires and floods,” he said.
“The range of projects submitted to this year’s awards were a great representation of the work happening in local communities and on the ground to strengthen community disaster resilience,” Mr Lapsley said.
"The more resilient our communities are, the better equipped they become to minimise the impacts and consequences of all emergencies.”
The categories in the 2017 Victorian awards included community, business, government, schools and photography.
Victoria received a total of 33 applications across the categories and from a broad range community groups, businesses, agencies and organisations.
Scotsburn Community Recovery committee for their Strengthening Community after the Scotsburn Fires project
On Saturday 19 December 2015, the area around Scotsburn, Clarendon and Elaine was subject to a bushfire that commenced in Ballarat Shire and moved swiftly into Moorabool Shire. The resulting fire burnt 4,674 hectares of land and destroyed 12 homes and 75 outbuildings.
Since those fires, the community recovery committee has engaged with the community to tailor events and programs ensuring projects are planned by the community, for the community resulting in maximum participation. The community take full ownership of project delivery and implementation and have been integral to building community capacity to assist in the long term recovery of the fire affected communities.
Macclesfield Disaster Recovery Group project
The Macclesfield Disaster Recovery Group (MDRG) is a community based emergency planning group (CBEP) based in the rural hamlet of Macclesfield within the Shire of Yarra Ranges in Victoria. The Group’s core purpose is managing the primary and psycho-social needs of our community during the first 72 hours of a serious event.
Monbulk Fuel Management Working Group project
The Monbulk Fuel Management Working Group was established to trial, apply and implement a community based approach to developing cross tenure bushfire fuel management for the protection of towns and settlements.
Over 2 years, the Working Group tested, developed and applied draft fuel management guidelines, developing a tenure-blind bushfire fuel management plan for the township of Monbullk.
Grocon Constructors for the 2016 Victorian Bushfire Clean-Up
Following the devastating bushfires in December 2015 that impacted 178 properties across Victoria, Grocon completed the 2016 Victorian Bushfire Clean-up across Wye River and Separation Creek, Barnawartha and Scotsburn. The project included:
- Bushfire clean-up
- Infrastructure works
- And community liaison
Grocon completed this under a “cost recovery” basis – zero profit and zero margin - and worked in conjunction with the emergency management sector and the community to complete the clean-up works.
The National Australia Bank for the road a little less travelled project.
Looking for a volunteering opportunity, a team at NAB partnered with Sacred Heart Mission to assist them in developing an ongoing Business Continuity Plan. This plan was a requirement to meet new funding eligibility criteria. NAB business continuity experts were able to use their skills, providing end to end support and guidance to develop a process to work through the business continuity plan.
Melton and Wyndham City Councils for the Emergency Ready Communities project
This project is a true collaborative resilience project between Wyndham and Melton City Councils. It’s a project that recognises the fundamental role of social capital and social resources in building disaster resilient communities.
The aim of the ‘Emergency Ready Communities’ project was to strengthen partnerships among communities by fostering ongoing collaboration with and between community groups and Council, to embed a long-term emergency management engagement structure, and to work with the community on agreed tools to best instil a working knowledge of how leaders can plan, prepare, respond and recover from emergencies.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council for the preventing violence against women in emergencies project
The project aims to raise awareness, and reduce the incidence, of violence against women before, during and after significant emergencies.
By its nature a complex and confronting issue, there was little understanding or acknowledgement of the link between gender inequality and violence against women, and how that increases post-emergency.
Mansfield Shire Council for the Emergency Ready Mansfield Trivia Game project
The Emergency Ready Mansfield project involved the development and launch of a fun and engaging trivia game which builds individual and community resilience through peer learning to educate about emergency readiness and response.
The game poses emergency readiness, response and recovery questions across a range of risks including bush and house fire, flood, storm and heatwave and can be adapted for specific demographics, risks and localities.
Strathewen Primary School and Arthurs Creek Strathewen CFA for the Strathewen Education Partnership-Claymation project
Having experienced a significant disaster in 2009, many local families were still managing distress. In 2016, the school felt it was an appropriate time to introduce a bushfire safety program which focused on helping children love where they live once again.
The aim was to educate the students about fire behaviour and the risks of living in a high fire danger area and encourage them to think about ways of reducing and managing these risks.
Drawing on their learning from bushfire education, the students created a short animated film with a Fire Danger Rating (FDR) theme and a behind the scenes film showing the process of creating the animation, sharing the message of preparedness with both a local and wider audience.
Students are empowered with knowledge and have readily embraced their role as educators, sharing their information to assist others in making informed decisions and making choices that keep them safe.
Chanh Huynh for Nature Resilient, a photo captured at Mt Hotham showing nature resilient after the bushfires in the Victorian high country.