2022 winners announced at Resilient Australia Awards ceremony in Hobart

The awards recognise initiatives by schools, communities, local and state government and business across Australia.

The winners of the prestigious Resilient Australia Awards were announced at a ceremony in Hobart today, recognising some of the best Australian initiatives that inspire community connections and foster community resilience to disasters and emergencies. Finalists were selected from schools, communities, local and state governments, and businesses that showcase innovation, exemplary practices, and images that capture resilience in action.

Winners included projects and initiatives to equip frontline workers with tools to support their communities in the future following the Black Summer Bushfires, in-language films to assist communities in the Northern Territory, and a community-led group that was brought together to support the greater public during COVID outbreaks.

Dr Margaret Moreton, Executive Director AIDR, the National Institute for disaster risk reduction and resilience, said, "The quality of this year's entries across all categories was outstanding. We've seen communities and government representatives rally together to support each other throughout times of uncertainly and change. Since the introduction of the National Mental Health and Wellbeing Award in 2021, it is also evident that this is still a key area of focus in building resilience amongst Australians.

“The positive outcomes from greater resilience mean that individuals and communities can endure challenges with greater mental and physical ease and are able to bounce back faster, with a sense of optimism and hope. These are outcomes we all aspire towards and these winners should each be so proud of how they have contributed in creating them for the benefit of others.

“AIDR congratulates all entrants, finalists and winners from schools, communities, local governments, and businesses across the country. Creating projects that motivate others to work together to build resilience in their communities demonstrates that we can build a safer and more resilient Australia.The winner of the Resilient Australia National Mental Health and Wellbeing Award was Phoenix Australia's Victorian Bushfire Recovery Project, which has helped equip more than 1800 frontline workers, health professionals and community leaders to better support their community members' recovery from the Black Summer bushfires, promote their resilience, as well as support the wellbeing of their teams and organisations.

The Suncorp Resilient Australia National Community Award was awarded to VCOSS ECCV Multicultural Resilience Program, based in Melbourne. The program brought together multicultural communities and emergency management leaders to learn from one another, helped strengthen community resilience, and reduced the disruptive impacts of COVID-19 in multicultural communities. It also increased mutual understanding and trust between multicultural communities and emergency management organisations. It is working toward greater cultural safety for all who work in and with emergency management organisations.

Tropical North Learning Academy Smithfield State High School, Cairns, won the National School Award for their initiative, Cairns in Your Hands, which aimed to empower the youth of Cairns through geographical inquiry and 21st-century thinking skills, to develop a coastal hazards adaptation plan to ensure the future of their city.

The National Resilient Australia Award was awarded to two finalists who excelled in their initiatives. The Multi-Agency Community Resilience Films Project was developed by the Northern Territory Emergency Service (NTES) and funded through the National Disaster Resilience Program. The project developed films in language for remote NT communities at high risk of natural disasters to empowering themselves to build community resilience. The films aimed to educate aboriginal people on several topics important to the community, including health, first aid and the imminent dangers of cyclones, floods and bushfires.

The second award was presented to Community-Based Bushfire Management (CBBM), a bushfire risk-reduction community engagement project within the Victorian Government's Safer Together program. Unlike traditional community engagement projects, CBBM takes a place-based, community development approach to work with the community over long periods, creating more meaningful conversations and mutually acceptable approaches to risk reduction.

There were two winners in the National Local Government Award category. The first was by AdaptWest - on behalf of the cities of West Torrens, Charles Sturt and Port Adelaide Enfield, for AdaptNow! - Changing for Climate Change. The partnership sought to understand how diverse communities would respond in a crisis. They developed resources with community representatives, key agencies, and businesses. They documented this process with a local filmmaker through interviews and storytelling to highlight messages of hope, connection and capacity building.

The second award was presented to Community-led Disaster Response by Bellingen Shire Council. As a regional community with limited services, Bellingen Shire Council knew they'd have to advocate and coordinate to support their community through the Covid-19 pandemic. Council brought together a local and vocal group of community and services for a response, focussing efforts on clinical support, community preparedness and resilience, information and business support.

Rose-Anne Emmerton from Tasmania won the Resilient Australia National Photography Award for her Cracked but never broken image. The image depicts a volunteer who has recently attended a fatality, answering their pager for another call.

View the full list of winners and finalists here.