2018 Resilient Australia Awards: national finalists announced

Nine finalists have been selected to attend the 2018 Resilient Australia Awards National Ceremony in Brisbane in November.

Australian communities are facing more frequent, severe disasters. In the face of fires, floods, cyclones and other natural hazards, it’s crucial that communities build resilience to better withstand their impact.

The annual Resilient Australia Awards recognise and celebrate initiatives developed by governments, businesses, community groups and schools that make Australian communities safer and more resilient. The awards include a photography category, celebrating powerful images of resilience in action. By sharing and celebrating these resilience projects, we can all learn and equip ourselves for when disaster hits, and encourage our friends and loved ones to plan for emergency scenarios.

Among this year’s finalists are a committee that brings social housing tenants to the emergency management planning table in the wake of the Grenfell Tower tragedy; a primary school partnering with Indigenous Elders to repair the community’s relationship to fire after Black Saturday; and photographs capturing the commitment and spirit of our female firefighters.

Winners of the Resilient Australia National, School and Photography Awards will be announced at the National Ceremony in Brisbane on 8 November. The awards are hosted by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience and sponsored by the Australian Government in partnership with the states and territories.

Learn more about the Resilient Australia Awards.

2018 Resilient Australia Award finalists

Resilient Australia National Award

Disaster Resilience in Social Housing (NSW)
Inner Sydney Voice
This project invites tenants living in social housing to the planning table to voice their concerns and engage with emergency services, government and community stakeholders. The project established the Redfern and Surry Hills Community Resilience Committee which adopts a bottom-up, community-led approach to resilience building. The project has the potential to be utilised across all New South Wales social housing communities.

First Aid in Schools: Remote Indigenous Access Project (NT)
St John Ambulance

The First Aid in Schools project supports Indigenous children in remote communities to help themselves, their families and their communities in an emergency. A health initiative of St John Ambulance, the project engages communities where access to ambulance services can be limited. St John Ambulance aim to educate every Territorian school aged student from Years 1-12 in first aid skills.

My Resilient Community (QLD)
Moreton Bay Regional Council, Queensland Fire and Emergency Services and Queensland Police Service

Through the My Resilient Community project, emergency services and communities work together using flexible engagement strategies to build resilience to disasters. The project enhances preparedness, response and recovery in the Brisbane City and Moreton Bay Regional Council areas, and helps individuals identify the contribution they can make to community resilience.

National School Award

Firestick Project (VIC)
A Wurundjeri-led projecft in partnership with Dixons Creek Primary School, supported by Yarra Ranges Council and the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning, Victoria. 

The stress, fear and loss that followed Black Saturday had a significant impact on the Dixons Creek community and the wellbeing of children at the local primary school. Through the Firestick project, students learn about fire management from Indigenous Elders. The project helps both the children and wider community establish a positive relationship with fire.

Floodscapes (TAS)
The Holographic Lounge, Invermay Primary School, Launceston Big Picture School and meenah neenah Aboriginal Cultural Education Program

Through the Floodscapes project, Launceston schoolchildren produced three short films to deliver flood safety messages to their community, using footage overlaid with their own animations. The project encourages and empowers the children of Launceston to become the safety guardians and messengers for the city. The films are accessible to hearing and visually impaired people and can be readily shared through social media.

Getting Bushfire Ready at Warrimoo Public School (NSW)
Warrimoo Public School in partnership with the Warrimoo Rural Fire Brigade

Warrimoo Public School and the local Rural Fire Service (RFS) brigade partnered to equip over 150 students with bushfire safety knowledge, skills and values. The project enhanced community awareness of the school as a safe place for students during a bushfire event. Together, the school and brigade host the annual RFS Get Ready Weekend, promoting preparedness and resilience throughout the community.

National Photography Award

Dousing the flames (NT)
Navin Chandra

Many rural areas of the Northern Territory are at high risk of severe fires that can spread quickly and uncontrollably. In a state that sees many residents come and go, Captain of the Virginia/Bees Creek Volunteer Fire Brigade Fleur O'Connor has been an outstanding example of passion and commitment to the cause.

Dousing the flames Image by Navin Chandra


Portrait of a lady (NSW)
Kellie Mar

Emily Rawbone has over 20 years of experience and several firefighter qualifications. According to Emily it’s “no biggie” and she modestly counts herself as just another part of the Rural Fire Service volunteer firefighting crews who all strive for the same thing, to protect our communities.

Portrait of a lady image by Kellie Mar


Cyclone resilience – Whitsunday Water (QLD)
Troy & Edwina Pettiford 

When Cyclone Debbie knocked out all water and sewerage services for six days, the Whitsunday Water Management and Engineering Team set up office in the Chief Operating Officer’s garage with some generators and worked 18 to 20-hour days for two weeks to restore services to the region.

Cyclone resilience Whitsunday Water image by Troy Pettiford