Australian Disaster Resilience Conference 2021

Conference program

Meeting in the middle: community voices and complex choices

The disaster risk and resilience landscape is constantly evolving, and so too are the approaches we take in policy and practice.

The Australian Disaster Resilience Conference returns in 2021 with the latest ideas and innovations in disaster resilience and risk reduction to Sydney on 18 and 19 August.

In line with the growing interest and body of knowledge, the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference has expanded its program to two streams in 2021, offering a more comprehensive conference experience that delegates can tailor to their needs.

This year's conference program is designed to generate national conversation about local impact and highlight leading thinking and practice for community engagement in disaster resilience and collaborative decision making to reduce risk.

Program by day


Australian Disaster Resilience Conference | Day 1

Wednesday 18 August 

8.15am   Opening Ceremony
9.00am   KEYNOTE: Dominique Hogan-Doran SC
9.45am   KEYNOTE: Stan Grant
10.30am    Morning tea

Future directions for disaster resilience in Australia


Learner agency in bushfire education: an explanatory case study from Harkaway Primary School, Victoria
Dr Briony Towers, RMIT University/Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC


Policy maker to policy taker - applying learnings from a lived experience
Karen McPaul, Queensland Reconstruction Authority

  Engaging young people at the centre of bushfire recovery
Quinn Obran and Derm Ryan, Youth Affairs Council Victoria

Disaster resilient and adaptive to change - narratives to shape achievable visions of resilience, support coordinated practice and catalyse collective action
Dr Deborah O’Connell, CSIRO

  Shifting the paradigm: trialling student and school community led disaster risk reduction programs in South Australia
Belinda Dunbar and Chris Sedunary, SA Country Fire Service
1.20pm    Lunch
2.30pm   PANEL:
Sharing responsibility with the business community to build national resilience
Daniel Aldrich*, Northeastern University Boston, Kate Carnell AO, Renae Hanvin and James Ritchie*, corporate2community and David Parsons, Crisis Management Australia
*presenting virtually
  City of Ryde resilience planning - A journey of collaboration and engagement
Kylie McMahon, City of Ryde Council
3.00pm     Building resilience in remote Indigenous communities across northern Australia
Dr Kamaljit K Sangha, Charles Darwin University
3.30pm   A deeper look at the economic cost drivers of
natural disasters
Shauna Coffey, Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities
  Resilient Byron Inc - A systems thinking model to bolster community regeneration and resilience
Dr Jean Renouf, Southern Cross University
4.10pm   Afternoon tea

Shifting mindsets and making good decisions for disaster risk
Amanda Leck (chair) AIDR, Jillian Edwards Beyond Business as Usual, Ramana James IAG, Alan March University of Melbourne

  Person-centred emergency management approach: A case study from Mackay, Queensland
Helen Styles, Mackay Regional Council
5.20pm     Ask me what I need? Autism awareness training project for emergency services
Belinda Karp, Next Step Inc
6.00pm   ADRC Networking Function and NSW Resilient Australia Awards Ceremony


Australian Disaster Resilience Conference | Day 2

Thursday 19 August

8.30am   KEYNOTE: Grace Tame
9.15am   KEYNOTE: Shane Fitzsimmons AFSM
10.10am    Morning tea

Understanding preparedness and recovery. A survey of people’s preparedness and recovery experience for emergencies
John Richardson, Australian Red Cross


The Resilient Sydney story
Beck Dawson, Resilient Sydney


An Australia wide learning network: Grappling with complexity to sustain a responsive community recovery
Louise Mitchell, Social Recovery Reference Group

Putting together the jigsaw puzzle: a case study on collaborative grass roots community-led and coordinated efforts driving recovery and resilience
Anne Crestani, Jo Davies, Vicki Edmunds, Rosemary Glassock, Andrew Kaye, Kris Newton, Mountains Community Resource Network and Esther Perry

Seeking the ideal in the realm of recovery - community led recovery
Andrew Coghlan, Australian Red Cross and Lisa Gibbs, University of Melbourne

12.50pm    Lunch
2.00pm   Enabling communities - from the heart of the community
Trish Curtis, Upper Murray Regional Neighbourhood House Network
  Social housing and flood risk in the Hawkesbury-Nepean Valley. A place-based community engagement and action research approach
Holly Langler, Infrastructure NSW
2.30pm   Australian Red Cross South Australia Community-Led Emergency Resilience Project
Cristel Chambers, Australian Red Cross
  Harnessing community networks responding to COVID-19 - The case of African migrants in Melbourne’s public housing
Dr Sandra Carrasco, University of Newcastle
3.00pm   How one local government area enabled a genuine community-led recovery program
Jo McGoldrick, Kempsey Shire Council
  The Rockhampton VOAD consortium: a mechanism to support collaboration, coordination and communication of volunteer organisations active in disasters
Amanda Nixon, Volunteering Queensland
3.35pm   Closing Panel 
4.35pm   Closing Ceremony


National Recovery Forum 2021

The National Recovery Forum will bring people involved in disaster recovery together to develop connections and share knowledge, ideas, inspiration and good practice for communities to recover well from disasters and build a resilient future.

The National Recovery Forum will take place on 20 August, following the Australian Disaster Resilience Conference.

This free event will include a range of presentations and interactive sessions. A key highlight of the forum will be the opportunity for those involved in the important and challenging work of disaster recovery to gather together, connect with others working in the field, exchange ideas and experiences, and re-energise to continue their role in supporting journeys of recovery.

Find out more and register for the National Recovery Forum.