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About the Resilient Australia Awards

The Resilient Australia Awards is a nation-wide program that celebrates, shares and promotes initiatives that build and foster community resilience to disasters and emergencies. Since 2000, the awards have showcased innovation and exemplary practice across Australia; celebrating achievements that might otherwise go unseen, and inspiring others to build greater disaster resilience in their own communities.

With the exception of multi-jurisdictional projects, submissions are judged in their state or territory, and jurisdictional winners considered for national awards. 

The Australian Government is proud to sponsor the Resilient Australia Awards in partnership with the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience and the states and territories.

Resilient Australia National Award

Finalists

2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aspirations Program Senior Secondary State Final Challenge: “GetReady! Disaster risk and preparedness in our community”

Department of Education, First Nations Strategy and Partnerships 
Queensland

The Department of Education’s 2022 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Aspirations Program (ATSIAP) Senior Secondary State Final themed “Get Ready! Disaster risk and preparedness in our community”, affords students a unique, rich learning experience by providing opportunities to investigate solutions for real-world disaster resilience challenges. 60 Queensland state school students in Years 10 to 12 teamed up to develop a communication plan and campaign material to inform a target audience in their local community about risks, preparedness and disaster resilience. Students participated in regional webinars, interviews with local disaster experts, including the Queensland Reconstruction Authority and Get Ready Queensland team, local councils, State Emergency Service, Queensland Police Service, and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, to inform their communication plan. In June 2022, students presented a persuasive speech to the state final judging panel to convince them of the merit of their communication plan. 

 

ACT Public Health Response to Bushfire Smoke 2020

ACT Health
Australian Capital Territory

ACT Health responded to the unprecedented smoke emergency from the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires in January 2020. ACT Health responded to the public health risks, supported the lead Incident Management Team, and integrated with the coordinated whole-of-government response. The Response Team was comprised of subject matter experts from across ACT Health. The Response Team contributed to community resilience through innovative air quality monitoring, public messaging, and public health risk mitigation strategies; these activities also enhanced community resilience for future public health risks to natural disasters and other emergencies.

 

Emergency Recovery Victoria Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management

Emergency Recovery Victoria
Victoria

With so much rich history across Victoria, the Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management program is providing a unique opportunity for Traditional Owners to not only see more of the country, but also investigate where there may be unknown and previously unrecorded cultural heritage.

Emergency Recovery Victoria and Johns Lyng Group have partnered with specialists, Ecology and Heritage Partners and the Aboriginal-owned and controlled A2B Personnel, to uncover potential sites and artefacts of Aboriginal cultural heritage on residential properties that were affected by the June 2021 storms and floods. The Aboriginal Cultural Heritage Management program is part of the $105 million state-coordinated clean-up across 39 local government areas and provides Traditional Owners and residential property owners with a unique opportunity to uncover the history and cultural heritage of residential land and increase cultural awareness, creating a tapestry of heritage across the state and a best-practice model for future clean-up programs.

 

SA Country Fire Service Child and Youth Project 

SA Country Fire Service
South Australia

The SA Country Fire Service Child and Youth Project has changed the way that we engage the Education and Child Care Sector in Bushfire Preparedness in South Australia. This pilot project has transformed an old approach into a contemporary program that comprehensively targets and empowers an entire school community by developing site-based emergency preparedness, Disaster Resilience Education delivery skills and knowledge for educators, and home bushfire safety for the school’s families and wider community.

 

Community Based Bushfire Management - a place-based approach to reducing bushfire risk in Victoria

Safer Together (Victorian Government program of work)
Victoria

Community-Based Bushfire Management (CBBM) is a bushfire risk reduction community engagement project. It is a flagship project within the Victorian Government's Safer Together program. Unlike traditional community engagement projects, CBBM takes a place-based, community development approach to working with community. CBBM is facilitated by a team of ten facilitators, each of whom works with up to three communities. CBBM communities remain in the program for an extended period of time - often many years. This long-term approach means there is ample opportunity for stakeholders to develop trust and respect, which in turn means more meaningful conversations and more mutually acceptable approaches to risk reduction. CBBM allows decisions made, and actions taken, to be truly community-based. CBBM marks a departure from traditional bushfire community engagement approaches with multiple evaluation reports showing that the approach is not only highly effective, but also greatly appreciated by stakeholders – most notable of which is community.

 

Disaster Relief Australia's Project Resilience

Disaster Relief Australia
South Australia

Project Resilience is an initiative led by Disaster Relief Australia in partnership with the Minderoo Foundation’s Resilient Communities Initiative, that aims to assist at least 34 vulnerable Australian communities to be more resilient to natural hazards by 2025. As the climate changes, many communities will face more frequent fires and floods, and the effects of these will be even more widespread. Across Australia, the resilience of communities to disaster is highly varied. Around one-third of Australia’s population lives in highly resilient regions while nearly one-half of Australia’s population live in regions that have a low-to-moderate level of disaster resilience. There is a significant disconnect between communities striving to prepare for disasters, and their ability to access the manpower, technology, or actionable information to deliver it. Disaster Relief Australia aims to empower these communities with projects that build resilience to disasters and foster a sense of community pride.

 

Emergency Management Data Program: Situational Awareness For Emergencies (SAFE) and Data Strategy

Office for Data Analytics
South Australia

One of the Office for Data Analytics' deliverables under the Emergency Management Data Program (EMDP) focused on supporting South Australia’s emergency management (EM) services through the development and deployment of the Situational Awareness For Emergencies II (SAFE II) data platform. SAFE II collects and collates near real-time EM data through monitoring, collecting, and integrating a significant number of public and private sector, selected EM data from many operational data systems onto a single dashboard. This 'live' dashboard provides the EM community with a strategic Common Operating Picture (COP) of the state for emergency response, public information, and damage assessment. The project builds upon the previous work of the Situational Awareness for Emergencies (SAFE I) project to develop a real-time common operating Picture for emergencies involving extreme weather (flood, storm, heatwave), bushfire, and earthquake.

 

Multi Agency Community Resilience Films Project

Northern Territory Emergency Service
Northern Territory

The Multi Agency Community Resilience Films Project is a project developed by the Northern Territory Emergency Service (NTES) and funded through the National Disaster Resilience Program. The project team stakeholders included Australian Red Cross, St Johns Australia and the Bureau of Meteorology. The project objective was to develop films in language for remote NT communities that are in high risk of natural disasters occurring to empower themselves to build community resilience. The aim of the films were to educate aboriginal people on a number of topics important to the community including health, first aid and of the imminent dangers of cyclones, floods and bushfires. At this stage films have been created for the following five communities: Wugularr (Beswick);Kintore; Groote Eylandt; Wurrumiyanga; Pirlangimpi. The films are narrated in the relevant aboriginal language with English subtitles, and the topics and solutions are appropriate to the issues that are occurring in the community.

 

Preparing for the Unimaginable

CQUniversity
Queensland

The Unimaginable project comprises three scaffolded, individual research projects arising from the research teams’ experiences of the North Queensland monsoon floods in 2019. The first project, The Sting in the Tail? explored the experiences of university staff based in the affected region. The second project, Preparing for the Unimaginable, explored the lived experiences of organisations and community members in two affected sites using multiple methodologies, to develop a set of guidelines for businesses and organisations to better support their staff, before, during and after disaster. The guidelines comprised three domains:

  • (Un)assumed leaders
  • Knowing and being known
  • Recognising impact.

The third project, Practically Preparing for the Unimaginable, comprised the development and delivery of six workshops across six targeted LGAs in Queensland affected by disaster events. These workshops introduced the guidelines to the workshop participants, working through how the guidelines may be implemented in their business and their region.

 

State Guideline: Flood Evacuation Route Improvements

Department of Transport and Main Roads
Queensland

The State guideline: Flood evacuation route improvements (guideline) supports the identification of measures to improve a community’s ability to evacuate during a flood event. The guideline undertakes a unique approach to identify measures and is the first of its kind internationally. The guideline considers a broad range of options to improve a community's ability to evacuate during a flood event. This includes transport and non-transport options, such as evacuation centres, levees, and flood warning systems. This ensures that cost effective options, which may achieve similar benefits to infrastructure projects, are considered in the assessment process. The guideline undertakes a collaborative and pragmatic approach to ensure measures are fit for purpose to local circumstances. It considers unique local factors when assessing options and emphasises engagement with key stakeholders early and throughout the assessment process to draw upon local knowledge and expertise.

 

Wooroloo Bushfire Coordinated Residential Clean-up Program

Department of Water and Environmental Regulation, Department of Fire and Emergency Services
Western Australia

The Wooroloo bushfire started 1 February 2021 and burnt over 10,000 hectares over seven days causing extensive damage within the Shire of Mundaring and the City of Swan, including the destruction of 86 homes and damage to many more properties. The Wooroloo Bushfire Coordinated Residential Clean-up Program provided free, safe removal of bushfire damaged waste from residential blocks, regardless the owner’s insurance status. The Program enabled 135 affected properties to be cleared and cleaned up safely and efficiently, while minimising adverse impacts to the local community and environment.

The program supported residents to continue making progress in their recovery journeys by removing physical barriers to rebuilding, meaning residents could focus on their individual needs and planning for the future. The Wooroloo Bushfire Coordinated Residential Clean-Up Program was jointly funded through Commonwealth-State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), forming a significant component of an $18.1 million Category C Community Recovery Fund.

 

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Suncorp Resilient Australia National Community Award

Finalists

Community Led Emergency Resilience Project

Australian Red Cross
South Australia

The Community-Led Emergency Resilience pilot project was facilitated by Australian Red Cross in collaboration with community leaders from Gumeracha and Kangarilla, South Australia. This pilot project was supported by Adelaide Hills Council and the City of Onkaparinga, and was funded under the National Disaster Resilience Program by SAFECOM. The project aimed to support the whole of community to be more aware of local risks and arrangements, take locally appropriate community-led action, and be more involved in local emergency management planning. 25 community members from both communities were engaged in the project and as a result, these community leaders prioritised & initiated a total of 21 initiatives, 10 in Gumeracha & 11 in Kangarilla. These initiatives identified community-led actions to build community connectedness, increase understanding of risk and vulnerability, strengthen local emergency policies and procedures as well as improve local resources to prepare, respond and recover from emergencies.

 

Connect 2 Create

RANT Arts
Tasmania

Connect 2 Create was a state wide series of artist led community workshops in Tasmania which aimed to foster creative and social connections while building community mental health literacy. The workshops led into Minds Do Matter 2021 exhibitions. Minds Do Matter is an annual exhibition which celebrates Mental Health Week in October and in 2021 exhibitions were held concurrently at QVMAG Launceston and Devonport Regional Gallery. Minds Do Matter explores the relationship between art and wellbeing by celebrating art’s power to be life-enhancing and life-affirming. The theme for Minds Do Matter 2021 was ‘CONNECT’.

 

Gidgegannup Men's Shed Inc.

Gidgegannup Men's Shed
Western Australia

The Gidgegannup Men’s Shed (GMS) is in its infancy, having formed in June 2020 after the local Bushfire Recovery Group recommended its formation to assist community well-being in the aftermath of the 11,000ha Wooroloo/Gidgegannup bushfire in Feb'20 which destroyed 86 houses. GMS provides training and opportunity for members to work on projects, join in Shed activities and tasks, or just share time, recreation and fellowship with other members. Our purpose is "Enriching the Lives and Enhancing the Wellbeing and Health of Local Men & Women”. Based in a suburb within the Perth Metropolitan Area our targeted community spans 45kms and a population of 12,515 (2016census).We create a Gidgegannup Community Hub - More Than Just a Workshop, engaging our members in unique activities to develop essential skills for the hills lifestyle, enabling members to then provide community services to the broader hills community - especially those impacted by the recent bushfire.

 

Harrington Crowdy Head Community Resilience

Harrington Crowdy Head Community Resilience Team
New South Wales

The Harrington Crowdy Head Community Resilience Team (CRT) was formed after the highly stressful black summer bushfires and a major flood in March 2021 threatened our lives and homes, and caused significant environmental and economic losses.CRT members are volunteers working together to lead and support our community in efforts to build resilience in the face of future challenges. After countless hours of research and consultation, with the assistance of a ‘Disaster Recovery Grant’, we have seen growing community awareness, stronger community networks and produced two important documents: Harrington and Crowdy Head Community Emergency Guide— a working guide for community leaders and emergency services personnel that will facilitate more effective cooperative responses in the event of an emergency. Harrington and Crowdy Head: A Resilient Community— for all residents, detailing how individuals and households can prepare for emergency situations, what to expect when they occur and resources to assist in recovery.

 

Mercy Community CAMS-Multicultural Disaster Management Ambassadors

Toowoomba Regional Council, Mercy Community CAMS, Australian Red Cross
Queensland

The Multicultural Disaster Management Ambassadors program brings together local leaders from our CALD communities to impart their knowledge and link with other emergency and support services in the collaborative effort to enhance their communities' preparedness of, ability to respond and recovery from a disaster event, resulting in greater resilience to future events. To aid the Ambassadors in fulfilling this important role, they receive training and resources to build on their skills and provide them with the tools to promote and engage with disaster management across the stages of prevention, preparation, response and recovery and give their communities a voice in the local disaster management arrangements to improve inclusivity and accessibility to information, warnings, support services and emergency functions.

 

Our Voice: Children and Young Peoples Participation in Community Resilience

Save the Children Australia
Victoria

SCA has developed and facilitated a child and youth led process of change, Our Voice, to better meet the needs of vulnerable children in communities impacted by the Black Summer Bushfires (2019-2020) across Eastern Australia. By May 2021, nearly400 children and young people benefited from participating in the Our Voice pilot. Our Voice successfully supported children and young people engage with local decision-makers, enabling them to become change agents in local emergency management planning. It also explored ways to embed their unique needs in ongoing local community governance. As one participant stated, “Our voices are important because we have different perspectives to adults and many perspectives are better than just a few". Concurrently, Our Voice facilitated a shared vision for children and young people’s contribution in local community planning, with 70 adults in decision-making roles, including local council and emergency services staff, also trained on authentic child participation.

 

VCOSS ECCV Multicultural Resilience Program

Victorian Council of Social Services, Ethnic Communities' Council of Victoria
Victoria

When talking about the COVID-19 pandemic people often said, "We’re all in the same boat." But this wasn’t true, and while we were in the same storm, we were in very different boats. Whether a pandemic or a natural disaster, research shows that migrant and refugee communities are disproportionately affected. Unfamiliarity with local risks and hazards and language barriers can contribute to this. But it is the lack of inclusive approaches by the emergency management sector that is the key contributor. The VCOSS-ECCV Multicultural Resilience Program brought together multicultural community and emergency management leaders to learn from one another. It helped strengthen community resilience and reduced the disruptive impacts of COVID-19 in multicultural communities. It is also increasing mutual understanding and trust between multicultural communities and emergency management organisations, and is working toward greater cultural safety for all who work in and with emergency management organisations.

 

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Resilient Australia National School Award

Finalists

Cairns in Your Hands

Tropical North Learning Academy Smithfield State High School
Queensland

The Cairns region is a beautiful, tropical area: however it is extremely vulnerable to natural disasters and the increasing effects of sea level rise and climate change. It is essential the we not only plan to ensure the resilience, sustainability and safety of Cairns and its citizens, but to also provide our youth with the critical thinking, collaborative and creativity skills to solve their cities future problems. ‘Cairns in Your Hands' is about empowering 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. It's about creating the opportunity to gather gifted and talented and passionate students together from different schools in one place over four days, to develop real world authentic solutions to the greatest threat Cairns faces.

 

Community Connections

Springfield Gardens Primary School
Tasmania

Community Connections is a multimedia project aimed at connecting community. The first part of the project weaves together stories of resilience from local community members, highlighting the diversity, strength, and vibrancy of the Glenorchy city community. The intimate portrayal of people’s stories about overcoming hardships and adversity is beautifully captured in the short film: Community Connections. The second part of the project: a student-created mural was inspired by the main themes of the film and depicts the key actions locals take to help them get through difficult times. The ‘Mural of Resilience’ features scenes of important local landmarks people seek refuge in, activities people do to get through difficult times such as art and listening to music and shows the variety of ways people connect with each other in challenging times. The mural now greets the community as they enter the school and shares important stories for all to enjoy.

 

SYP First Aid for Kids initiative

St Columba’s Memorial School
South Australia

Southern Yorke Peninsula (SYP) First Aid for Kids programme lead by St Columba's Memorial School in partnership with four other SYP primary schools and Karyn Hindle from Head2Toe first aid, delivered age-appropriate first aid, disaster resilience and wellbeing sessions for over 350 primary school aged children and their teachers. The sessions covered basic first aid and supporting wellbeing after an emergency event. Each family received a first aid kit to take home along with Red Cross' 'Helping children and young people cope with crisis' resource booklet. The initiative was funded by Wellbeing SA's Strengthening Community Wellbeing after Bushfires Grant Program.

 

Where's Wally? House Points Hunting!

Ivanhoe Primary School
Victoria

During lockdown when students couldn't attend school we all talked a lot about engagement and getting out and away from those screens and getting some fresh air. We talked about staying together as a community and finding fun things to do together, while apart. We came up with an activity adapted from the "Where's Wally" series and invited the community to find them. We hid (in plain sight) over 1500 Wally cards out in our community. We instructed families NOT TO REMOVE THEM but take photos of them with their children and email them to the school principal who tallied their value and posted the photos in the online newsletter each week. Each student's photo was worth house points (A regular Wally 10 points and a golden Wally 20). Accumulated points became house points for one of the four school houses. Community engagement and positive feedback was amazing.

 

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Resilient Australia National Local Government Award

Finalists

AdaptNow! - Changing for Climate Change

AdaptWest (on behalf of the cities of West Torrens, Charles Sturt and Port Adelaide Enfield)
South Australia

Extreme Heat. Power outage. Smoke impact. Localised flooding. In isolation, events like these can be challenging – but what happens when they occur in rapid succession or as cascading, compounding emergencies, leaving little or no time to recover between. What would you do? How would your community respond? These are the questions that the AdaptNow! Changing for Climate Change hypothetical explored. Built on a co-design process, the AdaptWest partnership sought to understand how our diverse communities would respond. We developed resources with community representatives, key agencies, and businesses and documented this process with a local filmmaker through interviews and storytelling to highlight messages of hope, connection and capacity building. A core message of “know your neighbour” shone through – that building strong and resilient communities will be what gets us through disasters – and that close neighbours will be the first ones to help in a time of crisis.

 

Community-led Disaster Response

Bellingen Shire Council
New South Wales

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 of areas of clinical support, community preparedness and resilience, information and business support. The Pandemic Response Group (PRG) led by Bellingen Shire Council came together in early March 2020 and is a collaborative of community groups, community members, Chambers of Commerce, the clinician profession and service providers. The PRG successfully advocated for a covid testing clinic in Bellingen, and implemented initiatives for communications and community support of vulnerable people. When the Delta wave hit and vaccinations were rolling out, the PRG was stood up again to manage a holistic community-wide approach, being a hub for creating unique projects and obtaining services to carry the community through.

 

COVID-19 Care Packs for the elderly

Longreach Regional Council
Queensland

Due to the ongoing isolation being experienced by the elderly within our community during the early stages of the COVID-19pandemic, Council wished to assist these residents in a practical and compassionate way. Council reached out and partnered with the community to provide COVID-19 Care Packs to the elderly. The Council also produced a video with the Mayor promoting the project to the community. This project was an innovative, compassionate and practical way to respond to the needs of the elderly. It brought together local government, young children, school children, retailers and Non-Government Organisations to deliver a service that was identified and well received by the elderly. It was a shared responsibility with all stakeholders having a very important part to play to ensure the aims were fully achieved. Council facilitated and coordinated the project in response to a need that was identified by Council.

 

Lorinna Community Access

Kentish Council
Tasmania

The remote settlement of Lorinna in Tasmania’s inland north-west is situated on the side of a very steep hillside fronting Lake Cethana. Providing vehicular access either parallel along the contour or down over the escarpment has remained problematic for at least three decades. Accesses had been constructed close to 100 years ago and had become structurally and geometrically impractical for modern usage. Massive rain induced damage to road and road related drainage infrastructure in 2016 resulted in restoration works that were part funded by disaster recovery funding. After much prolonged effort the Kentish Council in consultation with the community, has now constructed a new primary access into the area. The design, tender package and construction were all carefully considered given the topography and constraints. The access using River Road will be maintained and remain open as a secondary access for times of emergency and give opportunity to detour traffic.

 

Wooroloo Bushfire 2021 - 12 Months On, an exhibition of community images

Shire of Mundaring
Western Australia

“Wooroloo Bushfire 2021 – 12 Months On, an exhibition of community images” a multidimensional medium for storytelling and reflection. Born from an idea raised through community conversations and nurtured with support from fellow community members. Achieved through collaboration with recovery agencies and local organisations. Effective engagement with an eclectic array of directly impacted and indirectly affected individuals. One-hundred incident linked images and items with heartfelt descriptors netted through an extensive non-restrictive call for submissions, fifty-two selected to share the community’s recovery journey over one year. The Exhibition Venues: Wooroloo Hall (opening) and Gidgegannup Hall (closing), symbolistic of the fire path. Length: one week, representative of the incident’s active duration. Images: fifty-two, observing the community’s recovery journey in weeks. Community Focus: invitation-only opening for impacted community members. Dignitaries/media asked to respect the occasion by attending only the closing session.

 

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Resilient Australia National Mental Health and Wellbeing Award

Finalists

Helping the helpers support others: Building local capabilities after the Victorian Black Summer Bush Fires

Phoenix Australia - Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health
Victoria

Phoenix Australia’s Victorian Bushfire Recovery Project 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 own resilience, as well as support the wellbeing of their teams and organisations. After consultation, Phoenix Australia tailored and delivered a suite of online and in-person training and mentoring programs that aligned with a comprehensive stepped-care approach to providing support after disaster. This approach allowed Phoenix Australia to upskill a diverse range of community members – from community leaders to mental health professionals – so they can, within their own community, provide the right intensity of support at the right time to match the individual's needs. As a result of the project, over 1,800 frontline workers and community leaders have now accessed free, expert-led, highly-rated and best practice training, through one of the 56 workshops or online courses.

 

Launceston Connect

RANT Arts
Tasmania

Launceston Connect was a series of 4 weekly, creative workshops by RANT Arts in June 2021 with the aim of facilitating social connections in the Launceston Community for older and isolated males via art. Men who are older and socially isolated are at significantly higher risk of mental ill-health and suicide. Launceston Connect sought to redress this by providing a relaxed environment where men could explore their creativity while building social connectedness and friendships with one another.

 

South West Queensland Birdie Calls Collaborative Project

South West Hospital and Health Service
Queensland

Birdie and Mr Frog are famous throughout South West Queensland after visiting libraries, playgroups and primary schools from Dirranbandi to Injune, Eromanga to Wallumbilla, and almost everywhere in between. Birdie and Mr Frog, the stars of Birdie Calls, spread stories of resilience, feelings, and support through hard times including "the virus", drought, storms, very hot days, and fire. Birdie and Mr Frog encouraged the young children to emulate their resilience through their stories of facing difficult times, recognising their feelings, and how things do improve through the support of friends, family and their community. Birdie Calls South West Queensland is a highly successful, collaborative partnership between South West Hospital and Health Services' Tackling-Regional-Adversity-through-Connected-Communities, Ed-LinQ, and Healthy Communities, school communities, regional councils, and Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (QCPiMH). A train-the-trainer program, the first in Queensland, evolved from the partnership followed by an extensive tour of the South West.

 

Stormbirds

Mackillop Family Services - Good Grief
New South Wales

Stormbirds are said to foreshadow storms and disasters. Thus, Mackillop has named our disaster resilience mental health and wellbeing program after these extraordinary birds. From our on the ground experience, MacKillop knows that the changes and losses following a natural disaster can be traumatic, complex and ongoing, particularly for vulnerable communities. As with other grief and trauma experiences, exposure to disaster has deleterious effects on people’s mental health and wellbeing, substantially affecting children and young people’s outcomes in the short and longer term. Our Program strengthens the resilience and preparedness of diverse groups of children and young people to manage and overcome trauma, by helping them to build an understanding of change, loss and grief, whilst developing skills in communication, decision-making and problem-solving. Our Stormbirds program builds the professional capacity of school communities to manage sustainable responses to the complex impacts of grief experienced by children following bushfires and floods.

 

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Resilient Australia National Photography Award

Finalists

Autumn Burning - A Return to Normality

Andrew Haselden
Western Australia

Early 2022 was a typical long Western Australian summer of record hot days and numerous multi day campaign fires, some up to 900 kilometres away from our home station. This year, like last, our volunteer crews operated with the spectre of COVID hanging over everything we did. Restrictions in the tail end of the season saw the hard separation of our shifts and the pullback of our operational scope to emergency response (turnouts) only. This separation put on hold our weekly training, meetings and social events and rigidly split our brigade into two defined halves. All of which was isolating and took a toll on members that joined a volunteer fire brigade to be a part of a community that thrives on teamwork and comradery. 
This photograph was taken at the end of a 3-acre hazard reduction burn conducted in early Autumn and shows the calm of the dying intensity of a fire which burnt in a heavily fuel loaded block. While the hazard reduction burn was beneficial to the City of Kalamunda and its residents in preparation for a future summer to come, the photo represents to me a return to normality and to business as usual. This burn was one of the first opportunities as the COVID restrictions were eased for our fire fighters to catch up with each other on the fire ground, train newer members, share stories of the summer gone, and run the light and easy banter that was sorely missed in the preceding months. As the smoke clears and the sun shines through the newly burnt bush, it is with a quiet sense of relief that we happily once again pitch in to get the job done as one team.

Contrast

Johanna Mahon
Northern Territory

In this photo, resilience is shown through the trees withstanding the blaze of a bushfire. They are burnt and covered in ash, but in months to come the bushland will regerminate and flourish again.

 

Cracked but never broken

Rose-Anne Emmerton
Tasmania

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but what you dont see is a volunteer who has recently attended a fatalityanswering their pager for another call. Emergency services volunteers answer their pages time and time again, they are the definition of resilience, they adapt, they overcome and they are there.

 

Fire Season Preparation : Facing the fire - knowing the team has my back

Sue Curtis
New South Wales

Training is key for fighting fires, you know your job, the backup plan and that your team will be behind you. The resilience of each team member is linked to the resilience of the entire team to access a situation, react and then adapt as events evolve. Resilience is built through training and experience, of each crew member and together as a team. Confidence in the team, knowing someone has your back builds resilience, this is vital in real time emergencies and into the post-fire recovery phase for both the individual and rebuilding communities.

 

Supporting Resilience

Deb Cox
Queensland

Surf Lifesaving Queensland's Westpac helicopter pilots were called upon to deliver emergency supplies to stranded campers in Sarahbah after raging floodwaters unexpectedly cut off their campsite. The provisions enabled the grateful campers, who were otherwise well and happy to remain in situ, to wait for the flood waters to recede and allow them to safely leave in their own vehicles. To me this photo represents the resilience of Australians caught up in a difficult situation. The campers, who consisted of numerous adults and children were all in great spirits despite their predicament. Resilience is also demonstrated by the responding local and district disaster management groups with their agency members working together to facilitate a coordinated, appropriate and swift outcome to the situation. Queensland may be the most disaster prone state but our community and emergency /disaster responders are undoubtedly also some of the most resilient and resourceful in the country!

 

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