National Award Winners and Finalists
National Community Award
National School Award
National Local Government Award
National Mental Health and Wellbeing Award
National Photography Award
About the awards
Learn more about the award categories and how to submit your project
Contact the RAA Program Manager for all media enquiries
Explore winning and highly commended projects from previous years
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.
Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) Certificate Course
The University of Sydney
New South Wales
The Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (P-CEP) Certificate is a world first interdisciplinary program providing actionable guidance on person-centred and capability focused inclusive disaster risk reduction. This co-designed, nationally consistent education has successfully bridged the gap on how to enable responsibility-sharing between emergency services, people with disability and the services that support them, demonstrated by significant evaluation results. Six self-paced, activity-based online modules bring learners together to develop the knowledge and skills in preparing ourselves and others to anticipate, plan, and respond effectively to disaster risks through tailored preparedness planning and cross-sector collaborative action that leaves nobody behind. Learners leave the course with an implementation plan and join the P-CEP Connect Learning Community to support translation of learning into practice. The achievements of the P-CEP Certificate Course align with the key principles outlined in the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, fostering a more resilient and proactive community in anticipation of future disasters.
Delivering community focused messaging in Gurindji language during major NT floods
Bureau of Meteorology and Northern Territory Emergency Service
First Nations interpreters have joined Emergency Services and the Bureau of Meteorology at Press Conferences for weather events in the Northern Territory thanks to a new collaborative project.
The project has delivered real-time, in-language messaging to remote communities impacted by major flooding. This collaborative approach to improve emergency messaging for NT communities had success in March 2023 during major flooding of a remote region southwest of Katherine. A Gurindji interpreter from the NT Aboriginal Interpreter Service delivered three media conferences providing vital information on the Emergency Declaration for the evacuation of Kalkarindji, Dagaragu and Pigeon Hole. Over 95% of people in these communities speak an Aboriginal language at home. Community feedback was positive across social media which supported this information reaching those impacted and their concerned family and friends elsewhere.
Flood Resilience in Action: 2022 and Beyond
JDA Co.’s decade long work in flood resilient design comprises a series of interconnected projects. What began as a pro-bono grassroots action in the wake of the 2011 Queensland Floods has evolved into work for multi-levels of Government, non-Government, industry and academic clients alike – with significant, life-changing outcomes for those Australians living in flood-risk zones.
In 2020, JDA Co was fortunate to receive a Resilient Australia Business Award, however up to that point, none of our work had been tested in real time. The events of February 2022 changed that whereby of the 150 built works undertaken between 2011 and 2022, 140 home owners reported flood impacts to their property. 70 property owners were surveyed in more detail with 50 experiencing impacts with 45 owners reporting that the resilience works were successful.
This work then became the catalyst for the Queensland and NSW State Governments' Resilient Homes Fund programs.
Bushfire Resilience Rating Home Assessment App
Resilient Building Council
The Bushfire Resilience Rating (BRR) has been developed by Australia’s leading bushfire resilience experts through a collaboration led by RBC, funded by NEMA and industry sponsors BlueScope, IAG, and NAB, and supported by emergency management agencies and community members around Australia.
The free app provides households with a tailored list of actions to measurably improve the bushfire resilience of their home. Based on decades of research and post-disaster analysis, it's the only tool that measures the bushfire resilience of buildings, giving insurers, banks and investors a framework for financing and rewarding household resilience action.
The BRR can provide many short and long-term benefits for households and communities, including:
- Measurably reduce bushfire recovery costs, avoiding unsustainable losses for governments, industry, communities and households
- Reduced personal, social, economic community hardships
- Stronger, safer communities that are an attractive place to visit, work and live
- Sustainable insurance, mortgage finance
Bushfires and Your Health: An online course for all Australians
University of Tasmania
Bushfire-affected communities understand the impact of these events extend beyond property loss. Bushfires have enormous mental and physical health impacts, with our research finding that smoke from the Black Summer fires led to an estimated 400+ deaths.
We listened to these concerns, and developed ‘Bushfires and Your Health’, a free online short course hosted by the University of Tasmania. Our course helps participants to understand the physical and mental health impacts of bushfires and smoke, and provides evidence-based strategies to reduce these risks. Over 670 people have enrolled in the three course offerings to date, and our evaluation demonstrates high rates of course satisfaction, engagement in the course material, and an increase in preparedness actions and behaviour change related to improved disaster resilience. Furthermore, critical course information has been translated into multiple languages and promoted to culturally and linguistically diverse communities in Tasmania, making our most vulnerable populations more prepared.
Disaster Relief Australia Operational Big Map Capability
Disaster Relief Australia
Disaster Relief Australia (DRA) aim to empower communities with projects that build resilience and foster a sense of community pride. DRA understand that the best way for a community to manage and take ownership of its post disaster recovery is to ensure that community is heard, valued, and educated before that disaster occurs. Educating and equipping communities with the skills and knowledge to identify and manage hazards is integral to achieving this. At a community level, building the resilience and readiness of individuals, families and specific organisations creates a stronger community better equipped to manage the challenges of a disaster situation and recovery. A DRA flagship capability, the ‘Operational Big Map’ exercise sits at the heart of Project Resilience, a multi-phase DRA initiative designed to empower and educate communities to prepare for environmental disasters.
Kangaroo Island Business Climate Roadmap
The business community across Kangaroo Island has experienced some of the most severe disasters and natural hazards in its history. From drought to bushfires to COVID-19 closures, the extensive impacts have led to both economic and social challenges including business closures, job losses, lost livelihoods, and losing people who move off island to find work.
To support the 738 local businesses in their recovery, Resilient Ready delivered a 15-month project to co-design the ‘Kangaroo Island Business Climate Roadmap’. This free digital resource sets the Kangaroo Island Business Hub up for the next 3 years to embed 16 risk reduction micro-learning module topics across the community.
This SAFECOM-funded project, delivered in collaboration with the South Australian Department for Industry, Innovation and Science includes an innovative approach to community consultation, capturing lived experiences of 16 local businesspeople and launching the Roadmap with global resilience expert Professor Daniel Aldrich at the airport.
Optimism and hope - building resilience after the South Australian Black Summer bushfires.
Department of Primary Industries and Regions
The summer of 2019/20 saw the South Australian Government respond to multiple and concurrent bushfire events – namely Kangaroo Island, Cudlee Creek, Keilira and Yorketown, collectiveley an estimated 187,000 hectares of primary production land was burnt.
On farm losses were estimated to be $186.5 million and stock losses were ~70,000 livestock, much of this on Kangaroo Island. The ~60,000 livestock lost on Kangaroo Island represents the largest loss of livestock nationally for any single fire during the 2019/20 fire season.
Working in partnership with key industry bodies PIRSA designed a recovery program that supported people get back to business and build long term resilience.
The $19.28 million local economic recovery primary production sector (LER PPS) program was announced in February 2021. This program is complex and consists of 4 major projects across 27 initiatives. The focus of this nomination is the significant resilience outcomes resulting from this work.
Principal Connection Days
NSW Department of Education, Rural Regional Remote Education Policy
New South Wales
Bushfires, floods, drought, mouse plagues and COVID-19 have meant a tough couple of years for many regional, rural and remote schools in NSW. School leaders in these areas were actively seeking high-quality, face-to-face professional learning to build staff capacity around resilience and wellbeing. Recognising this need, the department developed resilience-focused workshops for a number of regional and remote locations across the state. Held over 2 days, the face-to-face professional learning focuses on strengthening networks and building resilience within schools. The workshops provide an opportunity for principals and school leaders to focus on how to support themselves as school leaders, as well as staff, students and their broader communities.
The workshops were open to school principals, or an appropriate delegate based in regional, rural and remote schools.
ReGroup: Community-led Recovery. Evidence, dimensions and supports for Community Recovery Committees
The University of Melbourne
Community matters when it comes to disaster recovery and an important element of this are Community-led Recovery Committees or groups. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that often these groups have difficulties with regards to burnout, navigating bureaucratic red tape and finding consensus on purpose or representativeness of the group. While government is enthusiastic about community-led approaches to disaster recovery, there are gaps in evidence on how to best support these initiatives. Our project aimed to address the knowledge gap around Community Recovery Committees and come up practical tools and resources to better support CRCs. Our project also aims to help local and state government officials better understand how to best support CRCs.
Resilient Homes Fund, Disaster Resilience Program
Department of Energy and Public Works and Queensland Reconstruction Authority
Through the ‘power of many’1, Queensland homeowners have been empowered to prepare for and recover quickly from future flooding events – significantly reducing the effort, cost and time to return people to their homes following a flood.
The $741 million Reslient Homes Fund is the first household resilience program of its kind to be offered in Australia and has the potential to change Queenslanders’ lives and improve the state’s resilience to flooding.
This innovative Fund is setting a nationwide standard for a household resilience program that keeps Queenslanders safe and builds homes back, stronger.
1. Whitmanm N 2010, ‘The Power of Many: Values for Success in Business and in Life’, Crown Business.
Suburban Land Agency's Your Resilient Home
Suburban Land Agency
Australian Capital Territory
The Suburban Land Agency’s 'Your Resilient Home' guide is an innovative and comprehensive resource aimed at empowering homeowners to create resilient homes that can withstand and recover from disasters and emergencies.
The guide offers practical and actionable information, guiding homeowners through a step-by-step process to assess risks, design and construct resilient homes and gardens.
'Your Resilient Home' equips homeowners with the knowledge and tools to mitigate risks, reduce vulnerabilities, and enhance the resilience of their homes. By implementing the guide's recommendations, homeowners can protect their families and property, reduce reliance on emergency services, and contribute to overall community resilience.
Our project is relevant and timely, considering the increasing frequency and severity of disasters in Australia. The guide is practical and collaborative, with a focus on empowering individuals and communities. Ultimately, our aim is to empower the community, as we work together to build a more resilient Australia.
Tasmanian Strategic Flood Map - Risk Assessment (TSFM-RA)
Tasmania State Emergency Service
The Tasmanian Strategic Flood Map Risk Assessment (TSFM – RA) builds on the Tasmanian Strategic Flood Map (TSFM) digital twin, so that for the first time Tasmania has a digital twin for strategic flood risk assessment. The TSFM-RA and GIS toolset are changing the way that Tasmania SES assesses flood consequences and prototypes options for flood policy development, planning and management decisions.
The TSFM-RA integrates TSFM models with land-use and vulnerability data to assess flood risk at a strategic scale. Automated GIS-based processes are used to perform complex multi-scale risk profiling. The final overlay provides an ordinal assessment of risk, which will define areas where flood risk is acceptable, tolerable, and not acceptable. To complement the spatial products, outputs include a simulated impact assessment and risk summary for each impacted human settlement area across Tasmania.
The TSFM-RA is a beta system, with plans in place to evolve into an established capacity.
The Flagstaff Group
New South Wales
Flagstaff’s EMBER program, addresses the gap surrounding individuals living with disability and emergency preparedness.
Designed after reviewing outcomes from the Royal Commissions into Fires and the Abuse of People with Disability, the EMBER (Emergency Management Backpack Evacuation Resource) program contains free emergency planning and non-verbal communication Apps, Easy Read Collateral, Braille Checklists and Emergency ‘Go’ bags that cater for a range of disabilities. Initially designed for residents in the Shoalhaven LGA of NSW, EMBER has extended to Illawarra, Shellharbour and Campbelltown LGAs since its launch in June 2022 and continues to grow throughout NSW. The content produced is easily transferrable to the aged care sector, people with low literary levels, and individuals from non-English speaking backgrounds.
EMBER messaging has been relayed to the public using Australian native animal characters and influencer sporting identities with indigenous stories woven into messages.
CALD Community-Locally Led Risk Reduction Project
Australian Red Cross
The CALD Community-Locally Led Risk Reduction project was facilitated by Australian Red Cross in collaboration with CALD communities in Blair Athol, Kilburn and Parks Ward, South Australia. This pilot project was supported by the City of Port Adelaide Enfield and funded by SAFECOM. This project primarily engaged established, as well as new and emerging CALD communities to ideate, design and implement locally-led and culturally appropriate actions through a series of workshops to empower CALD communities to identify their gap in knowledge about emergencies and to co-design localised initiatives to strengthen emergency resilience. The project was pitched around the imperative to consider CALD community voices before, during and after emergencies whereby they are placed at the centre of the decision making around existing emergency management arrangements involving their communities. It was also to seek an understanding of how to work better with CALD communities to achieve the desired outcomes.
As One Nyitting Limited – Using Ancient Technology in contemporary land management
As One Nyitting
The power of First Nation knowledge is awe-inspiring and its durability speaks to the strength, resilience and ingenuity of First Nation peoples on Noongar Boodja. As One Nyitting has been handed down a protected Cultural location from their Ancestors to care for in Gidgegannup, Western Australia. Close to ancient sacred sites, the block holds 170 hectares of bushland surrounded by state forest. In 2020, Nyitting Naturescape (NN), home of the Nyingarn, was devastated by fires that swept through from Woorooloo to Gidgegannup. This disaster has provided a unique opportunity to nurture the land back to health by regenerating the land utilising Ancient technologies, which have proven to be sustainable for over 60 thousand years. NN allows for the engagement of the First nation community to share their knowledge and to educate the non-First nation community to utilise ancient technology in contemporary land management.
CALD Communities Resilience to Risk Project
Multicultural Communities Council of SA (MCCSA)
The Increasing CALD Communities Resilience to Risk project, funded by the South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission, aims to enhance disaster resilience in CALD communities. The project, led by the Multicultural Communities Council of South Australia (MCCSA) and state control agencies, has established a network of bilingual communicators from various communities. These communicators promptly inform communities about disasters and engage them in risk reduction efforts. They receive comprehensive training on Disaster Risk Reduction, enabling effective communication about disaster risks and community involvement. The project aligns with national and state disaster resilience strategies, addressing climate change and natural disasters. By disseminating educational materials and multimedia resources, the project increases awareness and understanding of emergencies among CALD communities. It empowers them to respond effectively and extends the reach of government emergency messaging to vulnerable groups. Ultimately, the project plays a pivotal role in building a more resilient society in South Australia.
Operation Green Shoots@Charleston
Charleston Community Centre Incorporated
Charleston is a small town in the Adelaide Hills of South Australia. The park precinct was gifted to the people of Charleston in the late 1880s by Charles Newman.The Charleston Community Centre Inc is a thriving hub for many activities and recreation within the local community. The devastating Cudlee Creek fires threatened the township of Charleston, leaving much loss in its wake. As a response to this disaster the Charleston Community Centre Inc brought together community members to form the Charleston Response and Recovery Group (CERRG) to provide oversight and direction to develop and instigate a community led emergency response plan, education programs, infrastructure and ongoing funding and development opportunities. We seek to build social capital and resilience in our community to prepare for a sustained recovery from extreme emergencies and natural disasters by providing physical, mental and emotional support through community programs and projects.
Reclaim by RANT Arts
Reclaim is Devonport’s signature Youth Week Tasmania event featuring a series of activities that celebrate, showcase and empower young people from the North West Coast. In recent years North West Tasmania has experienced significant natural disasters which have severely impacted our community.
In 2019-21, along with the rest of the world, we experienced the hardships of COVID. Then in late 2021, in the wake of COVID isolation, the North West Community experienced the devastating Hillcrest Primary School tragedy. This was followed in 2022 by severe flooding which devastated our community once again.
Tasmania’s North West is a community in recovery. Reclaim contributes to our region’s recovery by providing opportunities for our community’s youth and families to come together and celebrate the spirit and talents of young people from North West Tasmania. This in turn enhances social well-being and builds our community resilience.
Sarsfield Community Association
Sarsfield Snaps, a community-led photography project, emerged immediately after the 2020 bushfires in East Gippsland to provide children and young people aged 3-18 years with an opportunity to share their perspective of the disaster. From a small beginning, the project evolved to support almost 70 children and young people across seven townships.
During this time, the photographers:
- developed their photography skills
- grown in independence and confidence
- developed new friendships
- deepened connections with their community
- exhibited their work locally in multiple locations
- exhibited at Melbourne Zoo
- participated in media interviews, podcasts, and state-wide forums
- produced calendars
- created care packs for students affected by bushfires in Europe
- published a photography book
- created tiles to be mounted at a new community centre.
Many photographers have reflected that Sarsfield Snaps has strengthened their relationship with the environment and the people around them.
Whole of community resilience in the Southern Gulf of Carpentaria
Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation
By working together, a group of inspirational and caring locals including Carpentaria Land Council Aboriginal Corporation’s (CLCAC) officers, Indigenous Rangers, and Rural Fire Service volunteers rallied to help their communities to respond, recover, and be resilient following the Monsoon and flooding in March 2023.
While these remote communities are regularly impacted by monsoonal rains and flooding, this devastating disaster resulted in waters rising to unprecedented levels. The majority of Burketown's 150 residents had to be evacuated when the Albert River reached over 7 metres, exceeding the 2011 record flood level of 6.78m. About 40 Burketown houses were inundated with flood water.
The region and its communities heavily rely on local responses and local knowledge and CLCAC’s Burketown based Gangalidda & Garawa Rangers have been instrumental in the preparedness, response, recovery and resilience of these communities, making significant contributions using their traditional and local knowledge and training skills and resources.
The Harkaway Primary Manifesto and Bushfire Safety Committee
Harkaway Primary School
Is there something so important to learn that we have to change the way we teach? At Harkaway Primary School we believe there is. Child Centred Disaster Risk Reduction (CCDRR) is growing in relevance around the world, with the effects of climate change and urban expansion exposing children to more frequent and devastating natural hazards than ever before.
We have worked to rewrite the teachers manual. Harkaway students have collaborated with fire agencies, educators and experts to help design, develop and test new approaches to CCDRR. Imagine a classroom where the learning can change your life! Children can play a vital role in reducing the risks in the spaces where they live, learn and play.
The Harkaway Bushfire Safety Committee have developed a manifesto, educated university students, presented at conferences and assisted in the development of a research-informed approach to bushfire education.
Climate Change Your Tune
New South Wales
Born as a message of action in the catastrophic aftermath of the 2022 Lismore floods, Climate Change Your Tune is an initiative that endeavours to give a voice to children facing the increasingly severe impact and dangers of climate change. The initiative features an original song, composed by Year 6 students, that encourages all people to take action to protect our Earth so as to prevent further natural disasters from occurring. Inspired by SDG 13, Climate Action, this song speaks specifically to the people who are not playing their part in preventing further catastrophe, urging them to change their tune. After experiencing the Lismore floods, losing homes, businesses and their school, the students wanted to take effective and immediate action, creating a campaign to add as many voices to the choir as possible, knowing that many voices are louder than one. Often ignored, they needed to be heard.
Port School 'Resilient and Ready' Program
The Port School 'Resilient and Ready' program equips young people from vulnerable communities with the necessary skills to understand and engage with the growing risks and impacts of natural disasters. By enhancing their resilience, response, and recovery abilities, the program empowers them to actively contribute to reducing disaster risks and impacts.
This innovative initiative brings together students of diverse ages and backgrounds, uniting them under a shared uniform and ethos. It exposes participants to the roles and responsibilities of volunteering in emergency services organisations, augmenting the community's ability to respond to disasters. The program imparts essential qualifications in fire extinguisher training and first aid and cultivates valuable soft skills such as leadership, communication, problem-solving, and empathy. Ultimately, the program equips young individuals to effectively deal with disasters and support their friends, families, and wider communities in preparing for and managing disaster situations.
Woodridge State High School Empowered, Resilient and World Changing!
Woodridge State High School
The Woodridge State High School tree was planted 20 years ago and sits at the front of the high school. This tree has been a meeting place for the school and community for many years. Just like a tree’s growth and development so too has the Woodridge State High School been forced to grow and develop at a rapid rate.
In 2022 the high school faced many changes and challenges, but in the face of adversity the high school learnt to be resilient and learn to see the forest for the trees. The five core areas of resilience that Woodridge State High School focused on were the Human Element, Maintaining our Core Business, Shared Belief of High Expectations, Leveraging Change and Sustainability.
Due to multiple disasters including floods, COVID-19 and a tornado the Woodridge State High School and subsequent community has been forced rally together and change the way the school is run, and the students are educated and cared for. Changing their school timetables to be more flexible, integrating more technology into everyday education and being more opening to suggestion and feedback for educating students are among the many changes made.
Resilient Australia National Local Government Award
Towards Community Led Emergency Resilience
Adelaide Hills Council
Adelaide Hills Council’s Towards Community Led Emergency Resilience program works hand in hand with our community. Acknowledging the intricacies of people’s lives, the diverse contexts they inhabit and the complexity of emergencies; Council’s new Community Resilience Team is building strong relationships with our community by listening, valuing their insights, and taking collaborative action to become better prepared for future emergencies as a local council and as a whole community. As our understanding of the community’s bushfire experience deepens, we are developing new strategies, processes, operations, and staff training to improve our capacity to support our community before, during and after emergencies. We have developed new community programs, workshops, and events, content for our website and education resources. The formation of a dedicated community network further strengthens our collective approach, combining council and community experiences to foster comprehensive community emergency resilience. Our goal is to ensure everyone is well-prepared for disasters.
A memorandum of understanding – facilitating community, resilience, and collaboration across borders.
Balonne Shire Council
The border bubble concept gained attention during the COVID-19 pandemic as strict state boundaries were imposed. While many have moved on from this concept, the Town of Mungindi has embraced it, creating a unique collaboration across borders, and as result, building a resilient community.
Mungindi, with a population of 650, straddles the QLD-NSW border, and is divided by the Barwon River. It falls under the joint responsibility of Moree Plains Shire in NSW and Balonne Shire in Queensland. This town stands out as the only one in the southern hemisphere with the same name and postcode on both sides of the border.
Balonne and Moree have fostered a strong collaborative relationship in recent years, resulting in a joint project to provide Mungindi with a comprehensive service delivery model across state borders. All stakeholders played a crucial role in achieving the project's goals and strengthening the community’s resilience.
Moreton Bay Regional Council Places of Refuge
Moreton Bay Regional Council
The Moreton Bay Region experienced historic levels of rainfall from late February to early March 2022 with many locations within the region recording 75% of their average annual rainfall within a three-day period. This significant event severely impacted the region with widespread flooding affecting many communities.
Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) activated its’ disaster management arrangements to respond to the event. This included activating a number of ‘places of refuge’ (POR) in Council’s library buildings for impacted community members affected by the flooding. The libraries were seen as well-known community meeting points that cut across all demographics no matter your age, culture, religion or status and were not promoted as evacuation centres for temporary accommodation, but somewhere displaced people could receive the latest information, basic needs for life support (e.g. food, water), and, a friendly face or ear in a time of need.
The Paddock: The Goals
Buloke Shire Council
In the aftermath of the Victorian October 2022 flood event, recovery efforts in the Buloke Shire faced a critical challenge with a volunteer fatigue epidemic. However, a transformative vodcast streamed live from a football ground in the Mallee has helped to realign their recovery journey goal posts, shifting their perspective through storytelling, reigniting community passion, sense of purpose, and desire to make a difference.
The launch of The Paddock: The Goals vodcast coincided with the commencement of the North Central League's football, netball, and hockey season, strategically leveraging the community’s deep-rooted active sports culture.
The vodcast brought together the six sporting communities of Birchip, Charlton, Donald, Nullawil, Sea Lake, and Wycheproof, which had all experienced the impact of the floods. Originally launched as a single episode, the vodcast's engagement reach went well beyond these sports grounds, prompting its extension to 10 episodes, further amplifying its community-building influence.
The Simtable Project
New South Wales
In 2019 Ku-ring-gai Council acquired a Simtable from America. Originally this technology was designed as a wildfire planning tool. Council staff explored the Simtables’ potential to engage residents most at risk of bushfire and encourage investment in resources for extreme weather resilience. Ku-ring-gai was the first Council in the world to adopt the Simtable into a structured community education resilience program. Typically urban interface residents underestimate their bushfire vulnerability and assign sole responsibility for risk management to a public authority. Functionally the Simtable is a dynamic portrayal of how fire behaviour is affected by slope, aspect, vegetation type, humidity, fuel dryness, wind speed and direction. The Simtable was integrated into Council's Climate Wise Communities workshops where it serves to vividly demonstrate the difficulty of accurately predicting bushfire behaviour. It challenges the assumption that a fire truck will assist them and focuses their attention on shared responsibility.
Upper Hunter Hall Crawl
Upper Hunter Shire Council
New South Wales
Imagine going back in time to the dance hall days, when the local hall was the epicentre of rural entertainment.
The Upper Hunter Hall Crawl was a series of 'shindigs' located in six quaint country halls across the shire. After the worst drought in eighty years, followed by some of the worst bushfires and floods our region has ever seen - and then COVID - it was time to bring the community together again.
We asked each of the communities what kind of 'shindig' they'd love to see in their old halls and we had some fabulous reactions! Some wanted bush poetry, others reminisced about rock and roll, lots requested country and a few suprised us saying - how about some opera or jazz!
With the help of a grant from the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF) we were delighted that we were able to make it happen.
Post-Flood Repair and Recovery Initiative
Shedding Community Workshop Inc.
New South Wales
Following the February 2022 flood disaster, 'Shedding' commenced our "Post-Flood Repair and Recovery Initiative" - transforming our small-scale workshop to support hundreds of volunteers to salvage, assess, clean, repair, donate and deliver flood-damaged items to flood-affected communities region-wide.
Over six weeks we repaired thousands of items, saving over 20 tonnes of waste from landfill - valuable functional items (fridges, washing machines, furniture), large-scale equipment (generators, chainsaws, dehumidifiers) and invaluable sentimental personal belongings.
As an organisation focused on wellbeing, self-empowerment and community-connection, our workshop offered a safe and trauma-informed environment for all people to connect and contribute to the recovery process. This sense of purpose helped the community to feel seen, heard, valued and resilient during a time of crisis.
As a result, we have identified the need for all-inclusive sheds and repair spaces country-wide and created hands-on training programs and services to support communities to establish their own inclusive workshops for wellbeing.
Harmony on Haig by RANT Arts
In 2022 Harmony on Haig project saw a renewed partnership between RANT Arts and Migrant Resource Centre Northern Tasmania allowing friendships to continue between participants from Launceston’s Bhutanese community and broader community via a series of creative workshops planned to garner community drawings for a co-created outside wall mural for MRC’s Harmony Building in Mowbray.
Co-creation of the mural was guided by designers T3D, an artistic partnership who collaborate with artists, architects, fabricators and building users, to create site specific artworks. Workshops included a social component and celebrated diversity via a cultural exchange featuring food and sharing of stories.
Harmony on Haig aimed to build community resilience by fostering social connections which benefited participant mental health and wellbeing by reducing cultural and social isolation.
NTPFES Wellbeing Project
Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services
The Northern Territory Police, Fire and Emergency Services (NTPFES) Wellbeing Project is a transformative initiative focused on enhancing the wellbeing of our employees and volunteers, and their families. By prioritising their wellbeing, we create a supportive work environment that promotes resilience, mental health awareness and shared experiences.
This project ensures that our people are mentally and emotionally equipped to provide the highest level of service to the community, particularly our first responders. By investing in their wellbeing, we empower them to effectively respond to emergencies and protect the public.
Additionally, this initiative has the potential to inspire the emergency management and resilience sector. Through the implementation of the NTPFES Wellbeing Project, we set a precedent for other organisations to prioritise mental health. This project highlights the significance of fostering a culture of wellbeing within first responder agencies, establishing a new standard for excellence in the emergency management field.
Southern Aurora Memorial
Southern Aurora Memorial Committee
The Southern Aurora train disaster at Violet Town shook the nation, after 9 people died, and most passengers and railway staff were physically injured.
This unique project commemorates 'hundreds of people helping hundreds of strangers' and acknowledges human values on display in an emergency. The complex fire-fighting, search, rescue and responses involved locals, mainly volunteers, who saved and cared for the injured and distressed.
Recovery continues for many people traumatised by the collision and aftermath. At that time there was no counselling processes, nor understanding of the long-term impacts of a significant disaster. The Southern Aurora Memorial project uses a range of art, design and information thus providing opportunities for remembering, reflection, interaction and learning in a large meditative garden space. That is complemented by appropriate social media, information and local interaction.
No shiny fire trucks, no aerial water bombers. Armed with only a leaf blower and dropped in the middle of Arnhem Land by helicopter, these Indigenous rangers respond to wildfire like nobody else. Hundreds of hours, thousands of kilometers – the sheer scale of these fires cannot be comprehended until you are physically on the ground in the middle of it all. Days can turn into weeks, weekends and holidays become non-existent, yet they continue to fight. Every single year.
People ask “Why? You aren’t protecting lives; you aren’t protecting property – so why would you do it?”. Their priority is their land – plants, animals, and sacred sites. This is what is important to them, and wildfire can destroy this in an instant. These rangers don’t receive recognition through service medals, news stories or awards – seeing their country healthy is why they are there, and why they continue even when times get tough.
SASES Swiftwater Technicians
A new dawn!
New South Wales
This windpump is a type of windmill which is used for pumping water on the lakebed of Lake George NSW (or Weereewa or Ngungara in the Ngunnawal language). In my travels as NSW Police Force Regional Emergency Management Officer, I have passed this stand alone windmill on a regular basis over the years. Lake George dried out completely in November 2002 and this pump continued working all alone. The morning I captured this photo as it echoed resilience to me. Over the years communities have been severely impacted by unprecedented fires, severe floods, pandemic, and extreme drought which has tested our individual, community, state, and national resilience. The size and scale of these emergencies has stretched our emergency services to breaking point leaving individuals and individual communities to fend for themselves. Much like this windmill, we have never given up and will never give up. Some days will be a drought and we are on our own, other days we will be living with abundance.
We just need to be inspired by the possibilities of a new dawn!