Disaster Resilience

Disaster Resilience

Natural disasters such as floods, severe storms, bushfires and heatwaves, significantly impact on lives, property and the environment. They typically require a substantial and coordinated multi-agency and community commitment to both response and recovery.

These disasters have a significant financial and social impact upon the residents of the state. Over the last 14 years more than 220 Natural Disaster Declarations have been made by the NSW government. These declarations recognise the severity of an event by enabling Commonwealth Government Funding. These disasters have affected nearly every Local Government Area across the state.

There is increasing evidence that investment in disaster preparedness provides  significant savings in response and recovery.

The Australian Governments’ Productivity Commission Report into Natural Disaster Funding highlights the unsustainable nature of post disaster recovery funding, identifying the need for greater investment into mitigation efforts.

Effective, collaborative disaster preparedness leads to increased community  and organisational resilience.

The Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils is undertaking two discrete, yet interconnected, projects focussing on increasing disaster preparedness in local government and Community Service Organisations.

These projects are both funded under the joint State and Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program

Resilience is the capacity of individuals and communities to respond and recover quickly from events with reduced impacts on persons and property.

Disaster Ready Councils

Disaster Ready Councils

Integrating Natural Disaster Preparedness into Local Government Operations through the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) Framework – The Disaster Ready Councils Initiative.

This project recognises the significant opportunity for local government to build the resilience of their local communities to natural disasters, by integrating resilience planning across the range of core functions and services Councils provide including;

  • land use planning,
  • community development and support,
  • infrastructure management,
  • community education,
  • communications,
  • environmental management
  • local emergency management).

Being prepared puts Council in a favourable position to efficiently and effectively continue to deliver standard services to the community during and after an emergency. Equally importantly Councils also are ready to take a leadership role in recovery. With an understanding of community capacity and capability and resources, a Disaster Ready Council will partner with its community to recover quickly and effectively.

Hunter Joint Organisation of Councils has identified the key focus areas for Councils to consider via a series of forums across NSW. These forums were held in partnership with the Office of Emergency Management and Statewide Mutual and were designed to introduce the importance of disaster preparedness for Local Government. Councils in attendance collectively identified a range of issues associated with planning for, and recovering from, extreme event impacts. The presentations form the forums are available on our past events page.

The project will continue in 2018 with specialist workshops on identified issues form the forums that Council’s identified as areas requiring further resources or information. These will be collated into an overall guideline for Councils to assist them to become Disaster Ready when implemented.

Project Partners are the Australian Red Cross, Local Government NSW, NSW Office of Local Government, and the Hunter Central Coast, Interagency Disaster Resilience Group.

Six Steps

Six Steps

Community Service Organisations (CSO’s) play a critical role in supporting vulnerable people and communities. This role is magnified during natural disasters, particularly with recovery efforts. Strengthening the disaster resilience of these organisations strengthens the resilience of the community as a whole.

The importance of this role is being increasingly recognised; however CSOs are often not well prepared for the impacts to their services in these events. As a result they may be unable to provide core services to their clients and communities at times when they are most needed.

A key mechanism to prevent such disruption is to have a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) in place. The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) has developed the “6 Steps to Resilience” framework which is designed to guide CSOs through the process of developing a BCP.

2018 will see the roll out of a series of forums and follow-up workshops to assist CSO’s develop a practical all hazards BCP. These occasions will be advertised through a range of networks and media including our Events Page. Guidelines will be developed and provided for the completion of a template BCP, using the resources of the 6 Steps to resilience webpage assist CSO’s to work independently to prepare their BCP.

Project Partners include the Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS), Cessnock City Council, Lake Macquarie City Council, Newcastle City Council, Port Stephens Council, Singleton Council, Muswellbrook Shire Council, Upper Hunter Shire Council, Maitland City Council, Dungog Shire Council, Central Coast Council  and Mid Coast Council, NSW Police, Samaritans Foundation, Hunter New England Local Health District, NSW State Emergency Service and Hunter Central Coast Interagency Disaster Resilience Group.

For further information please refer to our Factsheet.

Useful Links

Useful Links

NSW Agencies

Office of Emergency Management – emergency.nsw.gov.au

Rural Fire Service – rfs.nsw.gov.au

State Emergency Service – ses.nsw.gov.au

Fire & Rescue NSW – fire.nsw.gov.au

Department Primary Industries – dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies

Local Land Services – lls.nsw.gov.au/emergency

NSW Health – health.nsw.gov.au/emergency_preparedness/

Commonwealth Agencies

Emergency Management Australia – ag.gov.au/EmergencyManagement/

Disaster Assist – disasterassist.gov.au

Other Entities

Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR) – aidr.org.au

AIDR Knowledge Hub – knowledge.aidr.org.au

Bushfire and Natural Hazard Cooperative Research Centre – bnhcrc.com.au

Red Cross – redcross.org.au/get-help/emergencies