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. Since 2018, over 50 Natural Disaster Declarations have been made by the NSW government. These declarations recognise the severity of an event by enabling Commonwealth Government Funding.

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 working to increase 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.

Let’s Talk … Disaster Resilience

Hunter Joint Organisation has collaborated with 11 partner councils, combat agencies, communication experts and the ABC to explore the challenges faced by Councils in the region when it comes to communicating about disasters. As a result, a Disaster Communications Planning Framework has been developed to guide Councils through key communication resources and structures that assist with preparing to communicate in a disaster situation. An additional toolkit has also been developed to help Council Comms teams get started in their communication response. This work has been funded under the joint State and Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program.

A copy of the Framework can be found here.



Get Ready for Disasters – A Resource Kit for the Community Services Sector

This Resource Kit is a compilation of existing resources and materials developed by a range of organisations that focus on preparing for, responding to and recovering from natural disasters and emergency events.
The Resource Kit aims to support the community services sector to more easily research, access and integrate information and materials on disaster preparedness within their core business activities, and to better engage, communicate with and prepare their clients and communities for natural disasters and emergencies. The resources it contains can be used by the sector to support
staff training, to inform corporate risk assessment and disaster planning, and to support direct engagement and communication with the clients and communities they service.

A copy of this Resource Kit can be found in our Resource Library.


Beat the Heat

The frequency and intensity of heatwaves in Australia is increasing, with the length, extent and severity of current heatwaves unprecedented in recorded meteorological history. Climate change modelling also identifies that this trend will continue, meaning more frequent, hotter and longer lasting heatwaves.

With heatwaves already killing more Australians than any other natural disasters (Commonwealth of Australia, 2011), this trend is expected to only increase the number of heat-related illnesses and deaths occurring in Australia, particularly within more vulnerable or `at risk’ communities including:

  • The elderly
  • The very young
  • People with a disability
  • Indigenous communities
  • Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities
  • Low income households
  • Outdoor workers
  • The socially isolated
  • Those with existing medical conditions

Please find below our downloadable ‘Beat the Heat’ Resources, free for council and community use:


Disaster Preparedness for ‘at risk’ community groups

Hunter Joint Organisation, in partnership with Lake Macquarie, Wyong and Gosford Councils and the University of Newcastle undertook social research on both short and long term effects on individuals, families and communities from extreme climate events and associated natural disasters. The research seeks to build the preparedness of `at risk’ communities to natural disasters. The project was funded through the Natural Disaster Resilience Program, Auxiliary Disaster Resilience Scheme – a joint initiative of the NSW and Commonwealth Governments.

The project developed a number of recommendations on how to effectively communicate with the various ‘at risk’ communities to increase their preparedness and response to extreme climatic events.

The project used detailed spatial analysis to identify geographical localities where communities are relatively more vulnerable to natural disasters and extreme climate events. Focus groups were then held in these localities for those community members considered most vulnerable, including low income families with young children and other low income earners, aged populations, people with a disability and Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities. Analysis of the discussions held reveals that, consistent with the international literature for these local communities, risk of both short and long term adverse outcomes post natural disaster is exacerbated by the combination of exposure and vulnerability.

The project developed a number of recommendations on how to effectively communicate with the various ‘at risk’ communities to increase their preparedness and response to extreme climatic events.

A copy of the final project report can be found in our Resource Library.