- Charles Sturt academics to strengthen disaster resilience of community organisations through the development of Disaster Resilience Plans
- The DRPs will allow organisations to continue to deliver vital services during disasters, such as floods or fires
- Workshops will be conducted from April to June 2021
Australia has been subjected to its fair share of disasters in recent times and a group of Charles Sturt University researchers are ensuring community groups are prepared for the next one.
Charles Sturt Lecturer in Social Work and Human Services Dr Heather Boetto, Associate Professor in Social Work and Human Services Karen Bell and Acting Head of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences Dr Wendy Bowles, all in Wagga Wagga, are conducting research to strengthen the Disaster Resilience Plans of community service organisations.
Demand for community groups and their services increases during times of disaster and Dr Boetto said the project aims to promote disaster preparedness and enable the continued provision of services.
The Riverina has experienced significant disasters in the past decade, including the Black Summer bushfires in 2019-2020 and the flooding of the Murrumbidgee River in 2010 and 2012 and the evacuation of the central business district that followed.
“This highlighted the uncertainty of community organisations about their role in responding to local needs and lack of preparedness for overcoming service disruption,” Dr Boetto said.
“These experiences reflect the need for community organisations to increase awareness, build resilience, implement strategies and develop plans for delineating their roles and responsibilities and ensuring service continuity.”
The researchers will conduct a series of workshops from April to June 2021 to assist organisations develop Disaster Resilience Plans, including local inter-agency and cross-sectional networking, organisational risk assessments, revision or creation of risk registers, business continuity plans and recovery plans.
Wagga Wagga City Council is a supporter of the research and council’s Director of Community Ms Janice Summerhayes, who is also on the project’s advisory group, said the research could have widespread benefits.
“The project is a really worthwhile and important response to supporting non-government organisations in being informed and prepared for their services when disasters occur locally,” she said.
“The partnership project draws experience and knowledge from Charles Sturt University, state government, council and from important response agencies, like the Red Cross and SES.”
The project is funded by the NSW Government Natural Disaster Resilience Program and organisations can register by emailing Myf Clark at email@example.com.
Workshops will be held at the National Wine and Grape Institute Centre training centre and are also available for participants to attend via video conference.