- Leading experts will assist regional businesses to plan for and develop disaster resilience at an in-person and online symposium on Tuesday 7 March
- The symposium builds on early work to support and empower community groups and businesses to build resilient regions
- The aim is to provide regional businesses with tools and opportunities to support their recovery from recent disasters and prepare for coming events
Charles Sturt University will host a symposium to share information that will empower regional businesses and give them tools to incorporate into their plans to manage future extreme weather and climate events and disasters.
The symposium, Connecting for Regional Disaster Resilience, is organised by the Members of the Regional Work and Organisational Resilience Sturt Group (RWOR) and will be held at the Centre for Professional Development (CPD) (building 1285) at the University in Bathurst on Tuesday 7 March and can be attended in-person and online.
Co-organiser Dr Jodie Kleinschafer, a Research Fellow with the RWOR and Lecturer in marketing in the Charles Sturt School of Business said the aim of the Disaster Resilience Symposium is to support businesses in the region, with a particular focus on those who have recently experienced the impact of disaster and are in the process of recovering and planning for the future.
“The event will bring together people from the public, private and government sectors with a range of experiences in disaster resilience to share their knowledge,” Dr Kleinschafer said.
“Our aim is to provide businesses in our region with tools and opportunities to support their recovery from recent disasters and prepare for coming events.
“We want to share information that will empower regional businesses and give them tools to incorporate into their plans to manage future events.
“We also want to understand the role of the private sector in disaster resilience and how businesses and communities engage to create resilience.”
The target audience for the event includes regional councils and small to medium regional businesses and businesspeople, while acknowledging that in small communities these people may inhabit overlapping roles of businessperson, local member, volunteer and organiser.
The symposium will host a range of speakers with experience and expertise in the area, including Dr Jean Renouf (Plan C formerly Resilient Byron), Councillor Elly Bird (Resilient Lismore), Renae Hanvin (Resilient Ready), Kerry Pearse (Neighbourhood Care Network Bellingen) as well as showcasing the work of RWOR researchers working in the area.
Leading the group, Associate Professor in Employment Relations in the Charles Sturt School of Business Larissa Bamberry said the team saw increasing incidences of community emergencies, including bushfires, floods and droughts, and was amazed at how well regional communities were managing these events.
“It made us wonder where they found the strength and whether there were lessons to be learned and shared about resilience from our regional communities,” Professor Bamberry said.
“In particular, we were interested in how small businesses might contribute to connecting communities and strengthening the links that we need to be resilient in the face of such challenges.”
The format of the symposium will firstly see speakers present innovative responses being implemented in different regions, share current research, and discuss and share practical tools and strategies they have implemented.
Attendees, speakers and RWOR group members will then work together to understand the work that still needs to be done, exploring plans for what can be done now, and considering how this can inform future policy, practice and workplace strategies.
Finally, researchers and participants will identify potential opportunities and partnerships for research and strategic development that can support and empower community groups and businesses to build resilient regions.
While the symposium is free, organisers ask participants to register at the Eventbrite website.
This is the second such event the RWOR group has held; the first was in September 2022 and looked at the Impact of Climate Change on Regional Workers.
“One great outcome of the first event is a project with Baptist Care looking at the relationship between extreme weather events and absenteeism in their workforce and how to mitigate this risk for their workers,” Dr Kleinschafer said.
“Also, as outlined on the RWOR website, there has been some great research done by the group. For instance, looking at ‘Women in Trades’, the mental health impacts of COVID-19 on frontline workers, and currently the use of body-worn cameras in emergency services.”
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