Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project [FILM]

Uploaded by VolunteeringQldTV on 03.09.2012

So it is something to think about as we go through this project when we are coming up
with strategies to improve resilience. Letís just not think short term - letís think how
we can build up people in the mid to long term, what can we do now that will have implications
not only in 10, 20 or 30 years down the track, but really into the future. What can we set
up now? What is it that will sustain resilience? What is that it will mean we continue being
able to resist shocks even if they become more frequent?
One of the great things about the Community Resilience Leadership Project, is it's giving
people and community members a platform to discuss their issues around resilience and
to express their emotions around what disaster management is and how it has affected their
lives and what being affected by natural disasters has meant for them personally and I think
we all really benefit from the chance to express ourselves and to feel like we have been heard.
And not everyone has that outlet, so I think that is why these kind of workshops are really
important in order to help communities recover and also celebrate their survival in response
to natural and manmade disasters as well.
So this project is'nt about giving easy answers it is about starting to open up peoples thinking
and give them some initial support.
I am a strong and passionate believer that if get people involved and they start talking
to each other and they start the long process of recovery.
We all gather around the elders, aunties, respectives in our community and we will yarn,
and then the program will unfold.
My perspectives on leadership is that communities lead.
Everyone can make a difference you donít have to be a member of the emergency services
to be involved within your community.
I wanted to come today to actually network with other key players, key leaders, across
the state and get an understanding of what their perception to resilience is.
We are just talking about different ways to interact, I guess as a leader when you are
wanting to enter into a community to affect change.
Even if they are not a strong player, how do you keep in contact with them?
We do look to educate and engage the community all year around.
We are looking at particularly taking some of the community leadership and community
engagement ideas and taking it back to the community.
Finding other ways to live and still thrive.
It is the most amazing experience and I have learnt so much. I canít wait to go home and
think about what we have learnt over the last six days.
Gives you the momentum to want to just keep on getting prepared, and inform more people
to become resilient.
I suppose I think we live quite a beautiful country and I had not really experienced anything
like the floods before and it made me realise that things do happen close to home. So you
need to be prepared and get involved.
I donít think Brisbane is the same now or South East Qld is the same since the floods.
It seems like an edge has been taken off Brisbane and people seem to be more open and receptive.
And I think that is because they have been through Pain. And even though like Vicki,
not everyone shares that pain directly - I think we all hurt because everyone else hurts
and so that is how we have responded.
This project was designed in mid 2010 to bring together community leaders from across the
community so not just specific to just one sector and not just formal leaders but also
informal leaders in the community. To start having some discussion about community resilience
and building preparedness for natural disasters across Queensland.
Being resilient is being able to recover and being able to respond to natural disasters
in this key field that we are looking at. So a resilient community is one that is prepared
that knows the prevention, knows the hazards and collectively as a community looks at how
they can mitigate those hazards.
A resilient community is any community that has sufficient understanding, connectedness
and resources so that community members when they are confronted with a loss of any type
whether it is economic or because of a natural disaster any loss are able to be supported
by their communities so that they bounce forward so that they are well placed and well supported
to deal with their new normals.
So for me resilience is an important thing for all communities to look at in their prevention,
preparedness, response and recovery but resilience has to be owned by the community.
In my mind resilience builds from the ground up. It is just not something that can forced
down from the top. It is something that you build on the existing structures in community
and that is where your community resilience comes. When you do that you build resilience,
not just for bush fire protection or flood protection or cyclone protection. But I think
those community actually becomes able to deal with whatever reverses might come their way.
The resilience leadership project covers a really broad spectrum of topics. Because community
resilience is a really a holistic approach to looking at disaster preparedness and community.
So it is just now about ìHow can we prepare for and respond to natural disasters but it
is about what makes a healthy community and looking at how and why healthy communities
are better able to cope and respond to natural disasters.
Resilience kind of work is slightly different from pure response, it is not just about cleaning
the debris and putting things back in place, but is also what we do throughout the year
to build a resilience. It is almost a way of life for people to think we all now get
affected by disasters. So for us in our case we would believe that as an organisation that
sits centrally that can actually enable that kind of conversation, enable general public
to be better educated and enable the public to get connected with the agencies that require
that engagement.
Some of the strongest feedback that I have had back from the Brisbane Resilience Leadership
Project is peoples appreciation of the diversity of the speakers who came to speak to them.
Iím Kathrine Hain and I am the State Coordinator for Resilience for Red Cross in Queensland.
My name is Bruce Esplin Iím Victoriaís Former Emergency Services Commissioner and now basically
working in business for myself.
My name is Chris Robertson and I am from Warwick and am a member of Qld Fire and Rescue Service
in Preston and I am a VCE or a Volunteer Community Educator for that group.
My name is Dave Morganty and I am the executive officer of the Brisbane District Disaster
Management Group which is based at Alderley.
My name is Jennie Schoof, I am the Project Coordinator of the Aboriginal & Torres Strait
Islander & Natural Disaster Resilience Project.
Iím Cat and I work for Volunteering Qld as a Strategic Communication Officer primarily
for the disaster resilience team.
Hi, Iím Daryl Talor and I live in King Lake in Victoria and I have working for the last
best part of the last three years in disaster recovery with my colleagues in King Lake.
I came home from Work on Tuesday and my House Mates had moved everything from my bottom
floor up onto our top floor. By Tuesday Night the water was halfway through our first story
and then we all kind of left at 8:00pm because we realised we should leave while we could
still walk out ñ like you know waist high in water. We stayed with friends and we came
back the next day and it was already up to the floor of the second story so when the
waters peaked it was halfway through the upper story as well.
I think really Black Saturday was really the stimulation for me in engaging in the work,
I lived in King Lake and we were at home when the fire storm descended on our community
so yes surviving the fire storm and participating in the aftermath and the rebuilding kind of
renewal regeneration process in our community has been an extraordinary learning experience.
When I first moved into the area I live in, Warwick, there were three abled bodied men
in the Valley and we had a bushfire and basically there was every man on deck. But the reason
I joined it was because I grew up with bush fires and I understand how devastating they
can be. And if I can help other people and preserve life that is one of my major aspects
of life.
Disaster management took over and there were some questions about State of Emergency which
was the terminology used through the 70ís, 80ís, and 90ís. There is now the disaster
management act, so where we have a disaster which is a significant or serious event that
is causing significant disruptions across the whole community for an extended period
then the state brings in the disaster management legislation which gives specific powers to
response agencies in particular to police to enable us to deal with those disasters.
It also puts a framework in place where we coordinate all the other government agencies
like health; public works; transport & main roads, department of communities and we coordinate
the response of all those agencies to make sure we are meeting the communities needs
collectively across the whole of government and not just amongst the individual agencies.
And then we also look to get out to opportunities like this to get out to the community and
to talk to members of the community about how the disaster management framework is meant
to work because we can have all the frameworks and things in the world and have all that
structure in place but unless we get out with the community and let them know how it works
and who is involved it's not going to be anywhere near as effective unless we get it out there
in the community and get the support across the community.
So if we have a look at the pyramid here, at the top is local, whether it be ward offices
or management teams all across the city are on the ground reacting to response agencies.
Queensland Police have almost re-written the way you use Social Media to get information
to the community. And Clearly Council in Brisbane is a Big Organisation. Then you have got Health,
youíve got all the hospitals. Youíve got your Utilities so, we need to talk to each
other. We need power, Australian Red Cross, they are the lead agency in the recovery evacuation
centres, Emergency Management Queensland we have no command and control, however we are
at time the oil that keeps all the parts moving or the glue to bind it together when it turns
a bit messy. But we are the person, who this person here will look across the room and
say whose funding that?, Play On, OK, because at some stage it becomes a cost recovery issue
ñ Department of Communities; Police Fire Ambulance & the SES, ok. In Brisbane there
is a dedicated SES Unit with 10 groups in it that the mayor can call on.
State Emergency Service through SES, through their webpage have a number of tips and guidelines
on how you can do that and how you can become involved and Brisbane City Council also on
their webpage have some very good emergency management and disaster management tips, as
well as how you can get involved at a local level in Volunteering and supporting your
local community in preparing for disasters.
The Community Members in my project, really appreciated the diverse angles which these
different speakers came at, and there different point of view on resilience and on disaster
As Emergency Services Commissioner I had the opportunity to spend a lot of time working
with communities and to form some pretty strong views about how important it was that communities
werenít passive recipients of services but were actually active participants in developing
their own safety strategies and I have a great respect for what communities can do to help
themselves if they are allowed to do it.
The culture that we build over the years was that any response and recover any disaster
was something seen as a work that is done by a government agency and that produced some
outcomes over the years but it also produced a side effect which meant that in many cases
local communities were not taking necessarily steps to think about what they can contribute
on a local level. In doing so we have actually lost some of the normal natural attributes
of house-holds, of individuals or communities where the knowledge that you normally hold
in terms of how you are thinking how you respond to any kind of disaster ñ itís kind of been
lost, because we havenít had the conversations, we have not had the discussion around it,
we have not had the projects where local communities have that discussion.
I think a lot of what has happened in the last 25 years has led to increasing vulnerability
at a community level. People have been comfortable but have not developed the suite of skills
that are necessary to be resilient. Institutions and organisations similarly have been comfortable
but have not developed the necessary skills or resources that constitute resilience.
Historically we all get very caught up in our expertise of what we are good at, and
sometimes we all go into, you know as a charger into communities - you know we use our expertise
and solve it. And we forget that the communities are actually the experts in their field.
When people arenít involved in doing their things that are important to their own clean
up and their own recovery, they miss the opportunity of the social connectedness and the creativity
that comes from the social connectedness in that space and it is not about helping the
communities it is about working with them and being in dialogs, it is about coming from
a position of learning not knowing.
We need to come together to work together to collaborate and to look at emerging leaders
and to see how we can build our own resilience and preparedness and how communities can own
that process. Because what happens sometimes that as experts if we come in and own it we
walk away once the job is done but the community wonít sustain it because it is not theirs.
So I think for me the urgency for me to actually having people in the room is learning how
we work together and the benefits of both partnerships coming together is - you canít
put a dollar on that.
We come in with the attitude that they are the experts in their communities, they know
the needs of their communities and they know what their community needs from other bodies
in order to support them.
So I have these Guys working on the IAP2 scale of Participation, we have been talking about
how you engage with communities so they are working through a sheet that looks at those
different levels of engagement. It talks about what they are useful for, when are they appropriate.
What strategies can you use to engage people at that level? What resources you need in
order to be able to do that.
Well basically we were saying is that, again to consult with the community and see what
they have got to say about the matter. The other thing we were talking about was ìProfessional
Servicesî, that the local and remote regions donít have access to. So the discussion was
about actually mobilising the professional services to those remote regions.
This activity was really good to look at ñ What are the positives of those methods, as
well as the challenges that you can face, we looked at empowering the community as well
as working in a collaborative manner.
We are considering the recent floods, so it is a real life situation. We are sort of using
that experience to try and engender conversation amongst us all. There is a diverse array of
opinions around the table which I think is good, I think a lot of what we have learnt
over the last three and half days is coming out to the fore butI do just feel that there
is a lot of diversity and a lot of degree of difficulty in getting consensus.
The participants for the resilience leadership project, self identify as community leaders
we have no constrictions around what their role or their level of activity and community
should be. It is really about fitting out those people who are interested in this topic
and taking it further and championing that back into their communities.
I think the enquiry process has more value than the imposition of the model of resilience
from the outside. By encouraging dialog, by getting people together from different perspectives
in communities. The richness evolves people will evolve into models like what we have
evolved in King Lake, because we participated in a dialog about it, because we learnt from
each other because we came to it with a sense of humility - an interest in each otherís
perspective, we were able to evolve quite a sophisticated understanding of resilience
and I see that as the incredible value of participatory processes.
Coming from a failing community, which has gone through droughts and gone through floods,
it has gone through house fires. You will find that there are sectors of the community
that will always get behind and try and pick up the pieces and that to me is the resilience
within the communities and it does not always succeed. We have people who just give up.
We have people who commit suicide. We have people who do other things, but the community
in Australia does have that ability to actually get together and do things for other people
who are in less fortunate situations than ourselves and I think that is why I am here
is because we need people to actually stand up first and say ìWhat can we do?î so when
Someone stands up and says ìWhat can we doî the rest of the community can stands up and
says ìWell, letís do thisî.
Yep I agree, I agree entirely.
When you see what is still yet to be done and how much economic and social and emotional
recovery is yet to come for so many people over and over a broad cross section. I think
that is evidence that we are not very resilient because so many people got so far to go in
being able to recover from you know last year events, so I donít think we are very resilient
at all.
... has spoken he showed a picture of a village in Kenya and he showed a picture of people
in Goulburn, and he said these two villages had exactly the same amount of normal water
use, they had exactly the same amount of water reduction and that in Goulburn they were trucking
in water and in Kenya they were dying. So this speaks very much to the resilience that
we have because we are actually, one very large community, and so it is interesting
when we look to see where we sit on the Continuum, it is sort of real as compared to what and
to whom?
When you have a disaster or an emergency situation. There are two pathways, you can create Victims
or you can create Survivors and the role for the government should be to make everyone
a survivor and to be a survivor you should have an opportunity to form decisions for
yourself. It is not the cavalry coming in on their white chargers and doing everything
for people, it is letting people take their time, do it at a time that suits them but
make decisions that influence the way they rebuild their lives.
One of the opportunities that would have been generated had we been able to do our own clean-up
was we would of recycled a lot of the material instead of it going to the dump. We would
of also realised that with 770 houses lost that there was an incredible opportunity to
collectively purchase materials to work on each otherís properties, to do these kind
of things using social processes, social technology, not infrastructure based technologies so that
peoples local solving generates more opportunities for local people. And so as a consequence
community rebuilding could have been both physical and social.
I think the benefit, what I see as a community practitioner, is that over the six days people
come in and they think they have their expert hats on and then they come in with a role
ñ so you will have Emergency Services, you will have Government, you will have Not for
Profit, and then you will have Community members and actually having them all the room and
actually all getting to talk about how they could work together and what is required in
the community puts them at a level field where they can discuss that ìhow can we work togetherî,
ìHow do we look at leadership as being an adaptive tool to know when we need to come
to the forefront, when do we come to the side. How do we engage and excite community and
inspire community to come together and leadership plays an important role in that, so this training
program is a conduit for all of those players to come together and learn from each other
and also learn skills on how to communicate and work together as a whole community and
not as experts in our field.
What this project really wants to have as an impact is a range of people working in
communities in leadership positions whether that's formal or informal. Who have this knowledge
and understanding behind them and who can take that and use it where it is applicable
and take what is important for them and use that and champion that in their own ways.
I think that since especially in Emergency Services we were so heavily involved with,
January on-wards, whether it be floods or Cyclones or landslides or anything else that
happened. It certainly made me proud of the fact that everyone can make a difference.
You donít have to be a member of emergency services to be involved within your community
and the resilience that came out of people coming to clean up or help someone else, I
think that it just makes me proud of being a human being.
In all my experience in all the meetings with thousands and thousands of people ñ who are
angry ñ who are emotional ñ where emotions are pretty close to the surface they are actually
raw. I think resilience, resilient communities are informed communities. They are communities
who are given the right honest open information and they know what to do with it when they
get it. And they are communities who know that there is not just one pathway on a journey
sometimes the longer journey, the longer course might just be the successful course to get
to a solution, so it might not be just the shortest or quickest way sometimes you just
might have to take an alternative approach to actually bring about the building and achievement
of the state of resilience within the community.
So we have had at the Brisbane Resilience Leadership Project, everyone came up and reflected
on, what they are going to do what they are going to action out of having been a part
of this and itís really been amazing some of the stuff that has come out of this project
for people, so whether that is someone finally put together ìtheir stay/go kitî, so that
they are ready for the next storm season to another person who is from a men shed going
out and sending information to all the men sheds around Queensland about preparedness.
So there is a really wide variety of actions that people are going to take out of this,
that is really going to have impact across a wide variety of communities across Queensland.
I found that was excellent, because I made a lot of friends, and I realise now that there
are a lot of avenues that we can use and we should be able to use those.
It was eye opening, I really did not know anything about resilience before this and
so I have learnt a lot about communities and just what we can do.
What is one step they can make towards becoming resilience?
Get to know your neighbours.
Start small and whatever little step you can make in that right direction whether it be
you know in your own family or where you have your own influence in your community.
My idea of community resilience is the fact that we all can work together to create a
better community around us and that everyone is able to work in that field. Doesnít matter
how big or small they are.
Its been really interesting getting everybody elses perspectives - especially around community
development and engaging community. Where my experience has been engaging individuals,
it is nice to get community perspective.
So we have to be very much self reliant to be able to move forward after a disaster.
Just because you are a bit isolated, it does not mean to say you have been forgotten that
there are a lot of places in Brisbane, other big areas that you can go to find out that
information that you need, you just have got to be able to ask.
Having done the course, I can say it has been extremely informative and very motivational
and the two leaders Tal and Cat were excellent - very good presenters and facilitators and
the speakers were brilliant so I am going out their armed and ready to save the world.
It was awesome I canít begin to tell you how much I gained from it, just the wealth
of information, the networks, the people I have met, the passionate people that I have
met, it was really fantastic.
And is your home disaster prepared?
My home? My personal home.. yes, yes it is, it has to be because I canít go to community
areas and preach to be prepared, act and how to survive in a disaster or bush fire or anything
if my home is not done.