The Disaster Resilience and Risk Mitigation program in the Malabugilmah and Baryulgil Discrete Aboriginal Communities has won a prestigious Get Ready NSW Community Award.
Announced by Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott and Commissioner of Resilience NSW Shane Fitzsimmons at an online awards ceremony last week, the award recognises the work of Clarence Valley Council and fifteen stakeholders to improve infrastructure and disaster resilience in these remote communities.
Clarence Valley Council’s Director of Corporate and Governance, Laura Black, said the project was not just about improving services available to remote Discrete Aboriginal Communities, but also working with these communities to help them achieve their own goals through community-led place-based projects.
“During these challenging times of concurrent natural disasters, we have seen first hand how local people have come together to collaborate and contribute to the creation of a more resilient community,” Ms Black said.
“This project saw us take a proactive approach to disaster risk reduction and mitigation investments, and in partnership with these communities and numerous external stakeholders, a Neighbourhood Safer Place has been identified and established, providing these communities with a last resort safe refuge in the event of a natural disaster. “
Transport NSW co-funded significant Roads and Bridges infrastructure improvement programs. During recent disasters the Discrete Aboriginal Communities of Malabugilmah and Baryulgil have been cut off and isolated due to bridge failures and unsafe roads.
Through stakeholder collaboration other critical infrastructure improvements have been installed, such as improved water security for both public health and resilience in disasters such as drought and bushfires, in these Discrete Aboriginal Communities.
Ms Black said the success of the project came down to the fact that it was co-designed on Country, with the communities taking a lead role in design and participation. The successful outcomes for these communities has been through collaboration and actively listening to the needs of the Aboriginal Communities.
“Clarence Valley Council’s partnership with the Malabugilmah and Baryulgil communities has been pivotal to creating positive change” she said.
“We know there are many shining examples of important work being carried out in the area of disaster resilience and we are proud ours was among those recognised as part of this prestigious awards program.”
Minister Elliott said the two awards programs, the Resilient Australia Award and the NSW Get Ready Community Award 2021, received a record number of submissions this year and thanked all applicants for supporting their local communities through the challenging year.
“It has been a protracted period of unprecedented emergencies; from drought to bushfire, storm and flood, to a mouse plague and global pandemic,” Minister Elliott said.
“There has never been a more important time to celebrate and inspire initiatives that help us better prepare for, respond to and recover from disasters.
“All of our finalists have demonstrated the courage, ingenuity and community spirit that is at the heart of resilient communities. I extend my heartfelt thanks to them and hope they can continue to inspire others to take up the mantle to promote a resilient Australia.”
Commissioner Fitzsimmons said moving the awards ceremony online for a second year due to COVID-19 restrictions only emphasised the need to forge ahead and come together in shared admiration for the special efforts made over the past year.
“Over the past few years, communities across NSW and indeed Australia, have shown just how incredibly resilient they are,” Commissioner Fitzsimmons said.
“Locals know best what their communities need to help them recover and build resilience, and I’m delighted by the diversity of projects recognised by these awards programs.
“Their efforts, and the efforts of so many others not directly recognised by these award programs, are humbling.”