Macleay residents have experienced 19 disasters in 10 years. If that didn’t already seem like enough, in just one year alone, the community was confronted with a prolonged drought, a catastrophic bushfire season followed by a global pandemic.
This has seen individuals, groups, organisations, businesses and agencies in our shire become incredibly experienced when it comes to disaster preparedness, response, recovery and resilience.
Many community leaders have willingly and amazingly stepped up – from our dedicated Rural Fire Service volunteers and service organisations to local sporting clubs and individuals volunteering their time to help their community.
Kempsey Shire Council General Manager Craig Milburn applauded the leaders who had been so crucial to Kempsey’s resilience and highlighted the need to support them.
“For Kempsey resilience is not a word, it is a way of life,” Mr Milburn said.
“Resilience underpins our community’s ability to be prepared for and navigate these increasingly challenging situations. Our council recognises the importance in working with community leaders to keep building our local capacity to deal with these events.
“To that end council, in partnership with Port Macquarie-Hastings and Bellingen councils, have joined forces with Charles Sturt University to offer scholarships for 12 residents to develop and share key skills and knowledge in preparing communities for future disaster events.
“Offering free access to the university’s community leadership and resilience subjects is one way we can contribute to building on the skills and knowledge of our existing community leaders and encouraging stronger community connections.
Council is also seeking community leaders to form a panel that will assist in allocating $200,000 of one-off Bushfire Recovery Community Grants.