The East Gippsland Building Community Resilience project was a winner of the Fire Awareness Award in the Community-led Prevention and Preparedness section along with Indigenous Fire Knowledge Partnership on December 2nd, 2015 at the RACV Club in Melbourne. This was a partnership between the Centre for Rural Communities and the East Gippsland Network of Neighbourhood Houses to invest in local knowledge through the creation of hubs in Buchan, Bruthen, Nowa Nowa, Orbost, Goongerah and Tubbut using the study circle kit ‘Building community futures through co-operation’ now available on-line www.ruralcommunities.com.au
This regional approach to building resilience was funded by Regional Development Victoria. Great to have recognition for the importance of local knowledge in planning and offers of further support from CFA and state groups. Evelyn Schmidt, Suzanne Davies from Buchan Neighbourhood House, Liz Falkiner from Orbost Neighbourhood House, Annie Pearce from the Bruthen and District Citizen’s Association and myself from the Centre for Rural Communities and the Nowa Nowa Resilience Group. The project is a multi-layered approach to locating reasonable responsibility within communities – it is about change within communities, between communities and between communities and agencies.
While this project has ended new partnerships are beginning:
- Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning have resulted with a pilot communication project with Bruthen, Buchan and Nowa Nowa through triggering of phone trees and public contact points
- Bruthen study circle have continued the work of Boulder Bush Beats – that uses puppets and music to involve children and families in bushfire preparedness. CFA and East Gippsland Shire have funded this involvement for Tambo Upper School, Bruthen Primary School, Goongerah Primary School – other schools are interested.
- Gippsland Lakes Community Health – welcoming the Nowa Nowa Resilience group as a volunteer organisation and purchasing a lap-top and analogue phone for the group.
- East Gippsland Shire Council – has supplied a flat-screen TV for the Nowa Nowa general store for emergency warnings
- East Gippsland Network of Neighbourhood Houses is now a member of the Municipal Emergency Management Plan
- Orbost Neighbourhood House is a member of the DELWP round table
The Centre for Rural Communities and the East Gippsland Neighbourhood Houses would welcome further partnerships to resource this on-going involvement of local people in planning and preparedness.