from COAG National Disaster Resilience Statement 7 December 2009
A disaster resilient community is one that works together to understand and manage the risks that it confronts. Disaster resilience is the collective responsibility of all sectors of society, including all levels of government, business, the non-government sector and individuals. If all these sectors work together with a united focus and a shared sense of responsibility to improve disaster resilience, they will be far more effective than the individual efforts of any one sector.
For research supporting the need for community preparedness refer to the Australian Journal of Emergency Management
References to the need for community preparedness appear in the State Emergency Plan (see excerpts below) where there is an emphasis on risk communication
Consistent with the National Disaster Resilience Strategy, the community needs to be equally prepared as response agencies for the impacts of all hazards
Yet despite Federal and State Government commitments community are excluded from the Emergency Planning process in this region – a region with a growing port (from 2 million to beyond 10 million TEU) and the biggest cluster of Major Hazard Facilities in NSW.
Correspondence to Ministers for Emergency Services, Director Generals of Premiers and Cabinet and the Premier have not elicited any commitment to engage the community. Within a couple of weeks of this letter from Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Mike Gallagher Geoff Provest 23 June 2013 a major event occurred
The 1km exclusion zone referred to in the video included residents in Matraville but there was no notification and no followup to describe to these residents and those within 2-3km how the incident had been handled and how greater collaboration might make for better handling in the future – see more details of incident. And the Botany Bay Precinct Emergency Plan which notably has no reference to community preparedness.
The most recent response received from Parliamentary Secretary to Minister Stuart Ayers, Niall Blair, was written after twice contacting Blair Comley, Director General of Premiers and Cabinet (replaced Chris Eccles who departed after Mike Baird became Premier). Niall Blair 21 January 2015
Extracts from NSW Emergency Plan
108 Consistent with the State Emergency and Rescue Management Act 1989 (SERM Act), the objectives of the EMPLAN are to:a) provide clarity as to command and control, roles and coordination of functions in emergency management across all levels NSW State Emergency Management Plan b) emphasise risk management across the full spectrum of prevention, preparation, response and recoveryc) emphasise community engagement in the development and exercise of plans as well as
in their operational employment d) ensure that the capability and resourcing requirements of these responsibilities are understood.
116 Community and Stakeholder Engagement: Community and stakeholder engagement is a critical aspect of emergency management across the full spectrum of prevention, preparation, response and recovery. Agencies will engage with the community and stakeholders which will improve community understanding of these arrangements and promote disaster resilience.
119 Disaster Resilience: Disaster resilience is an outcome derived from a sharing of responsibility between all levels of government, business, the non-government sector and the community who then act on this basis prior to, during and after a disaster. Disaster resilience is significantly increased by active planning and preparation. A shared understanding of the disaster risks at community level is a vital precursor.
121 The nexus between community and government to achieve resilience will vary, but should as much as possible be via the existing channels that work for each community.
Community and Stakeholder Engagement
139 The community is a vital part of the New South Wales emergency management arrangements. Agencies preparing plans under the EMPLAN will engage with the community and stakeholders, promote community understanding of the hazards they face, seek their input into the development of plans, especially at the local level, and involve communities and stakeholders where appropriate in exercising these plans.
140 This engagement enhances resilience, reduces exposure to hazards through mitigation, maximises community preparation to act effectively in the face of emergencies, and therefore allows the emergency management arrangements to target their efforts at the places, times and populations most vulnerable to a disaster.
141 Timely and accurate warning information for the public is vital during emergencies. These warnings should include advice about options and the likely impacts of an event.
142 Combat Agencies have statutory responsibilities to issue warnings and public information regarding their particular hazards. All agencies should consider the provision of public information in their planning processes.
143 Public information and warnings are disseminated pre, during and post-event using the full suite of traditional and social media. The necessity for different organisations to issue a warning pertinent to their agency role may be triggered by the same event, and efforts should be made to ensure that appropriate coordination occurs to ensure comprehensive information is issued.
602 Disaster preparation is the responsibility of the whole community; government and not-forprofit agencies, business and industry, local communities, individuals and households. Preparation activities delivered in partnership between all agencies, organisations and communities help build engaged and resilient communities.
603 Key elements of preparation include:
building community resilience
606 Sub plans detail roles and responsibilities of all relevant agencies and how command and control is exercised and include arrangements for handover of responsibility between Local, Region and State levels. Where there are tiered plans at State, Region and Local level, these must be integrated. Plans should be developed with input from the community and include the community’s role.
Building Community Resilience
614 Consistent with the National Disaster Resilience Strategy, the community needs to be equally prepared as response agencies for the impacts of all hazards and in particular, the impacts of natural disasters.
615 Resilient communities are better able to withstand a crisis event and have an enhanced ability to recover from residual impacts.
616 Community engagement may be hazard specific or take an all-hazards approach. Regardless of the approach, it is important that messages are consistent and coordinated across all programs. Community education and awareness campaigns aim to:
develop awareness of the nature and potential impacts of hazards
promote personal responsibility for managing risks and preparation for emergencies
develop awareness of emergency management arrangements and assistance measures
encourage community participation in volunteering and infrastructure protection activities.
The process of informing the community as to the nature of the hazard and actions needed to save lives and property prior to and in the event of disaster.