National community-led disaster organisation
A working group has been established to develop a national community-led natural disaster organisation.
The working group was established on 2 August at the Fire and Rain conference hosted by the Centre for Civil Society. It comprises people who have been engaged in recent challenges around Australia with fire, flood, drought and wind.
Kate Lawrence of Macedon in Victoria is convening the group.
As in so many areas of Australian life, the infrastructure, resources and capacity of community-led organisations in natural disaster prevention, prepararedness, response and recovery, are weak compared to the infrastructure, resources and capacity of government agencies and services. Yet in the COAG National Disaster Resilience Strategy adopted in February 2011, Australian governments acknowledge the critical role that communities must play in what they call a "whole-of-nation" response to the challenges of living with fire, flood, wind, and drought.
At the moment, the capacity of communities to self-organise effectively in the face of natural disasters is limited by many factors. Chief among these is the dominance of government agencies and services in the field, even as these agencies call for a stronger community input into all aspects of preparedness, prevention, response and recovery.
At the Fire and Rain conference, community participants spoke repeatedly of the marginalisation of community members in a field that relies principally on the community to achieve its goals. The experience of being one community voice in a room of 60 government voices is commonplace, and characterises the deep imbalance between government and civil society in our social development.
A one-day workshop will be held in November to explore the shape of a national community-based and community-led organisation which will aim to right this imbalance.
Kate Lawrence may be contacted at email@example.com
Further nformation: http://www.civilsociety.org.au/FireandRainConferenceNominations.htm