Thursday, 25 February 2021 15:22

Heat Smart Framework

Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils’ (WSROC) is currently consulting on its draft Heatwave Preparedness and Response Framework which seeks to provide recommendations for improved heatwave management in the region.

WSROC President, Clr Barry Calvert, said “Heatwaves are widely recognised as one of the deadliest hazards in Australia and a key priority for Western Sydney. Nevertheless, we do not have the same types of emergency arrangements in place for heatwave as we do for other hazards such as bushfires, floods or storms.

“The development of a Heatwave Framework is part of Heat Smart Western Sydney, a project which seeks to improve resilience to heatwaves amongst vulnerable groups such as the elderly, those living with chronic illness and low-income households.

“A key part of keeping our residents safe, is ensuring the broader emergency management system is working to support vulnerable groups,” said Clr Calvert.

“When looking to improve our management of heatwaves, we first need to understand the landscape in which we are working – governance structures, formal and informal practices, as well as barriers and opportunities for improvement.

Heat Smart Western Sydney conducted a thorough review of current heatwave management practices in Western Sydney. The project has been consulting with local stakeholders including Regional and Local Emergency Management Officers, council staff, health districts and community organisations to inform the Heatwave Preparedness and Response Framework.

“This Framework provides a critical pathway to better address heatwaves in Western Sydney and will inform further work. The Framework will also inform the next stage of the Heat Smart project which involves engaging with communities, local organisations and facilities,” said Clr Calvert.

Heatwave Preparedness and Response Framework recommendations:

Governance and risk

  • Define a lead agency for heatwave emergency risk management
  • Enhance heatwave emergency planning to improve clarity of roles and responsibilities
  • Conduct local heatwave risk assessments for Western Sydney
  • Enhance heatwave warning systems to ensure they are locally tailored and targeted


  • Develop cooler suburbs (e.g. water, greening, cool materials and orientation)


  • Improve identification of vulnerable individuals and facilities
  • Improve electricity affordability for vulnerable individuals
  • Investigate availability of air conditioning for public/ community housing
  • Design homes for passive survivability (e.g. maintaining survivable conditions in the absence of air-conditioning)
  • Investigate the provision of heatwave planning within aged care facilities
  • Implement targeted awareness campaigns focused on preparedness and planning
  • Improve local government emergency management capacity
  • Enhance capacity of community organisations and funded service providers, and improve integration with emergency management arrangements
  • Engage with real estate and property management industry about how to support their clients
  • Improve small business continuity planning
  • Provide cooled water facilities where practicable


  • Provide outreach programs during heatwave events
  • Provide local temperature monitoring to help individuals seek out cooler places
  • Plan for the provision of cooling shelters and integration of partner organisations


  • Evaluation of heatwave risk management strategies

The draft Heatwave Preparedness and Response Framework is currently open for review and feedback. If you would like to review the Framework, please get in touch with Kelly Gee on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 02 9671 4333.

Heat Smart project partners include: Blacktown, Cumberland, Hawkesbury, Liverpool, Parramatta, Penrith and Western Sydney’s three local health districts (Western Sydney, South Western Sydney and Nepean Blue Mountains).

This project is funded by the NSW Government Community Resilience Innovation Grants.

Last modified on Thursday, 25 February 2021 15:54