Monday, 31 August 2020 16:40

President's message: planning for resilience

As we continue to navigate Covid-containment and adjust our behaviours, the changing weather is a reminder of seasons shifting; it's timely to consider the precautionary measures we can put in place before the warmer months take off.

While we hope to avoid the extremes of last year’s bushfire season, it was disheartening to receive the outcomes from the NSW Inquiry into the 2019-2020 Bushfire Emergency, which referenced the role of local government in just one of 76 recommendations.

Attendees at the WSROC Board meeting in February this year will recall the collective experiences shared at that time, in discussion with then-Rural Fire Services Commissioner Shane Fitzsimmons, which reflected the unique experience of each council throughout the disaster. These cumulatively demonstrate urgent problems with current Emergency Management practice and planning across strategic, governance and operational levels.

WSROC has called for several actions - including a differentiated approach for urban, peri-urban and rural communities - to avoid an extreme planning shortfall in facing future emergencies that will leave councils, again, exposed to extreme pressure on communities, people and resources. This issue has implications for the future resilience of councils facing not just bushfire but other emergency scenarios, including pandemic, heatwave, storms and floods. Subsequently, emergency preparedness and response is likely to become a more pressing advocacy point in the months ahead.

In the past year, WSROC urban heat mitigation initiatives have continued to evolve with projects such as Cool Suburbs and Heat Smart, updated in our Annual Report, to be distributed in the coming weeks. This week marks Emergency Preparedness Week, and the Red Cross has launched a free app to assist with determining what your plan will be in the event of an emergency. This is a great tool to help consider what factors you may face, and to pre-empt the extremes of summer with personal planning. 

Remember to check the Arts and culture e-news section for what is coming up in Spring throughout our region, as well as related reading in Topical reads.

Last modified on Tuesday, 15 September 2020 10:55