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Volunteering into the future – disaster events, local governments & communities

TitleVolunteering into the future – disaster events, local governments & communities
Publication TypeConference Paper
Year of Publication2018
AuthorsKruger, T, McLennan, B
Conference NameAFAC18
Date Published09/2018
PublisherBushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
Conference LocationPerth

This century presents us with many environmental challenges and the various types of hazardous events can impact urban, rural and remote communities in different ways. In Australia, councils are the closest level of government to community and many are planning and trialing a range of options to better deal with future disaster events.

The paper reports on findings from RMIT University researchers’ first stage of a Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC project. The research looks at how the emergency management sector over the next decade can best enable the value of volunteering for communities before, during and after emergencies. It explores local governments’ experiences with volunteering around disaster recovery and their views about a preferred future for this volunteering. It describes some of the ways councils work together with community groups and volunteers both trained and those who come forth in response to a disaster, to enhance resilience and recovery.

The research considers ideas about the emergency management (EM) sector and the need to shift and draw upon different perspectives to involve different people to broaden approaches. Improving governance structures, particularly at the state level was considered essential for moving towards the preferred future. There is a need for on-going investment in the provision of a supportive and enabling infrastructure for volunteering such as state-wide data-bases. These can enable engagement, recruitment and preparation of volunteers from across regions to support local government and communities. Interviewees highlighted the need for reform in disaster funding for the recovery process as critical and the need for ratification between state and federal government so local governments and communities have confidence in the EM space. This paper will provide a picture of what the future might look like as local governments strive to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century.

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