Community Resilience Network

We’re working to connect communities ahead of a predicted increase in drought events.

Amidst growing awareness of the heavy socio-economic impact of drought on entire communities, a Community Resilience Network will improve capability and collaboration between organisations and groups to reduce harm.

The problem

Drought months in the South West are expected to increase by up to 80 per cent in the next 50 years, according to the South West Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub.

A 2022 UWA research report in which Dr Leanne Lester was the Research Lead: Understanding the social impacts of drought, said drought was not just about a lack of precipitation, but a socio-economic phenomenon.

“The impact of long-term drought can be measured not only in loss of stock and depletion of resources, but also in deterioration of family relationships, loss
of community networks, feelings of uncertainty for the future and feelings of being abandoned by the rest of Australia,” the report said.

“Indirect economic factors which impact on social outcomes include hardship and stress over lost productivity, a declining population, disruption of social
connections, loss of services to the local community and trauma associated with witnessing damage to livestock, crops, soil and native vegetation.”

Among seven recommendations made in the report was: “Strengthening community social networks and social capital”.

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What we’re doing about it

To establish the Community Resilience Network, community leaders and volunteers from a broad range of sectors were sought in six South West shires to participate in local working groups to champion resilience building and support services.

The aim of the groups will be to:

  • Increase community access to suitable support services, especially early intervention tools that help to build individual and community resilience;
  • Share resources and learnings to develop partnerships across the region;
  • Develop plans to further build community resilience.

A series of six online workshops are being held in partnership with Community Resource Centres.

WORKSHOP SCHEDULE

February 23 – What are the social impacts of drought? – Dr Leanne Lester, Centre for Social Impact, UWA. (Workshop Summary)

March 22 – Dealing with stress: Strengthening access to support. – Sam Burgess, #6Bs.

May 3 – How can we develop a framework for community resilience? – Renee Knapp, Think Effective.

June 14 – Financial Services. – Dean Bavich, Rural West; and Michael Monaghan, Farmanco.

August 2 – Community health and well-being services. Roger Hitchcock, Rural Aid; and Terry Melrose, Regional Men’s Health.

September 13 – How can we support Aboriginal and Youth in times of drought? – Kerry Collard, Goomburrup Aboriginal Corporation; and Lisa Burgess, Blackwood Youth Action.

This project is supported by FRRR, through funding from the Australian Government’s Future Drought Fund.

For more information about this project, contact South West NRM Sustainable Agriculture Manager Peter Clifton on email: [email protected]