Insights / speaking events

Kangaroo Island’s resilience success story

By renae hanvin

July 13 2023

At Resilient Ready we love celebrating the successes of communities we work with. After all, when one of ‘us’ in the Resilient Ready family shines, we all shine.

Kangaroo Island’s Maria Walters and Fiona Jago shared the stage recently with Resilient Ready’s Renae Hanvin at the Disaster and Emergency Management Conference on the Gold Coast to talk about the Kangaroo Island Business Climate Roadmap and the importance of collaboration.

It was a wonderful platform at which to share the Kangaroo Island Business Climate Roadmap, funded by SAFECOM and the Australian Government, which Maria told the audience was a “game-changer for our local businesses”.

“As we worked together over 15 months, we collectively listened to the needs and capabilities of local businesspeople. It was their needs and capabilities in collaboration with Resilient Ready’s expertise in business community resilience that enabled such a successful outcome,” Maria Waters, Kangaroo Island Business Hub project manager, said.

The expertise in business community resilience that has been brought to our community is a transformative force that will shape the future of our businesses.

Maria Waters

Kangaroo Island Business Hub Coordinator


“By listening to the needs and capabilities of our local businesspeople and embedding lived experiences across all sectors [in the Roadmap], we will continue to cultivate a wealth of knowledge that will enable us to thrive.”

The Gold Coast presentation followed an engaging online case study event with disaster recovery expert Professor Daniel Aldrich and Margaret Moreton, Executive Director for the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR).

Western Kangaroo Island Caravan Park owner Fiona Jago shared her personal story of evacuating visitors to her caravan park, losing the business in the fires, and rebuilding over several years.

“After the fire…we’re currently the only viable business still running. We’ve rebuilt over the last three years…you understand how having a community around you makes a big difference to your business as well,” Fiona said.

Daniel Aldrich, who spent a day with Fiona at her caravan park during a visit to Kangaroo Island, said her social ties and deep community knowledge played a central role in successfully evacuating the 250 people to safety from the caravan park as the fires approached.

“Fiona immediately used her connections and social contacts to find out ‘where can I safely put these people?’ Daniel said “She had enough knowledge, not only of other business people, but where it would be safe for people once the fire got closer.”

The Kangaroo Island project has been an exciting and rewarding one for Resilient Ready, attracting political support at the highest levels with a ministerial press release, but more importantly, gaining traction within the community it was set up to support and uplift.

If you’d like to know more about our Kangaroo Island project, you can read our White Paper, Doing Business Differently in a Changing Climate.

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