Insights / Thought leadership forum

Taking a Snapshot of Resilience in SA

By Renae Hanvin

May 22 2024

In an Australian first, this week Resilient Ready joined forces with global disaster recovery expert Daniel Aldrich and SAFECOM’s disaster risk reduction team to explore practical ways to embed social capital and social infrastructure into future planning and investments for a safer, more resilient South Australia.

More than 65 people attended the South Australian Snapshot Forum at SAFECOM in Adelaide, opened this week by Minister for Police, Emergency Services and Correctional Services, Dan Cregan MP.

Minister Cregan shared his own personal story of community disaster recovery, bringing some lived experience to the Forum.

Attendees weren’t just interested in hearing from global disaster recovery expert Professor Daniel Aldrich about his global research, but also what it could mean for building resilience in South Australia.

The project swings the focus away from the traditional buildings and bridges, with outcomes of this new approach to provide recommendations on practical ways to embed social capital and social infrastructure into future planning and investments for a safer, more resilient state.

“We can’t sit passively by and wait for the government to save us when there’s a disaster,” Professor Aldrich, who draws on his experience living in tsunami and earthquake-prone Japan and the USA, says.

“It’s unrealistic and unsustainable. We must save ourselves and our neighbours.

“But we can’t expect our communities to save themselves without the knowledge and the tools to do so.

“We must teach them how to prepare for disaster, survive and thrive afterwards.”

The Forum brought together stakeholders from across government and non-government departments and agencies, each bringing a unique perspective to the discussion.

Resilient Ready CEO and Founder Renae Hanvin said she was excited by what lay ahead for South Australia’s resilience journey.

“Buying more ‘things’ may not be the answer. We’ve built more bridges, stronger buildings and levees, and they’re not building the holistic resilience our communities need.

“We need to think and do disaster preparedness and resilience differently by focusing on and valuing people connections and the places where they connect.

“People build resilience. People reduce risks. So why don’t we invest in building knowledge, capabilities and connections in people?

“We know that there are national conversations and reviews occurring right now about disaster funding.

“The Disaster Risk Reduction approach driven by National Partnership Agreement funding is critical for opportunities like this latest project to occur.”

The seven-month thought leadership snapshot project is funded under the SAFECOM Disaster Risk Reduction Grants Program by the Australian and South Australian governments.

Findings from this forum will contribute to a South Australian Snapshot Report. Project details can be found here.

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