building in Regional Australia

Resilience planning can be so much more than the documentation of a suite of actions for assisting a community to improve its adaptability and strength. The process of resilience planning can be resilience building in of itself.

If the purpose of resilience planning is to enable communities to be in a stronger position to adapt to changes, and to enable stronger connections and relationships – the process of resilience planning should involve the diversity of that community throughout.

“It was a great opportunity to meet other people from across the region that are passionate about leadership and the future of our region. I found it very rewarding to take some time out of my busy life to stop, think, listen, and contribute to actions which will make a real difference to our region – now and into the long term.”  MR Plan Participant

Involving local stakeholders (industry, local government agencies and NGOs), and everyday members of the community, with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and demographic characteristics, throughout the resilience planning process assists in achieving the following outcomes:

  • The act of bringing diverse community members together with local stakeholders – to talk together, plan together and work through complex / challenging issues together, builds:
    1. community agency.
    2. relationships and connections.
    3. empathy towards others.
    4. improved understanding of the diversity of issues / challenges / opportunities – enabling individuals to better respond.
  • Ensures that the resilience planning responds directly to the strengths and weaknesses that that community and local industry are facing right now. Only those in local communities understand their current lived experience and the assets that they already have.
  • Involving a diversity of community members ensures that the challenges faced by isolated, disadvantaged or minority groups are heard and responded to. Involving isolated / disengaged members of the community represents an opportunity to build the community; by bringing in those who have been excluded and supporting them to be active members.
  • Involving communities enables them to find solutions for themselves, reducing their reliance on others to provide for them.

Community connection, and wellbeing builds ‘social capital’ which literature and international best practice repeatedly shows is crucial to resilience.

“Recently, we were privileged to work with the communities of the Murraylands and Riverland region to develop their resilience plan. What struck us was how the process of developing the plan assisted them in reflecting on not only what they wanted governments to do – but what they could do themselves – together as a community, across industries and as individuals. They worked together to understand how they could build on their strengths and address their weaknesses themselves. I have got to know some amazing other people from across the region who are also passionate about leadership. Its probably the start of an informal network to foster action.” ~ Mr Plan Participant
“This built agency – empowering the group to find and explore their own solutions. What could be more resilience building – than building the strength of a community to take charge and work together for their own collective future! Communities are best placed to frame their resilience collectively and from a ‘systems’ perspective’” ~ Tarnagulla Resilience Study