Local News

Local School A Finalist In Awards Which Recognise Fire, Flood & DV


Image Supplied 

The Sarina Ranges school has been recognised for its project created in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

They are a finalist for the prestigious Resilient Australia Award, which is in its 20th year.  

The awards recognise initiatives by schools, communities, local governments, businesses and government that showcase innovation and exemplary practise across Australia; celebrating achievements that might otherwise go unseen, and inspiring others to build greater disaster resilience.

Swayneville School Mural.  Image Supplied 

This year, the competition was fierce with a record-breaking number of entries.

Finalists include a 24-year-old who successfully introduced a Service Awareness badge to Scouts WA, a series of films aimed at providing flood safety information to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders, a trauma toolkit focused on infant and children’s mental health related to disaster, guidelines that address domestic violence during an emergency and a school whose students have written a book about the impact of bushfires on their close-knit community.

Each year, the awards ceremony takes place in a different location, with winners of the 2019 Resilient Australia Awards to be announced in Adelaide on 7 November.

The awards are hosted by the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience and sponsored by the Australian Government in partnership with the states and territories; please visit:

Interview opportunities are available with the finalists of the awards.

2019 Resilient Australia Award finalists

Resilient Australia National Award

Introduction of State Emergency Service (SES) Scout Badge (Western Australia)
After identifying commonalities between scouting and the State Emergency Service, 24-year-old Sarah Hamilton developed the Scouts WA State Emergency Service Awareness Badge, receiving support from Scouts WA, Belmont Victoria Park SES, the SES Volunteers Association of WA and the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. Since its launch in 2018, 500 scouts have received the Scouts WA State Emergency Service Awareness Badge.


10 Years of NSW RFS Prepare.Act.Survive. Campaigns
(New South Wales)

NSW Rural Fire Service developed a multi-channel public safety campaign designed to increase recognition of bushfire risk and introduce an awareness of tools available to support preparedness including alert levels, fire danger ratings, and bushfire survival plans. Over the past ten years, the campaign has delivered a significant improvement in emergency preparation and continues to evolve and respond to changing community expectations and the latest research and insights.


NT Emergency Service Flood Safe Short Films (Northern Territory)
The NT Emergency Service identified the need for an educational tool to inform Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders about the importance of safety around floods and flood water. The campaign features several ‘flood safe’ short films with narrations in available in English and six Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages - Kriol, Arrernte, Kunwinku, Murrinh Patha, Warlpiri and Yolngu Matha.


Community Trauma Toolkit (ACT, QLD and SA)
The Community Trauma Toolkit, developed by Australian National University and Emerging Minds in consultation with the University of Queensland, is a comprehensive trauma-informed, strength-based approach to educating key workforces and families about infant and child mental health in the context of a natural or human-made disaster. Resources are freely available and aim to fill several gaps in the existing disaster preparedness, emergency management and post-emergency coordination sphere regarding infant and child mental health.


Addressing domestic violence in disasters through implementing National Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines (Victoria)
Gender issues are known to compound the damaging effects of disaster on survivors. The Gender and Emergency Management Guidelines were developed collaboratively as part of the 2016 All on Board project, which aimed to reduce the compounding effects of gender on disaster impact. This was done through the development of national gender and emergency guidelines to fill a gap in Australian knowledge, policy and practice.


National School Award

A Walk Through Strathewens Fire History (Victoria)
In 2009, the Black Saturday bushfires killed 27 Strathewen residents, as well as destroying the local school and many houses in the area. In 2018, grade five and six students from Strathewen Primary School took part in an educational program to get a better understanding of how bushfires happen and how to keep safe.


Connecting the Divide - Swayneville School Mural (Queensland)
When Tropical Cyclone Debbie destroyed the main access road into the small rural community of Sarina Range, it isolated residents at the top of the mountain range for 18 months while the road was reconstructed. During that time, a temporary school campus was established so that local children could still attend. To commemorate this unique period in history, the school worked with two artists who guided the children to create a mural, to facilitate recovery and enhance resilience and connection to the events.


Tathra Public School - When the Fire Met the Sea (New South Wales)

Following the March 2018 bushfires that devastated Tathra and surrounding areas, grade four, five and six students from Tathra Public School wrote and illustrated a book of poems, recounts, narratives and reflections on the impact of the events. The book is being sold to raise further funds for the school to support regeneration projects including the rebuilding of gardens, replanting of trees and general improvements to outdoor spaces that were damaged.


National Local Government Award


Hume City Council - English and Emergencies - Learn and Prepare (Victoria)
In 2016, the Hume City Council welcomed 4,422 new residents from overseas. The English and Emergencies - Learn, and Prepare initiative is a training package designed to build the knowledge and capacity of English as an Additional Language (EAL) for overseas students to respond appropriately and effectively in emergencies.


Sunshine Coast Get Ready Schools Program (Queensland)
In light of the increasing number of natural disasters occurring in Queensland over the past decade, the Sunshine Coast Council has developed the Sunshine Coast Get Ready Schools Program, aligning to the Queensland Government’s ‘Get Ready’ campaign. The program intends to place Queensland as Australia’s most resilient state. The Sunshine Coast Council is committed to improving community resilience, enhancing the ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from the impacts of disasters.


Community Champions - Redland City Council (Queensland)
Redland City Council’s Community Champions program enables a community-led response to potential disasters and emergency management. It is considered the first of its kind in Queensland and challenges the traditional view of community engagement and education programs. It exemplifies the benefits of the community caring for itself by taking action before, during and after disasters. Community members are involved in planning, preparation, response and recovery efforts in partnership with disaster management leaders and agencies.


National Photography Award

Harnessed Skill - Department of Fire & Emergency Services (Western Australia)
After being rescued as a foal in the devastating Black Saturday bushfires, Clydesdale Jemima is now part of the SES Mounted Section with her owner and volunteer Claire. Over the past year, the pair have been involved in multiple searches to assist local police to locate and reunite missing loved ones with their families.

Pierces Creek After Fire - Marta Yebra Photography (ACT)

Climate change is creating more prolonged and dangerous fire seasons. An ariel photograph illustrates the severity of the Pierces Creek in November 2018.


Huon Strong - James Spencer (Tasmania)
Dale "Hairyman" Fullard is a musician, artist, sculptor and bushman who lost his home in the 2019 Tasmanian bushfires. He is pictured sitting next to the Huon River, a stone's throw from the site of his former home, which he built himself and where he had lived for 13 years.


About the Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience (AIDR)

AIDR develops, maintains and shares knowledge and learning to support a disaster resilient Australia. Building on extensive knowledge and experience in Australia and internationally, we work with government, communities, NGOs, not-for-profits, research organisations, education partners and the private sector to enhance disaster resilience through innovative thinking, professional development and knowledge sharing.

AIDR is supported by its founding partners: the Australian Government, AFAC, the Australian Red Cross and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre.