Interview with Tal Fitzpatrick - Coordinator of Volunteering Queensland, Australia‘s 

Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project by Willi Paul, Media



“The odds are stacked against disaster resilience. If people and organizations need to experience a disaster before they start thinking about resilience, we are fighting a losing battle. Even then, when some do experience a disaster, if the incentives or disincentives don't support building back better, stronger and more resilient those actions are unlikely to be accomplished.”

-- Eric Holdeman - Disaster Resilience


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Interview with Tal by Willi


What is the Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project?


The Natural Disaster Resilience Leadership Project (NDRLP) was developed by Volunteering Queensland, the state peak body for volunteering, alongside a suit of resilience building projects back in 2010. The NDRLP is a four day capacity building workshop for community leaders, volunteers and members of emergency services that focuses on: developing a more holistic understanding of community resilience, creating a greater understanding within the community about the local emergency management arrangements, building leadership capacity at a grassroots level, and facilitating the creation of 'action plans'.


These 'action plans' are basically project plans developed by the participants that are designed to address local issues and improve local community resilience. Since 2011 I have delivered this project in over 15 communities across the state as well as in New South Wales.


This project takes a very grassroots approach to community building and encourages people to consider the roles of community leaders, groups and non-profit organizations in resilience building and disaster management. Some examples of the action plans that have come out of the project include:


+ Community wellness days and education campaigns run by local community organizations with the support of local councils and emergency management agencies


+ 'Safety Warden' project in a residential caravan park designed to help local emergency services provide timely and accurate information to residence and ensure that any evacuations are better managed due to improved information from that community


+ Aged and Disability support providers pledging to work with their patrons to increase their personal preparedness


+ Development of a youth leadership project which incorporates elements of disaster risk reduction and personal preparedness


+ ‘Street Party’ initiatives that encourages people to host disaster-preparedness themed street parties


+ Local chamber of commerce involvement in ongoing business continuity programs designed to help small local businesses prepare and mitigate for disaster


All of these action plans were initiated by the participants of the NDRLP and were delivered by community members or community organizations with little to no financial support. However, many of these projects relied on in kind support and expertise from local government and emergency management agencies.


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