​2018 Resilient Australia Awards: NSW winning entries

Community Category

Winner: Inner Sydney Voice

Building Disaster Resilience in Social Housing Communities

This two-year project aims to increase the level of disaster resilience within social housing communities in Sydney and across NSW. 

Inner Sydney Voice has partnered with FACS Housing, FACS Land and Housing Corporation, government agencies, community organisations and most importantly, tenants from diverse backgrounds to address a number of self-identified issues. 

The Community Engagement Framework acts as a platform to meaningfully review high-rise building emergency plans with tenants and is innovative in the way resilience building programs are developed and delivered with the community. 

Key outcomes include the development of emergency plans for 42 social housing high-rise buildings across NSW, increased disaster preparedness communication and awareness to tenants through locally embedded initiatives, and the promotion of a ‘shared responsibility’ of disaster preparedness throughout the key agencies and stakeholders.


  • NSW Family & Community Services 
  • Fire & Rescue NSW 
  • NSW State Emergency Service 
  • Australian Red Cross
  • Counterpoint Community Services
  • City of Sydney
  • ntbconsulting
  • Tenant Representatives

Highly Commended

NSW State Emergency Service Wingecarribee Unit

Get Ready Girls Campaign

Get Ready Girls in Mittagong empowers women of the local community through learned skills to help themselves and others in an emergency situation or disaster. 

Training includes preparing the house for a flood, basic first aid and bush walk safety. By increasing the confidence and skills of women, there is an increase in overall community resilience.  

Blue ARC: Animal Ready Community

This community-led project from the Blue Mountains improves community awareness of the need for companion animals, livestock, and native wildlife to be included in local emergency preparedness, planning and response. 

The community group has conducted a survey to help their community identify issues to consider, held a 2017 Blue ARC Schools Art Competition with Winmalee Public School to engage with children and families and provided preparedness resources linking in with RFS and Red Cross outreach. 


  • Macquarie University
  • Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
  • Springwood Neighbourhood Centre Co-operative
  • Springwood Printing

Business Award Category 

Winner: Centre for Disability Research and Policy, University of Sydney

PREPARE NSW: Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness
University of Sydney created a co-designed strengths-based Person-Centred Emergency Preparedness (PCEP) tool and framework. 

The PCEP takes an all hazards approach to enabling community health and disability support providers to embed emergency preparedness into everyday interactions with their clients in the community.  

Three open-access videos, e-learning resources and a user guide that demonstrate how the PCEP works have been created to enable people with chronic conditions and disability to plan and communicate their plan.


  • Fire and Rescue NSW
  • NSW State Emergency Service 
  • NSW Rural Fire Service
  • NSW Health Emergency Management Unit, Office of the State Health Services
  • Healthe Care  - Mayo Home Nursing / Mayo Private Hospital
  • Life Without Barriers
  • Dundaloo Support Services
  • John Green, Community Member

Highly Commended: University of Woollongong

Resilient Together: Engaging the Knowledge and Capacities of Refugees for a Disaster Resilient Illawarra

By interviewing refugee and humanitarian entrants and conducting consultation with Illawarra-organisations, the University of Wollongong increased understanding of the diverse experiences, beliefs and capacities for disaster resilience among refugee households in the Illawarra. 

The project employed 6 members of community to translate, interpret and facilitate interviews within the community. As a by-product they developed basic research skills and knowledge of disaster preparedness in the Illawarra to strengthen their community. 

Illawarra organisations involved have relayed that the project increased engagement between the refugee community and emergency services and relationships continue to grow as a result of the project.
Government Award Category 

Winner: Wollondilly Shire Council

Activate Wollondilly

To build resilience in Wollondilly Local Government Area, Wollondilly Shire Council brought key stakeholders together to review the actions following the east coast low impact on Picton in June 2016.  

The project created a safe space to debrief after a major disaster and opened communication between community and council in regards to recovery and response. Through partnership the community was kept at the centre of the recovery and the deliberative dialogue pulled in local knowledge. 

The approach used for recovery focused on what worked well, the gaps, and the actions and strategies needed to build upon the existing community strengths. From this coordinated recovery model forum outcomes are incorporated into the key strategies of the Community Strategic Plan and the Wollondilly Disaster Recovery Plan, a Community Resilience Committee has been established and a toolkit is in development. 

Highly Commended: WSROC Ltd.

Turn Down the Heat

Heat has an impact on multiple community themes such as population health, animal welfare, energy, infrastructure, transport, emergency response and planning. 

Turn Down the Heat is a five-year (2018-23) strategy and action plan will co-ordinate a cross disciplinary response to the challenges of urban heat in Western Sydney.  

While the need to address urban heat is recognised, implementation of action plans are often fragmented. Turn Down the Heat is designed to complement existing policies and strategies and facilitate a broader, coordinated response to the challenges of urban heat.


  • Western Sydney University
  • Western Sydney Local Health District
  • Government Architect NSW 
  • Greater Sydney Commission
  • NSW Office of Environment and Heritage
  • Resilient Sydney
  • Greater Western Sydney Local Councils

Photography Award Category

Winner: Kellie Mar

Portrait of a Lady

The winning image in NSW was of 'Emily' the Rural Fire Service volunteerArmed with over 20 years of experience, hundreds of stories and an infectious laugh, Emily is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the fireground. 

She holds several qualifications including Bush Firefighter, Advanced Firefighter, Village Firefighter and Crew Leader and has held roles in Blaxland Brigade as Equipment Officer, Training Officer, Secretary, President and Deputy Captain. According to Emily, it’s “no biggie”; she modestly counts herself as just another part of the Rural Fire Service volunteer firefighting crews who strive to protect our communities.


  • Blaxland Rural Fire Service

Schools Award Category

Winner: Warrimoo Public School

Getting Bush Fire Ready at Warrimoo Public School

Warrimoo Public School in the Blue Mountains are developing student knowledge and skills in bush fire safety. 

Since commencement students have greater levels of confidence in their bush fire readiness, are sharing aspects of their learnings with family and friends and the annual RFS Get Ready Weekend has increased in attendance. 

By forming a genuine partnership between the school and local brigade, resilience of the broader community is being strengthened.


  • NSW Rural Fire Service (Warrimoo Bush Fire Brigade)