Overview of Local Government User Resource

Local Governments exist to serve communities and are responsible for providing significant community infrastructure services (e.g. transport infrastructure, water and wastewater infrastructure, community facilities, etc.) needed by their community in a prudent, transparent and sustainable manner.
 
The user resource is structured around the three priorities of Partner, Prepare, Provide identified in the NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy (CIRS).  This is to assist local governments with implementing the outcomes of the strategy and the types of activities or actions that may be initiated under the three priorities to enhance critical infrastructure resilience.
   
The success of the CIRS is largely dependent on how the strategy is applied to generate practical infrastructure resilience. This user resource has been designed to assist Councils to direct their focus on implementing resilience thinking into business as usual practices.

The user resource is aimed at local government practitioners across a variety of disciplines (asset managers and engineers, emergency managers, executives, councillors, town planners, works managers, operations managers, business continuity professionals, etc.). The intent is to facilitate collaboration across the various stakeholders within local government that are involved in enhancing the resilience of critical infrastructure.
  
Table 1 below identifies the multiple roles and responsibilities that Local Government fulfils within the NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy, both as an infrastructure provider, and as the closest level of government to the many diverse communities of NSW.  This user resource has been developed to provide a supporting resource for Local Governments across NSW in implementing the strategy.
Table 1: Roles for Local Government within the NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience 7
  
The user resource aims to support Local Governments and the infrastructure they provide to be more resilient, as well as identifying ways to enhance community resilience in relation to infrastructure.  The aim is to add value to local governments.  The resource does not seek to duplicate content from elsewhere but instead identifies potential sources of funding for resilience building and mitigation as well as tools, good practice advice and case studies from NSW and further afield on the steps local government can take to enhance CIR.
 
The user resource also provides an action plan for Local Governments seeking to advance the implementation of the NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy. It provides practical ways in which Councils can improve CIR and has been developed as a self-assessment tool that can be used as a mechanism to assess and monitor performance over time against the following resilience goals:

  • Appointment of CIR Champions
  • Attendance at LEMC meetings by CI Providers
  • Participation by CI Providers in planning and exercising via the LEMC
  • Participation by Local Government stakeholders in ongoing training and support in CIR
  • Building and leveraging partnerships to engage the community on CIR issues
  • Employing a risk-based all hazards approach to manage risks to CI
  • Consideration of climate change impacts and implementation of adaptation strategies 
  • Integrating resilience into the asset management lifecycle
  • Availability of criticality registers for Council assets that are integrated into emergency planning
  • Understanding of CI interdependencies and utilised for emergency planning purposes
  • Use of map-based tools to record assets and inform CIR decision making
  • Robust processes in place to conduct damage assessments of CI post disaster
  • Evidence of continuous improvement in relation to organisational resilience practices  
  • Leveraging the NSW Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework to embed CIR across local government boundaries.
Initial use of the Local Government Self-Assessment Tool will establish the baseline data and identify gaps that will enable Council’s to plan actions to improve CIR. Revisiting the self-assessment on an annual basis will assist Council’s to evidence a process of continuous improvement in CIR and will facilitate the availability of comparable data across local governments in the State to measure advancements over time.

As well as engaging with this Local Government User Resource, readers may like to familiarise themselves with the NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy.

A critical infrastructure resilience is available through the NSW Office of Emergency Management that will assist all involved to implement the NSW Critical Infrastructure Resilience Strategy.