Community Resilience Innovation Program

Community Resilience, the ability of a community to withstand and mitigate the stress of a disaster

Samuel Beattie has been working in Sydney’s Inner West region connecting a diverse range of local stakeholders, from emergency services and community organisations to social housing tenants, government organisations and more. Through strengthening these partnerships, this project aims to build community resilience whilst preparing the local area for the event of a disaster.

This two year project is funded by the NSW Office of Emergency Management, as part of the joint State and Commonwealth Natural Disaster Resilience Program.

“Communities that develop a high level of resilience are better able to withstand a crisis event and have an enhanced ability to recover from residual impacts. Communities that possess resilience characteristics can also arrive on the other side of a crisis in a stronger position.”

National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, 2011

Leading change and coordinating effort

Typically, emergency plans are designed by emergency services for the community in which they serve. Interestingly, the people in which these plans are made for are not usually involved during the design phase when making the plans; a limitation that places the responsibility of maintaining emergency preparedness with the emergency services and not the community at large. However, the complex nature of disasters means that dealing with them is often beyond the reach of emergency services.

Recognising that an all-of-society approach is needed to share the responsibility of disaster resilience building, the Redfern and Surry Hills Community Resilience Committee (CRC) has been established to lead this change and coordinate effort in the local area. The Committee therefore strengthens partnerships between seventeen stakeholders from the emergency services, government agencies, community organisations, and social housing tenants to build disaster resilience within social housing communities.

Project at a glance…

Partnership building across emergency services, community organisations, resident groups, and government agencies Community Resilience Committee (CRC) established to strengthen partnerships and implement initiatives. New resources developed to reach the wider community and build emergency preparedness. Ongoing support and training with residents to promote community ownership over resilience building

Empowering individuals and communities to exercise choice and take responsibility

Disasters impact individuals and communities in varying degrees of severity, and may form in unique and unexpected ways. This means that it is important for individuals to take responsibility to be aware of the risks that surround them, understand their role during a disaster, and have the relevant knowledge and skills needed to mitigate the stress caused by a disaster.

The CRC convenes monthly to co-develop a range of initiatives that can contribute to a more disaster resilient social housing community. These initiatives seek to combine the expertise of emergency services with the local knowledge of people living in social housing to provide greater knowledge sharing as well as greater choice.

These initiatives include, for example: promoting the development a personal emergency plan to mitigate the financial, material, and health risks caused by a disaster; increasing community input into emergency evacuation plans and other documents and resources, and; empowering local residents to teach other residents on the importance of emergency preparedness and on the need to take responsibility.

Upcoming CRC Events

This calendar is updated regularly to include all key community events in Redfern and Surry Hills. Events listed here are either organised by or attended by CRC members.

Want to get involved?

Organisations are welcome to join the Community Resilience Committee (CRC) and contribute to building community resilience within the local area. University research staff are also invited to partner with this project.

Contact the Project Officer, Samuel Beattie, for more information on how you can collaborate or be involved using the contact details below.


Samuel Beattie

Project Officer, Community Resilience Innovation Program

P. (02) 9698 7690

M. 0413 596 583


Sam is available each week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday.

Inner Sydney Voice Magazine, our quarterly publication, covers many articles on public housing community development and resilience as well as wider issues such as Seize the opportunity of crisis to rebuild community. Many other redevelopment and public housing issues have also been covered by the magazine section of our website.

Below are some links to categoiries of the magazine site that may be of interest: