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Community engagement

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Community Engagement

Australian Government: Attorney-General's Department - Emergency Management in Australia

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Community Engagement

The Attorney-General's Department, including through the initiatives of the Australian Emergency Management Institute (AEMI), sponsors a range of national programs and activities that engage communities in building resilience to the effects of emergencies and disasters.

Australia is a nation prone to a range of natural, technological and human-caused emergencies. Since 2000, on average each year 24 people have lost their lives as a direct result of natural disasters. Almost 600 have been injured and up to 390,000 affected in some way. The economic cost to communities of natural disasters has been in excess of $3.6 billion annually. Many more people are also affected by human caused emergencies and disasters, with a further significant cost to the nation.

Emergency volunteers

Australia’s pool of emergency management response and recovery volunteers numbering some 350,000 plays a vital role in assisting communities to manage the full range of emergencies and disasters.

The Natural Disaster Resilience Program recognises the need to contribute funding for improving national capacity and to train this pool of volunteers to be ready to respond to the whole range of possible emergencies. The funding provides practical support and recognition for our volunteers building and improving our national preparedness to manage emergencies.

Community engagement activities and research

In close consultation with the National Emergency Management Committee (NEMC) Community Engagement Sub-committee, the Attorney-General’s Department sponsors and facilitates activities and research in the area of community engagement. An engaged community involved in the decision-making processes associated with emergency management activities is more likely to be responsive, resilient and self-managing when emergencies do arise.

Community awareness and safety publications

To assist emergency management organisations, the Attorney-General's Department has collated information on the different approaches available when working with communities, including best practice examples, supporting tools and guidelines.

The Department provides a wide range of free community awareness and education publications as national resources, covering advice on preparation for and coping with severe storms, floods, bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes and heatwaves. Publications and resource kits are available to teachers to support emergency management related studies at school.