According to the Australian Government's Social Inclusion Board: 

Community resilience means the capacity of communities to respond positively to crises. It is the ability of a community to adapt to pressures and transform itself in a way which makes it more sustainable in the future. Rather than simply 'survive' the stressor or change, a resilient community might respond in creative ways that fundamentally transform the basis of the community.

Key features of resilient communities are social learning, adaptiveness and flexibility.

Why do we need community resilience?

Australia is vulnerable to a variety of shocks and natural disasters. The severity of a disaster is determined by both the scale of the disaster and the level of community preparedness. Community resilience is critical in minimising the effect of these disasters and contributes to a quicker, more effective response.

How do we build community resilience?

There is no hard and fast rule for how to build community resilience however it is best strengthened continuously, not just in times of crisis. It involves people getting together to create sustainable links within their community.

Resilient communities are able to integrate their resources and capability to respond positively to crises. Resources can range from first aid kits and torches to communication systems and the goodwill of the local community. Capabilities are the means to make use of your resources and these can be anything from trade skills to motivational and leadership abilities. Resources and capabilities can be integrated throughout and beyond the community using social networks and cooperative decision making.

How do I know if my community is resilient?

Community resilience comprises four different, overlapping environments:

  1. Built e.g. buildings and infrastructure (roads, sewers, etc.)
  2. Natural e.g. hills, bushland, wetland, etc.
  3. Social e.g. community groups
  4. Economic e.g. businesses

There are many different ways you can strengthen your community’s resilience, for example do you know your neighbours? Are you actively involved in the local community?

Does your community know what to do before, during and after a natural disaster?

Find out VolunteeringACT’s role in an emergency and how we are building community resilience.