Hands holding seedling

Building community resilience after the bushfires through a new lens

We’ve partnered with Monash University to release a report that sets out a community-led approach to resilience

In 2021, two years after the devastating 2019/20 summer bushfires, The Paul Ramsay Foundation, Monash University, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation and Metal Manufactures Pty Ltd have come together to explore the question: How can communities lead and shape the action around bushfire recovery, and build long-term resilience? 

And, in doing so, is it possible to build from the knowledge of First Nations people, existing community capabilities, social capital and the agency of local communities to strengthen and nourish new opportunities for equity and equality so that everyone’s lives can improve? 

How too can we deeply draw on local cultural practices, intergenerational knowledge of the land and 60,000 years of wisdom held by Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to support regional communities to be able to self-determine their own process of recovery and restoration? And what are the conditions that need to be in place for this to happen?

It’s these questions that form the crux of the Fire to Flourish: Strength Through Community-led Action report, which we co-authored alongside Monash University.

Fire to flourish Report Cover
Read the report

Fire to Flourish

An agenda for change:
Community-led disaster resilience

A shifting paradigm is emerging, with communities at the helm

The report articulates an agenda for community-led bushfire recovery processes that improve people’s long term resilience and wellbeing, particularly for communities experiencing deep inequality.

In doing so, the report highlights the conditions that are keeping communities from being able to deepen resilience initiatives and focuses on the need for a shift toward self determination and better understanding of communities social capital, so that they have the opportunity to strengthen their resilience.

The report sets out five key approaches to building back community resilience

  • Allow space and time for communities to see events as an opportunity to do things differently, or to change
  • See and authentically understand that communities themselves have their own organic systems based around where they live
  • Connection back into Country by foregrounding First Nations knowledge
  • Strengthen communities’ capabilities around resilience in ‘holistic’ ways
  • Nourish local leadership and deeply understand the existing and future social capital of the communities