As part of my presentation at the Australian Institute of Disaster Reilisence conference late last month, I shared some key takeouts from a report by the Victorian Inspector General for Emergency Management,  ‘Review of connecting and collaborating with the private sector and community organisations’.

If you’re thinking, “she’s already spoken about this before in a blog”,you’d be correct, but it is such a trail blazing and refreshing report, we thought it was worth heroing one more time. Plus, we received such positive feedback after profiling the report at the AIDR conference, why not keep it front of mind.

The paper is a great foundation for positioning why a new approach needs to be embraced within the sector, and really challenges the need for government stakeholders to shift their focus outsidetheir conventional silos and start thinking more collaboratively (and inclusively).

The report highlights that while currently sector organisations work together in their business as usual approach to emergency management, there’s a greater need to work with organisations outside the usual realms when it comes to helping communities strengthen their resilience. This includes major corporations right through to local community groups.

While it’s all well and good to push for collaboration between all parties, the report also correctly points out the greater need for all sectors to understand collaboration, along with the skills and competencies required for such relationships.

Greater attention to such competencies will improve the effectiveness of collaborative emergency management activity before, during and after disasters. This includes maintaining a clear focus of effort to collaborate across sectors and in doing so, supporting and assisting communities to be self-reliant and resilient. By driving effective connections and collaborations across sectors, we can truly achieve better community outcomes.

Isn’t that what it’s all about? As a sector, we have the research, we have the past experiences and while they’re concerning to admit, we know the forecasts – so what are we waiting for?

The reality is, we all, regardless of our role, need to be better connected to the business community and start thinking differently and doing differently in collaborating to build resilience.

Collaborating won’t be easy, but it will be worth it. It’s going to take pioneers to move out of their comfort zones, upskill on how to connect and collaborate – or engage someone experienced to help you – hmm hmm, I’m waiting for your call – and most importantly, make it a priority on your agenda to enable opportunities for the business community to participate and contribute.

Renae Hanvin is pioneering business community contribution towards a more resilient future – providing strategic solutions to governments, businesses and communities that embrace ‘shared responsibility’, ‘shared understanding’ and ‘shared contribution’ outcomes.

To start doing disasters differently by putting resilience on your agenda visit

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