Publication date: Wednesday, 12 October 2016
The NSW town of Baradine has won the 2016 Get Ready Community Award in recognition of their emergency preparedness and resilience following a lucky escape from the Warrumbungle bushfire in 2013.
At a ceremony at Parliament House in Sydney today, the Deputy Premier and the Minister for Emergency Services presented the award to the Baradine and District Progress Association.
Baradine is a small town of less than a thousand people in north-western NSW, about half way between Coonabarabran and Pilliga. The town's remote location and ageing population make it vulnerable in emergencies, but the 'Best for Baradine' project has approached this vulnerability head on, turning the town into a leading light in community disaster resilience.
Since the bushfire that destroyed 95% of the neighbouring Warrumbungle National Park three years ago, the Baradine community has worked hard to prepare for emergency situations and make sure they can recover if a disaster should strike.
The Baradine and District Progress Association, the Warrumbungle Shire Council, emergency services personnel and local community groups have collaborated on a range of initiatives to get their town – and their families and friends – ready.
Feargus O'Connor, Executive Director of the Office of Emergency Management in the Department of Justice, was the master of ceremonies at the award presentation and was quick to emphasise the importance of local-level preparations like those in Baradine.
"It is critical that communities take responsibility for their disaster-readiness by knowing, understanding and preparing for specific risks in their local area," Mr O'Connor said. "Baradine's Get Ready Community Award is well-deserved recognition of their work to build a strong, connected community that can respond, adapt and survive in an emergency."
The NSW Government introduced the Get Ready Community Award in 2015. The award recognises a NSW community that works together to be more prepared and better able to recover from disasters.
The NSW winners of the Resilient Australia Awards were also announced at today's ceremony. The Resilient Australia Awards are a national program to encourage safer, stronger, more resilient communities that are better prepared to manage any emergency situation.
Resilient Australia Awards were presented in four categories today and these NSW winners will go on to be considered for the national Resilient Australia Awards to be announced later this year.
The NSW winners are:
In addition to the category winners, the NSW State Emergency Service, the Australian Red Cross and Winmalee High School received 'highly commended' honours.