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Resilience experts call on community

Blue Mountains business owners, managers and employees are being invited to participate in a survey to better understand the current structures of local business community groups and networks from a perspective of disaster preparedness, resilience and shared values.

Leading international resilience expert Professor Daniel Aldrich, from Northeastern University in Boston, USA, and Katoomba-based Associate Professor Valerie Ingham, who lectures in emergency management at Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, are driving the survey with corporate2community Director Renae Hanvin.

The survey is funded under the Bushfire Community Recovery and Resilience Fund (BCRRF) project through the joint Commonwealth/State Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements – focused on building resilience across the local business community.

“We know that connections are crucial in getting communities through major shocks such as bushfires, and disruptive events like Covid-19,” Professor Aldrich said. “Through my own research I’ve found communities that are tightly connected fare much better during a major disaster than communities where people don’t even know each other.”

Businesses form the backbone of communities, A/ Prof Val Ingham said, and exploring their connectivity provides a strong measure of the resilience of the community as a whole. “In the past two years we have witnessed an extraordinary series of disaster events, and as a result local businesses have faced many challenges”, she said.

“It’s timely that we take a look at how businesses have been interacting with each other, and how involved they are with their local communities, and whether this has had a positive impact on their business.”

Blue Mountains based business owners, managers and employees including those self-employed can contribute to the survey at: https://www.research.net/r/BlueMountBusiness.

Ms Hanvin said the results of the survey would be used as a basis for writing a White Paper to build a clearer picture of business resilience in the Blue Mountains.

“We want to explore what opportunities might exist for Blue Mountains businesses, and what lessons we can learn from the impact of bushfires and the pandemic,” Ms Hanvin said.

“Compound disasters have hit the Blue Mountains business community hard over the past few years. We welcome all local business owners, operators and employees to take part in the survey. Findings will be published to build a stronger, more connected business community across the region,” she added.