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National Taskforce calls for integration of arts-led programs in disaster planning

The National Taskforce for Creative Recovery has released a set of recommendations calling for creative practices and the specialist skills of the arts and cultural sector to be embedded as a key component of Australia’s disaster management systems.

Initiated by the Creative Recovery Network, the taskforce is a cross-industry collaboration that brings together key influencers in disaster management, mental health, government and the arts to forge pathways for new thinking in response to the unprecedented challenges being faced by communities.

Creative Recovery Network Chair, Jillian Edwards, said: “These recommendations speak directly to the findings of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and the knowledge that we must find multi-dimensional, equitable ways to work with communities to transform systems and build capacity for the challenges ahead.”

“The evidence is clear that arts-led processes have enormous capacity to activate civic participation and deepen relational, people-centred approaches to community resilience. The time has come to prioritise support for embedding these processes into disaster management planning and we look forward to working with all levels of government and response organisations to achieve this.”

The recommendations are based on adding value to existing preparedness, response and recovery initiatives and include: prioritising local education and funding to incorporate creative practice strategies; centering First Nations knowledge and cultural protocols; supporting the development of best practice models and national protocols for creative engagement; and the implementation of national training initiatives for the creative sector and other frontline workers in health, education and local government, to utilise arts-led methodologies to work safely and effectively with disaster impacted communities.

The planned one-year engagement of the taskforce has now concluded but the group has confirmed it will continue as a formal alliance, working in partnership with colleagues across government, service organisations, the private sector and in communities to advocate for the implementation of the recommendations.

Taskforce Chair and State Emergency Services Manager for Red Cross Queensland, Collin Sivalingum, said: “I am grateful to our taskforce members for the dedication and commitment they have brought to this process. Our members’ collective experience, industry knowledge, and practical understanding of the value of culture and the arts within a disaster context has informed the relevance and depth of these recommendations. I look forward to continuing our work together to strengthen community resilience.” 

The members of the National Taskforce for Creative Recovery are:

  • Chair – Collin Sivalingum, State Emergency Services Manager, Red Cross Australia
  • Dr Stephen Carbone – Founder/CEO Prevention United
  • Jacqui Cristiano – Director, Social and Environmental Policy, National Recovery and Resilience Agency
  • Jillian Edwards – Specialist Disaster Risk and Resilience Advisor; Director Beyond Business as Usual
  • Natalie Egleton – CEO, Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal
  • Amanda Leck – (Former) Executive Director, Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience
  • Scotia Monkivitch – CEO, Creative Recovery Network
  • Elizabeth Robertson – Rep: Australian Local Government Association, Senior Policy Officer, Local Government NSW 
  • Sam Savage – Northern Queensland Emergency Services Regional Coordinator, National Indigenous Disaster Management Network, Red Cross 
  • Joe Toohey – Executive Director, Regional Arts Victoria

Read the recommendations here: 

The National Taskforce for Creative Recovery was supported by the Australian Government through the industry collaborations stream of Australia Council’s Re-imagine: Sector Recovery Initiatives fund.

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