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Aboriginal-led community recovery planning

Community-led recovery is at the centre of recovery decisions and effort when working with Aboriginal communities in Victoria. ERV’s role is to support the effective preparedness, establishment and delivery of Aboriginal community-led recovery processes. This is consistent with whole of Victorian Government approach displayed below. 

*The diagram is adapted from Emergency Management Victoria, 2014, Disaster Recovery Toolkit for Local Government book 7: Engaging the Community in Disaster Recovery.

Community-centred recovery diagram

  • Download' Community-centred recovery diagram'

Aboriginal community-led recovery is further supported by ERV’s work to embed the principles and enablers of self-determination – guided by the Self-Determination Reform Framework (Victorian Government, July 2019).

ERV recognises the devastating and lasting effects of disasters on Aboriginal Victorians due to ongoing intergenerational trauma and the social disparity experienced by many Aboriginal people in Victoria today. Aboriginal communities continue to deal with the unresolved impacts of colonisation and intergenerational trauma – highlighting their innate strength and resilience.

Aboriginal communities ask us to consider the ongoing effects of colonisation, but to do so in a way responding to their strengths and human right to be self-determining. What this means is Aboriginal people are best placed to culturally inform, where they choose to, their own place-based approaches to recovery. This is self-determination in action.

Case study - Lake Tyers relief centre project

The Lake Tyers community relief centre project is an example of collaboration between government and community for recovery. Since the 2019-2020 bushfires the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust (the Trust) has worked with Bushfire Recovery Victoria to develop a structured plan to build a dedicated community relief centre. Lake Tyers community is in a remote location with only one access road into and out of the community.

The population is primarily made up of elders and other vulnerable groups, that deal with financial inequalities and intergenerational trauma. The stress of evacuating, and the direct experience of the devastation the community witnessed, has left a lasting impact on many residents. The Trust proposed funding for a community shelter to support its residents in future events. The Trust noted that the community shelter would function primarily as an evacuation point, and its installation would build its residents’ self-reliance and social capacity.

“A safe, relaxed building that mob, the community could come and feel safe” Terylene Hood, community member.

The project will develop local capacity in emergency management through enacting planning; delivering education and training; establishing collaborative partnerships; and building community leadership.

Local roles and responsibilities in emergency management practices will be designed to support the community and increase their participation and sense of responsibility. The initial proposal for funding was modified to deliver a feasibility study on the construction of the relief centre.

This feasibility study was led by an emergency management consultant and reported to both ERV and Department of Premier and Cabinet - First Peoples State Relations. This work would create a stable partnership to develop the proposal for the community relief centre build and assisted in identifying the Gunaikurnai Land and Waters Aboriginal Corporation (GLaWAC) as an auspice to oversee the project.

“Community’s assurance that they’re going to have a place that they can actually go to, in the case of any event that would cause evacuation of the community.” Grattan Mullet, GLaWAC

ERV, DPC - First Peoples-State Relations, GLaWAC and the Lake Tyers Aboriginal Trust have established a solid foundation for agreed goals for the community, built by an effective collaborative approach based on trust and shared knowledge