Supporting communities affected by bushfires – President’s comment
The eyes of the world have been on Australia as bushfires have devastated our communities, environment and wildlife. Our hearts are with those battling the fires and the families and loved-ones of those lost.
The way Australians and citizens across the globe have rallied to provide whatever assistance they can to our heroic firefighters and wildlife is indicative of the human spirit that shines through in tragedy.
The Victorian communities of East Gippsland, Towong and Alpine have worked tirelessly battling these fires alongside much of the Australian east coast, and their efforts deserve immense praise. The fires are the worst we have experienced since Black Saturday and affected communities know that they cannot do this alone.
The Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) has been in close contact with council chief executive officers, mayors and staff right across the State, and a common theme is the need for additional personnel as council officers work tirelessly to support their communities.
It can be difficult to know where to start when offering professional support. With that in mind the MAV has simplified the process for inter-council human resource sharing by establishing a new online Human Resource Sharing Database.
Together with councils, we are working to get council officers where they are needed most by ensuring fire-affected councils are connected with the most relevant support offered from other councils.
The database records council-to-council offers of assistance to fire-affected municipalities and allows us to sort offers by location, skillset and availability, to ensure we connect fire-affected councils with the most suitable support, as quickly as possible. To date, 50 councils have joined the database with over 320 offers of assistance in the system.
It’s fantastic to see the sector coming together to support our impacted councils in a variety of ways. It really highlights the commitment of councils to their communities and their colleagues, especially in East Gippsland, Towong and Alpine.
As our communities begin to recover from the bushfires, councils will continue to be on the front lines helping the recovery efforts. In future emergencies, the Human Resource Sharing Database will be utilised to coordinate council collaboration.
Australians are resilient and our communities are strongest in times of crisis. These events have shown the strength of the local government sector. If we can take nothing else away from these tragic weeks, let us move forward knowing that we will always lend help and support wherever and whenever we can to those in need.
To learn more about our Human Resource Sharing Database, visit mav.asn.au