The 2013 Resilient Australia Awards (RAA) may put the accent more on measurable accomplishment, rather than “boisterous and uncritical enthusiasm and excitement” (an online dictionary definition of “rah-rah”). Notwithstanding the natural keenness of people to do a good job, the awards have been put in place to recognise achievement and innovation in resilience: increasing the safety and robustness of communities and their capability to manage any emergency situation. This annual program began in 2000 under the name of the “Australian Safer Communities Awards”. Does the name change also make a difference about who can enter?
The field is in fact wide open to potentially any individuals or organisations. Entries must be made by the closing date of Friday 5 July 2013. The awards will be made in six categories: non-profit; education and research; private sector; local government; state and territory government; and Australian government and multi-jurisdiction. State and territory judging is scheduled to take place in August/September. The state level awards in September/October will then be followed by awards at a national level. Those entrants also receiving national awards will attend a ceremony later in 2013 in Canberra with the Minister for Emergency Management (currently Mark Dreyfus QC MP).
The awards have a focus on emergency management, covering: education and training; information and knowledge management; preparedness; prevention; response and recovery; and risk assessment. The criteria for judging entries include the motivation behind the project or initiative, the increase in resilience that has been accomplished, the degree of community engagement in the project, and the degree of innovation. Interested parties can make their application online via the Resilient Australia Awards 2013 Online Entry Portal. Award-winning projects and initiatives for 2012 were in areas including bush fire management, climate risk, and the “Single Point of Truth” (SPOT) for the Australian Capital Territory Emergency Services Agency.