Drought has long-term social, economic and environmental impacts
As of May 2020, 41 Councils and four part-Council areas within Queensland were drought-declared; together these make up 64.7% of the State’s land area (Queensland Government, 2020). It’s important to note the impacts of drought are often long-term. For example, the Millennium Drought, which spanned from 1997 to 2013, hit many communities hard and some communities in rural South-East Queensland are still suffering from the long-term social, economic and environmental impacts of this drought.
Neighbourhood Centres act as the ‘Support Hub’ and ‘Knowledge Bank’ for drought-affected communities
Research shows that for drought-affected communities, the local Neighbourhood Centre is often considered the trusted, first-port-of-call ‘Support Hub’ that people turn to in times of need. Centres are also considered the ‘Knowledge Bank’ of what the local community needs, as well as providing the resources and connections necessary to respond to these needs.
In 2020 the Drought Resilience Strategy Project began, to promote social cohesion and community integration, capture local knowledge and to act as a tool to increase the capacity of centres supporting their local community through a drought.
The Drought Resilience Strategy
The project took a participatory action research approach, connecting with local Neighbourhood Centres in West, Far West and South West Queensland. At the time of writing, the project is in phase 4 – the implementation of the strategy.
The project phases included:
Phase 1: Literature Review & Neighbourhood Centre Drought Survey
Representatives of Neighbourhood and Community Centres participated in the development of a Queensland Drought Response Strategy through direct conversations and by completing an online survey.
Phase 2: Neighbourhood Centre Workshops
A series of online workshops were held with representatives of Neighbourhood Centres.
The consultations, workshops and survey identified centres’ unique value and captured case studies of centres’ existing approaches to supporting their communities. The research also identified the factors that limit Neighbourhood Centres’ capacity to support drought affected communities.
Phase 3: Strategy Publication and Launch
The Queensland Neighbourhood Centres Strategy for Drought Resilience was published in September 2020 and launched online with a presentation from collaborators and contributors.
Phase 4: Implementation of the Drought Resilience Strategy (Current)
NCQ and Neighbourhood Centres continue to work on the implementation of the Drought Resilience Strategy, particularly in terms of seeking collaborative initiatives.
Drought Resilience Enquiries & Partnerships
Contributors and Authors
For their generous contribution of time and insights, NCQ would like to thank the representatives from the following Centres:
Care Goondiwindi, Charleville and District Community Support Association, Somerset Region Community Support, Tara and District Family Support Committee, Boulia Community Support Service, Brilla Brilla Centre, Cloncurry Community Support Service, Winton Shire Council, Chinchilla Family Support Centre, East Creek Community Centre, Granite Belt Neighbourhood Centre, Graham House Community Centre, Millmerrin Community Support Service, Murilla Community Centre, Paroo Community Support Service, Centacare Kingaroy, Wilsonton Height Community Centre, Dalby Crisis Support Association and Harlaxton Neighbourhood Centre.
Thank you to Roslyn Wade for her work on the scoping interview, online surveys and workshops, and the relationships she has built with the participants for this research.
Mengting Lin with the support of QFCA staff members Natasha Odgers, Chris Mundy and Tobi Leggans.
The development of the Drought Resilience Strategy was funded by the Queensland Community Foundation (QCF).