Outstanding association leadership

Two leading Victorian peak bodies have developed a strategy to address the needs of vulnerable communities in the face of our changing climate. Their work will have major benefits across the state.

The Ethnic Communities’ Council Victoria and the Victorian Council of Social Service produced a landmark report in 2022. The ECCV and VCOSS research paper: Valuing strengths, building resilience: Improving emergency management for multicultural communities in Victoria sets out a blueprint for action, observing that collaboration is essential in this area for effective outcomes.

ECCV is the peak body for migrant and refugee communities in Victoria, working with more than 220 member organisations, including ethnic associations, multicultural service providers, and eight regional ethnic communities’ councils.

VCOSS is the peak body for Victoria’s social and community sector, and the state’s primary social advocacy body. Its members include large charities, peak organisations, small community services and advocacy groups. 

These two bodies are demonstrating how associations can lead the way for their members and all stakeholders.

Working together with government and emergency management sector

The research paper highlights the critical importance of strong connections and engagement between multicultural communities, government and the emergency management sector, and makes recommendations to enhance how this occurs.

The recommendations strengthen the existing Multicultural Emergency Management Partnership (MEMP) that already operates on a partnership model, which includes the Victorian Department of Health and other government agencies.

The two bodies support the MEMP to develop a governance structure to allowing them to continue their work with all members, strengthen relationships and embed a long-term, inclusive approach to emergency management.

(The importance of effective planning and collaboration are discussed by community and government leaders in this excellent video, made in the wake of Melbourne’s 2020 COVID-19 lockdowns):

Climate leadership

As VCOSS points out, two things are certain to happen in our near future. Climate change will demand increased community resilience and Victoria will become more culturally diverse. Its disaster resilience campaign covers many aspects.

The research paper also recommends how the emergency management sector itself can become more diverse and inclusive, placing it in a better position to support all Victorians.  

There is increasing recognition across Australia of the role of the community in emergency management at national, state and local levels. Peak bodies are playing key roles – national and state Councils of Social Service have undertaken work directly related to emergency management.

The research paper’s goal is to build safer and more climate change resilient communities. VCOSS’s and ECCV’s collective actions show how associations can proactively examine the risks to members and put measures in place to build resilience.

Read more examples of leadership by Australian associations

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