Understanding the data behind the index – Dr Melissa Parsons holds ADRI workshops across Aus.

Posted by | July 16, 2021 | Humanities | No Comments

Dr Melissa Parsons Senior Lecturer at UNE and Project Leader of the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC has recently held a series of workshops around the country that explore the Australian Disaster Resilience Index (ADRI).

For any who are not aware, the Australian Disaster Resilience Index is a tool for assessing the resilience of communities to natural hazards at a large scale and is designed to provide input into macro-level policy, strategic planning and community engagement activities at national, state and local government levels.

These workshops, and the ADRI itself, provide an enormous benefit to individuals and organisations especially at a time when Australia is still recovering from a series of natural disasters.

“Understanding the data behind the index and how capacities differ from place to place will help communities, governments and industry work together to cope with and adapt to natural hazards such as bushfires, floods, storms and earthquakes,” said Dr Parsons when discussing the motivation behind the ADRI workshops. “These workshops provide a customised introduction to the Australian Disaster Resilience Index research and tools in a local context.”

The workshops explore the ADRI website, which can be view publicly here. Each workshop brings together a range of representatives from emergency management, local government, NGOs, State Government and Federal Government for experiential learning and networking.

Some of the specific topics that Dr Parsons discusses in the workshops include:

  • Learning how to use the dashboard to explore place-based disaster resilience, coping and adaptive capacities to inform your work
  • Finding out about the research behind the index
  • Coming up with a case study to work through, with experts and lead end users on hand to guide participants through use of the tools and resources

Learning about these resources and systems of management side-by-side in a workshop setting can be particularly beneficial for the participants as it often helps them form a community of practice.

Prior to the recent COVID lockdowns, Dr Parsons and the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC held workshops in Sydney, Darwin and Adelaide. While there were plans to hold workshops across Australia this year, the remainder are currently postponed due to the recent pandemic restrictions.

While discussing the on-going workshops with Dr Parsons and the benefit they provide, natural progression of this project was discussed, and what will come next.

“Yes. As the adoption of the Australian Disaster Resilience Index is ongoing, we hope to get back together in about 12 months for a practice day, where users can give case studies about how the ADRI has been used in decision making, policy development, strategic planning and any other examples of use.”

Workshops that span across Australia and address a topic as important as disaster resilience are sure to provide certain insights and lessons; when asked about this Dr Parsons noted the importance of exploring how the ADRI fits alongside various information sources used by agencies.

“One of the insights is that the ADRI data are often used alongside and complement a whole range of other data that agencies use, like risk maps, community profiles and legislation. The workshops are also exploring the types of changes that could make ADRI Mark II could make, such as interfacing better with other types of data.”

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