By Cr Rob Hooke

There is one thing communities can learn from times of emergency and natural disaster, and that is how to better prepare for future emergencies.

Gunnedah shire has been through a time of drought, pandemic and floods, and we are using these enormous challenges to build a more resilient community.

One of the ways we are doing this is through the Regional Drought Resilience Plan. Under round two of the program, jointly funded by the Australian government and the NSW government under the Future Drought Fund, Gunnedah Shire Council and Liverpool Plains Shire Council are looking to create a way forward.

Keeping the Village Green: Regional Drought Resilience Plan will build on the knowledge, experiences and ideas of our local businesses, service providers and people. Through community meetings, pop-up stalls and an online survey, we want to hear what our people have to say.

This information will be used to form practical strategies that are achievable and effective in managing the challenges ahead.

We want to meet the years ahead with confidence and certainty, but we need your help to do it.

A meeting for business and industry representatives will be held at the Smithurst Theatre on Thursday, April 18 at 6-8pm. The online survey is available at

Another way we are preparing for the future is through the Get Ready & Resilience Expo to be held on Saturday, May 4.

Gunnedah Shire Council, with the support of the Hunter New England and Central Coast Primary Health Network and sponsorship from Whitehaven Coal and the NSW State Emergency Service – North Western Zone, will host this free Get Ready & Resilience Expo to be followed by a forum. The event will bring together emergency service organisations, government and non-government organisations, council and local not-for-profit organisations for an expo at Wolseley Park from 11am to 2pm, and the forum at Gunnedah Town Hall from 5pm to 8pm.

The free forum will feature guest speakers retired Detective Senior Constable Allan Sparkes CV, OAM, VA FRSN, and noted Australian actor and philanthropist Samuel Johnson OAM who will talk about resilience.

This day is a great partnership between the organisations that often find themselves at the frontline in times of emergency.

There will be plenty for the family to do at the expo, and the forum is a wonderful opportunity to hear from two inspiring speakers and share the conversation. Natural disasters and emergencies impact on everyone in our community in some way, and I urge you all to get involved in these initiatives to help make them as powerful and practical as possible.

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