Council collaborates to benefit community
The Lockyer Valley knows only too well just what the impact of a severe weather event can look like – physically, mentally and emotionally.
Following two severe flood events in 2022 alone, after bushfires and years of drought, Lockyer Valley Regional Council has forged important new partnerships to bring tangible benefits to the community.
Council is partnering with several agencies to connect, collaborate and coordinate disaster recovery and resilience activities, including Royal Far West and the Queensland Centre for Perinatal and Infant Mental Health (QCPIMH), part of Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service. These partnerships are delivering the Birdie’s Tree initiative and the Stormbirds program in schools, early learning centres, libraries and community events.
Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor, Cr Tanya Milligan said the program not only filled a gap in the region, but also supported some of our most vulnerable – children.
“Infants, children, and those caring for them are typically overlooked, or have limited tailored support available in the context of disaster recovery; and less so in attending to their mental health and emotional wellbeing needs.
“While there is a large volume of service providers and activities available in the disaster recovery space, they’re overwhelming based in Ipswich, Toowoomba and Brisbane,” she said.
The Laidley Community Centre is one of the two Centres in our region that Council, and our various communities, intrinsically rely on as a disaster recovery hub or ‘shop front’, Mayor Milligan said.
“Their business-as-usual (BAU) services and support – emergency relief, children’s programs, kitchen pantry, government services drop-in sessions – are key to people’s short, medium and longer-term recovery.
“They continue to serve as a recovery hub, well after the formal Department of Communities, Housing and Digital Economy Recovery Hub services have left the region.
“Council can’t and shouldn’t be doing it all in the recovery space and utilises strategic partnerships, networks and lobbying to government to get the best possible support outcomes for our region,” Mayor Milligan said.
Royal Far West (RFW) uses its Community Recovery Program to support rural communities that have suffered extreme weather events and disasters such as floods and bushfires.
Jacqueline Emery, CEO of RFW said her team knows from experience that natural disasters like the 2022 flooding can have a harmful long-term impact on a child’s emotional wellbeing and development and it was crucial that child-centred responses are integral to the recovery process.
“Councils have so much to contend with after a severe weather event, it’s fantastic that Lockyer Council is ensuring the children are at the forefront of their disaster recovery planning,” Ms Emery said.
Residents and businesses needing support following a disaster are encouraged to visit their local community centre or Council’s Disaster Assistance and Support webpage at https://www.lockyervalley.qld.gov.au/our-region/disaster-support.