Sunday, May 03, 2009

community comes out

Today I went to a public meeting of the Dandenong Ranges Community Bushfire Group at Burrinja, which has come about due to the extraordinary efforts of two local women, Jo Hirst and Mel Gajdek.

Jo, me and Mel at Burrinja.

Mel and Jo felt very strongly about the need for a Dandenong Ranges community response to feed into the Royal Commission into the Victoria Bushfires. They initially started with a survey to gather the key issues of concern from the community, from the survey came some key areas of focus which were broadly grouped into the following categories: Early Warning Systems, Fuel Reduction, Refuges, Communication and Education.

All participants had the opportunity to have their say on all of the areas of concern with the room divided into 'stations'. Groups circulated to each station which ensured there was extensive dialogue on all of the issues raised through the survey.

Mel and Jo have done this off their own bats, they have had the help of many, however their efforts are a credit to them and their passion to see this project through. Today's public meeting was a facilitated community consultation, further exploring the key concerns in each of the categories mentioned earlier from the survey results.

The day was very well attended with around 100 locals ready to input their thoughts on the various issues. Well done Mel and Jo, your community passion is outstanding and your efforts were well rewarded with a great turn out on the day.

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