ABV was brought in to work alongside the Braidwood Villages Business Chamber to do what we do best: bringing in experts and strengthening the chamber's networks.  After regular meetings and consultations, a tourism corridor project was discussed. This project is the brainchild of ABV’s volunteer, Professor Brian Roberts, who has replicated this successful model in several developing countries for the United Nations.

The purpose of the Tourism Corridor is to facilitate the recovery of businesses in disaster-affected areas by boosting tourism. Tourism corridors link groups of tourism assets together such as wineries and biking trails, motivating visitors to explore the area. This drives up trade for local businesses, which is crucial to building back post fires.

Within those networks, ABV has brought in tourism leaders from Canberra, New Zealand, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council and the South Coast. Since August 2023, we've been working on the Braidwood Regional Brand, defining the region's strongest offerings. We recently organised a workshop inviting the wider community to pitch new tourism ideas. Despite the Braidwood Villages Business Chamber being able to select only five pitches, we had over 20 fantastic entrants. This workshop is a testament to the progress the chamber is making towards a stronger economy, becoming stronger against future natural hazards.

Image: Adam Nye and Andrew White presenting their pitch from the Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council.

We express our heartfelt gratitude to the stakeholders who have played a pivotal role in this project's success, including Braidwood Villages Business Chamber, Enterprise Plus, Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Tourism, University of Canberra, Braidwood Community Association, Braidwood Visitor Information Centre, Bulah Delah Chamber of Trade and Commerce, Development West Coast (NZ), our volunteer Professor Brian Roberts, and our facilitator, Natascha Wernick.

Your contributions have been instrumental in our journey towards a stronger tourism corridor.

The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments

#communityresilience #community #capacitybuilding #economicresilience #businessresilience #disasterpreparedness

Our partner, Arup, has been providing technical expertise to our programs in Australia for almost 4 years, and we are beyond grateful for all the knowledge and experience their team brings.

We grow more substantial businesses and local economies to build disaster resilience, and Arup's contribution of highly specialised skills has been invaluable to the communities we serve. This partnership is a commitment to leveraging specialist expertise and delivering it where it's most needed.

Their estimated contribution of more than $100,000 worth of services to our programs is a testament to their dedication to helping communities rebuild and prosper after natural disasters.

The team of Arup specialists, including quantity surveyors, hydrologists, engineers, and environmental scientists, are dedicated to providing their expertise to help communities.

We want to extend a special thank you to Michelle Cheah, Melanie Grills, Trish Sunga, Edward Rowe, Madison Downey, Frankie Coen, Justin Peachey, Michael James, Angel Z., Gaenor Gibbs-Harris, Annabel Kerr, Joshua Atkinson, Vincent Chan Kun Wa and Christopher Serrano for their dedication and expertise. The impact of ABV's mission is amplified due to their contributions.

Image 1 (Header): Michelle Cheah (Arup’s Australasia Community Engagement Manager/Social Impact Leader) at the Cultural Burning Conference 2023 participating in the group brainstorm.

Image: Melanie Grills (Arup’s Associate Principal of First Nations Programs & Projects) and Oscar Mussons (ABV’s Program Director of Australia Programs) signing in participants at the Cultural Burning Conference 2023.

Image 3: Edward Rowe (Arup’s Resilience and Adaptation Lead for NSW/ACT and the Pacific) supported the Cobargo Visioning Workshops with ABV which brought together Cobargo’s community to share ideas and create disaster action plans.

Image 4: Christopher Serrano (Arup Senior Environmental Consultant), Madison Downey (Arup Environmental Scientist), Thanda Bennett and George Barrett (ABV Australia Programs Team) Amanda Foster (Merrimans Local Aboriginal Land Council) meeting.

The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments

Australian Business Volunteers submitted a statement to the Senate Select Committee on Australia's Disaster Resilience. The committee aims to investigate the roles of different entities, including the Australian Defence Force, volunteer groups, not-for-profit organisations, and state-based services. Its purpose is to determine the necessary support to improve Australia's resilience and response to natural disasters. 

Our submission is based on our deep experience working in multiple areas affected by natural disasters in New South Wales and Victoria. It stresses the importance of community-led approaches and place-based models in disaster resilience efforts.  

Our recommendations encourage a collaborative approach, bringing together stakeholders such as community leaders, organisations, charities, emergency services, and government agencies. We believe this collaborative effort is essential to avoid working in isolation and to effectively support preparedness and recovery efforts.  

Read full submission here (see submission #162)

In the heart of NSW's South Coast, the Batemans Bay Local Aboriginal Land Council's Walbunja Rangers—a group deeply connected to the land—sought assistance from Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) to improve their business planning and strategy. 

Image above: Ken Long, Andrew White and Ros Carriage working on business plan for BBLALC.

The Walbunja Rangers—custodians of country revegetation, pest control, and cultural preservation— have dedicated years to merging traditional knowledge with Western education. Their mission involves maintaining the delicate balance through practices honed over tens of thousands of years.

Image above: Walbunja Rangers, Andrew White and Adam Nye demonstrating a burn at ABV's Cultural Burning Conference August 2023.

Dr. Ken Long, an ABV skilled business volunteer stepped in to lend a hand to the Walbunja Rangers, drawing on his extensive experience improving business competitiveness and productivity. 

The collaboration between ABV, Dr. Ken Long, and the Walbunja Rangers was more than creating a business plan. It was about the team discovering their individual and collective strengths, learning together, and building confidence in their own abilities.

This project reflects ABV's commitment to supporting First Nations organisations, fostering entrepreneurship and business development, while also playing a vital role in enhancing disaster preparedness and community resilience on a national scale.

Above: Andrew White and Ken Long working on a business plan for BBLALC

The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.

#communityresilience #community #capacitybuilding #economicresilience #businessresilience #disasterpreparedness

The Braidwood & Villages Tourism Development Workshop was held last Friday morning, with feedback from the participants confirming it was a resounding success, enriched by the smoking ceremony and opening led by the Walbunja Rangers.

Five community members, hand selected from a wide range of applicants, presented their tourism plans to an expert panel.  Ideas were creative and varied, from gin schools to highland cultural tours and heritage trails. As well as ideas around centralising and organising local events and activities.

A highlight was the pitch from Brian Roberts, one of our skilled business volunteers whose insights captivated the room. The last photo shows the working group that has been pivotal in steering these initiatives over the past months.

After the presentations, ideas were workshopped in small groups with experts and entrepreneurs collaborating to progress the project.

One participant said, “ I appreciated being involved in the process and feel privileged to be around such knowledgeable people who are, humbly, willing to share their knowledge”.

We thank all of those who were involved, from the experts to the working group and those who submitted entries. This workshop is a part of the larger Braidwood & Villages Destination Management Plan to increase tourism visitors to the region. 

The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments.

If you have a tourism-related product or tourism investment project for Braidwood and Villages that you are keen to get off the ground, now is your chance to pitch your idea. Up to five tourism or investment projects will be selected to be worked on or progressed. 

Braidwood and Villages Business Chamber (BAVBC) supported by Australian Business Volunteers (ABV) and Enterprise Plus, will be hosting a Tourism Product Development Workshop on Friday the 9th of February.  

We are inviting community members, groups, and businesses to pitch their tourism-related product or tourism investment project. The panel are looking for new products, catalyst projects, or business ideas to support in seven categories: agri tourism; nature tourism; heritage tourism; visitor information, technology and knowledge services; local area/street improvement projects; and creative and cultural tourism. 

This is an incredible opportunity to have a coordinated focus on your idea.  Our Reference Panel is ready to work on this with you. Simply apply on the link below. 

Three to five pitches will be selected to attend the workshop where under the guidance of our experts, will work towards creating a comprehensive project concept and compelling funding proposal. Our aim is to identify and develop the projects in sufficient detail to assist the project in securing funding and resources needed for implementation in the next 12 months.  A list of criteria is included with the application form. 

The Reference Panel includes members of the Braidwood and Villages Tourism and Investment working group, QPRC, Braidwood and Villages Tourism, Enterprise Plus, Braidwood Community Association, and other invited guests including ABV Volunteer Professor Brian Roberts (Emeritus Professor of Urban and Regional Economic Development) with extensive international experience in over 30 countries, and from the University of Canberra, Associate Professor Brian Weir specialising in Tourism and Events.    

The community has been working on a vision for our local area for some time which identified the need for coordinated tourism initiatives. As the Braidwood and Villages Destination Management Plan formalises and develops, you can expect more of these kinds of workshops, as we aim to provide the tools to develop the Braidwood and Villages business community to its full potential.  

Pitch applications will be received until Monday 5th February, 9am AEDT via the below link. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/C37TG3T 

Successful applicants will be invited to attend the event to explain their idea. 

The workshop will be held Friday 9th February and will include lunch and morning team. 

For more information, please visit BAVBC Website

This project is being facilitated by Australian Business Volunteers and is funded by the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) which is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments. 

A powerful morning of discussion and sharing ideas at the Community Forum on Climate Resilience 2023 this morning. Attendees heard from community leaders with real lived experience of supporting their communities through natural disasters.

Expert facilitators Liz Mackinlay, ABV CEO, Briony Rogers, F2F CEO, and Bhiamie Eckford-Williamson, NIDR, guided the panel discussions on how we improve disaster outcomes through reimagining the disaster spectrum and how communities can empower themselves within the disaster response and recovery cycle.

A wide range of topics were discussed, with the key points being:

Participants left feeling inspired and invigorated with one participant saying “It was great to hear the different experiences across different scenarios. It was also excellent having First Nations perspectives included and incorporated into thinking about adaptation.”

We thank our guest speakers and panellists for sharing their experiences with us and the participants. Elly Bird, Executive Director, Resilient Lismore, Melanie Bloor, President, Resilient Uki, Kizzy Nye, Community Lead - Fire to Flourish Eurobodalla, Sabrina Davis, Kangaroo Island, DisasterWISE Communities Network, Oliver Costello, Executive Director Jagun Alliance Aboriginal Corporation, Sam Henderson, CEO, Northern Rivers Community Foundation, Zena Armstrong, President, Cobargo Folk Festival, Lisa Keedle, Executive Officer - Emergency Management, Yarra Ranges Council and Senator Tony Sheldon, Deputy Chair of Select Committee on Australia’s Disaster Resilience.

A recording of the event will be available on the ABV website shortly, with a statement due for release in February 2024.

This is the first step in a much longer program of work and ABV is excited to be embarking this journey with our partners.

Liz Mackinlay, CEO - Australian Business Volunteers

Briony Rogers, CEO - Fire to Flourish

The Australian Business Volunteers team recently visited Braidwood as a part of their commitment to grow economic resilience in natural-disaster prone regions, empowering businesses to withstand disruptions and continue to thrive in the face of disasters.

This exceptional workshop brought together local business representatives, Chamber members, tourism association leaders, and council officials for the shared purpose of charting the path to boost tourism for Braidwood and surrounding regions.

The workshop called “Developing tourism and investment in Braidwood and Villages”, was held on the 19th of October at Mona Farm and facilitated by Fiona Court (BVBC), our ABV Senior Program Manager and Natascha Wernick, the unshakeable ABV Community Program Development Facilitator.

The workshop featured expert advice– with representatives from of Development West Coast from New Zealand and Bulahdelah Business Chamber of Commerce and Tourism from New South Wales. They shared their success stories in implementing innovative tourism development plans in their regions, inspiring all attendees.

Attendees left the workshop feeling invigorated and with the tools and a plan to help them reimagine Braidwood and Villages tourism offering.

Funding acknowledgement: This project is funded by the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) which is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments. We acknowledge the support of our partner The Braidwood and Villages Business Chamber.

The business community of Tumbarumba immersed themselves in a dynamic Business Bootcamp, a two-night event on the 16th and 17th of October 2023, facilitated by Australian Business Volunteers.

With a different topic each night, participants had the opportunity to sharpen their finance skills and gain insights into boosting their impact with creative marketing ideas. It was an opportunity not just to learn but to transform, to take those insights and supercharge their businesses.

What makes these workshops important is reaching local businesses to emphasise the critical fusion of economic resilience and disaster preparedness strategies. It’s about empowering businesses to withstand disruptions and continue to thrive in the face of disasters.

Guiding this event were our expert facilitators, Dr. Ken Long and Natascha Wernick, with their combined wealth of experience exceeding 40 years in business development and advisory roles.

Tumbarumba Chamber of Commerce members enjoyed complimentary access to these Bootcamps, yet another excellent reason for businesses in the region to join their Chamber of Commerce.

Participants expressed their satisfaction with the Bootcamp with resoundingly positive feedback. Robbie Ladbroke from Ladbroken Gin commented, “Thank you. Best facilitation I’ve ever experienced.”

Funding acknowledgement: This project is funded by the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund (DRRF) which is jointly funded by the Australian and New South Wales governments. We acknowledge the support of our partner the Tumbarumba Chamber of Commerce. 

At this year's Australian Disaster Resilience Conference Liz Mackinlay, our CEO had the honour of moderating a panel of courageous community leaders. ABV brought together this panel to bring community voices to this event. The panel had Zena Armstrong from Cobargo, Natascha Wernick from Byrll Creek and Melanie Bloor from Uki. Together, they explored how we can reimagine community disaster preparedness and response from the ground up.

The panel discussed the critical themes of resourcing community, supporting community leaders, respecting and amplifying existing social and economic capital and celebrating the sacred space of conversation. The group also emphasised the importance of connecting leaders at events like these because relationships and trust are what drive the community to be resilient and prepared. ABV facilitated this panel because we understand the importance of community voice in bringing lived experience to disaster resilience conversations alongside fire agencies, Gov bodies and corporate stakeholders.

"We can talk about bringing community to the table, but we have to fund their attendance and provide space for that to be possible." - Liz Mackinlay.

ABV was also invited to have a booth in NRMA's Resilience Lane as part of the AFAC Exhibition. Team members Natascha Wernick (Community Facilitator) and Moneesha Reynolds (Comms Officer) spent the two days conversing with the conference attendees on how skilled volunteering supports disaster recovery.

This year was the first time the conference had a space where not-for-profit organisations could showcase their work in community resilience. We were happy surrounded by like-minded organisations, making great connections and sharing stories.

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