Our Resilience Hazards
Hazards arising from a combination of social, economic or environmental shocks and stresses.
Severe disruption to the services, infrastructure and assets that support our city and its people
The primary infrastructure that serves our LGA provides reliable essential services, such as energy, water, transport, telecommunications and health care. These systems and services are increasingly vulnerable to a range of shocks as they increase in frequency and severity – bushfires, extreme temperatures, cyber attacks and floods all have the potential to disrupt services and harm communities.
Our LGA is a transport hub within the South-western Sydney region where large proportions of residents in the local community and neighbouring suburbs rely on the City’s regional transport connections. Our increasing digital reliance means network downtime has a larger impact on our day-to-day more than ever. Hotter temperatures and frequent days of extreme heat mean that power disruptions are both more likely, and have a higher consequence as the air conditioning in which we increasingly rely on fails.
Without these services, our social cohesion and public safety are affected, and the stresses our community already experience are exacerbated – particularly those of our most vulnerable community members.
Health and community services are overwhelmed
Our health systems and community service providers range from general practices and hospitals, to homelessness services and domestic and family violence responders. These services are vulnerable to both acute shock events that can rapidly overwhelm following a major event, and by stresses that increase underlying pressure and strain existing resources.
Our community’s service providers already experience these constraints: food security organisations often operate on a week-to-week basis and their resources are often stretched; police respond to an average of 100 domestic and family violence reports every week; approximately six per cent of residents need help in their day-today lives due to a disability; and mental health services such as Lifeline have seen unprecedented demand during COVID-19.
More intense and more frequent climate events, increasing chronic illnesses, and regular social disruption is likely to result in significant spikes in demand for such health care and community services.
Critical infrastructure doesn’t meet or keep up with our changing community needs
Campbelltown’s population is projected to rise from 162,000 to 249,000 between 2016-2041 (54%). Projections show that the proportion of the population over 65 years old will increase the most (133% growth) compared to those of working age (46% growth) which will require careful consideration of how the community's needs will change. This exacerbates existing stresses that are felt by the community including increasing vulnerable populations and increasing densification.
This rapid growth will place pressure on our existing services and infrastructure – including cultural, education, health, community and water infrastructure – that are often already at, or nearing capacity. Targeted investment in services and infrastructure can support growth and take account of existing utilisation, while also responding to changing demands over time and in different places. Residents need the right mix of local services, programs and infrastructure to meet their needs. Robust planning at the local level will help ensure the community is able to bounce back faster following shock events
Extreme heat days threaten our lives and the things we do
Our City experiences a higher number of extreme heat days when compared to the Eastern suburbs. In addition, the projected trend is for an increase in the intensity and frequency of these hot days and heatwaves over the coming decades due to climate change.
Heatwaves have the greatest impact in terms of mortality and the number of people hospitalised of all climate-related shocks. They also severely contribute to social isolation and reduced connectivity, particularly for vulnerable community members.
With the increase in urban development, there is additional potential for increased risk of urban heat impacts. Urban heat islands occur in built areas such as the city and industrial sites leading to consistently higher temperatures due to a greater retention of heat. Human activities, such as motorised transport and use of air conditioning also increase the level of waste heat generated. Both factors will become worse as population growth accelerates and development density increases.
Given the increasing development underway both across and surrounding our LGA, if left unmitigated, urban heat effects are likely to exacerbate these impacts and result in higher frequencies of extreme temperatures and heat waves for the community.
Council’s agility and resources are tested as we work to deliver and meet our commitments
When shock events occur Council acts rapidly to respond in the best way it can. In many cases, however, there are barriers that mean our flexibility and ability to respond are hampered. For example, when shock events compound (i.e. multiple shocks occur within short timeframes) or when shocks bring stresses to the verge of crisis, Council resources can become stretched. Regulatory barriers also exist that mean that Council has limited flexibility in its ability to repurpose assets for critical response, as seen in the COVID-19 response.
Resilience shows us that we can't possibly plan for, and control everything, so it's about being adaptable and nimble. It also reminds us that resilience is a team effort. We need to build relationships, as well as support and facilitate strong, adaptable networks between community members, service providers and institutions. It is this ‘soft’ infrastructure that is most important in a shock event.
Our First Nations knowledge and wisdom are not respected and embraced
As our community rapidly grows we must recognise, in all our actions, that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are First Nations of the lands in which we live. Our LGA is home to many sacred sites, and we must respect and embrace our First Nations communities’ deep unbreakable bond with Country and the knowledge that goes with that.
The major shock event of colonisation impacted these communities and has created ongoing experiences of stresses around racism, child removal, inequity and displacement. Shock and stresses continue to disproportionally affect our First Nations communities who already face access and equity issues, and as such experience poorer health and wellbeing outcomes and social disadvantage.
Shock events such as floods and fires also have the potential to damage or destroy sacred sites. As the climate continues to change (increasing frequency and intensity of extreme climate events) ,and as development continues to expand, these sites become increasingly vulnerable.
Our city grows without an identity or spirit to support community cohesion and strength
Our LGA’s population is incredibly diverse with almost 40% of our residents born outside of Australia, bringing and fostering rich culture within our city. We are also welcoming a large number of new residents to the region with a growing population and rapid development occurring. The challenges we face are transitioning towards those experienced by larger metropolitan cities.
With continued growth comes a greater need to understand our communities and work with them to deliver the services they need. Developing communities – those who are still growing their local networks and understanding regional contexts – are at greater risk of social isolation and have lower resilience to recover when things, like shock events, cause things to go wrong.