$150,000 investment to improve natural disaster resilience for deaf community

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Senator for Western Sydney, the Hon. Marise Payne, and State Member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee MP, today announced a $151,678 investment under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program to help the Deaf Society of NSW in Parramatta better prepare for natural disasters.

The joint investment by the Australian and NSW governments will fund the Sharing Responsibility for Natural Disasters by Enhancing the Emergency Preparedness of Deaf People – a joint initiative between the Deaf Society and its partners the State Emergency Service (SES), Rural Fire Service (RFS) and Fire and Rescue NSW (FRNSW).

The project involves identifying and training Deaf Liaison Officers, creating Auslan videos and pictorial guides, holding disaster preparedness workshops with the deaf community and conducting deaf awareness training for emergency service personnel and volunteers.

“I am delighted to announce this significant investment to help the deaf community in Western Sydney and across New South Wales prepare for natural disasters that are sadly an all-too common occurrence in our country,” Senator Payne said.

“Last year’s Blue Mountains bushfires west of Sydney are a reminder of how important it is to prepare for natural disasters and this funding boost is timely as summer approaches and chances of further fires increase.”

Deaf Society of NSW CEO, Sharon Everson, welcomed the funding saying the project provided a tailored approach to the needs of deaf and hearing-impaired people when facing natural disasters.

“We are delighted that the Australian and NSW governments have provided funding to support this vital project.  As well as the creation of deaf-friendly resources, the project will enable deaf people themselves to become more actively involved in emergency management practices through the recruitment of deaf liaison offers throughout key Sydney metropolitan areas,” Ms Everson said.

State Member for Parramatta, Geoff Lee, said the funding would help the Deaf Society work co-operatively with emergency response agencies to continue their great work in the community.

“I’m extremely proud of the contribution the Deaf Society makes to Parramatta and NSW as a whole and I congratulate them and their partners on formulating a program that caters to the unique needs of the deaf community in times of crisis,” Mr Lee said.

“I would also like to thank Senator Payne and the Australian Government for working together with the NSW Government on what is an important national issue.”

Projects are jointly supported with Australian Government funding matched dollar for dollar by NSW.  This funding encourages a partnership approach with the funding recipients, helping to build a culture of shared responsibility in the face of natural disasters.