Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise (BMEE) recently hosted the third annual Bushfire Building Conference at the Blue Mountains Theatre and Community Hub in Springwood.
As the peak economic development body in the Blue Mountains, building economic resilience is an important aspect of our role. Economic resilience is essential for economic recovery after disasters and is built by having a diverse range of industries in a particular region, and through awareness of potential risks, especially natural disasters. Having strategies in place for minimising the effects of those risks means a faster economic recovery for the community following a disaster event.
BMEE played a key role in the economic recovery after the devastating 2013 bushfires. Our role included the development, in conjunction with local businesses, of what has become a unique event. The Bushfire Building Conference and Expo focuses on building in a bushfire prone area and brings together the many occupations and professions that are involved in the building of property in areas that are subjected to bushfires. This year BMEE assembled a range of speakers from around the country - from CSIRO and university experts to architects, builders, building designers, landscape designers, professional associations, BMCC and our major sponsor the NSW Rural Fire Service. All these organisations presented a range of perspectives to delegates with the common goal of helping people build homes that are more able to exist within a bushfire prone environment.
Enthusiastic feedback from speakers indicates that this event is the only one of its kind in the world and we look forward to engaging with a wider field of speakers and delegates next year. We are aiming to position the Blue Mountains as the global centre of excellence on this increasingly vital aspect of life in a world subject to rapid climate change. To achieve this, we will continue to work closely with local businesses, showcasing their expertise and developing greater revenue for the local economy.
Already, the community forum and expo does this for the many local businesses that take part. Peta Frullani Designs, Woodford Homes and Blue Eco Homes are just three of the local businesses to benefit from the exposure this year.
Currently about 60 per cent of workers who live in the Mountains leave every day to go to work and BMEE will continue to focus its efforts towards creating more local jobs in an effort to reduce this flood of employment off the mountains.
Read more about BMEE’s strategy and activities at www.bmee.org.au.
Donald Luscombe AFSM, is Chairman of Blue Mountains Economic Enterprise