Community Wellbeing

This research stream will be conducted by Federation University Australia’s Centre of Research for Resilient Communities (CoRRC) in collaboration with researchers from the Monash School of Rural Health.

The aims of this study stream are to investigate community perceptions on:

  • The impact of the smoke event on community wellbeing
  • The effectiveness of community rebuilding activities
  • Effective communication during and after the smoke event

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In the Community Wellbeing stream we want to gather community perceptions of the fire and smoke event’s impact on community wellbeing, the effectiveness of community rebuilding activities and the elements needed for effective communication during and after an event such as the mine fire.

In 2015 and 2016 focus groups and interviews were conducted about the impact of the smoke event on community resilience and recovery and the elements that are important for effective communication during and after such an event. In 2017 interviews are ongoing to provide an update on recovery activities and perceptions of community wellbeing.

Interviews with media professionals and social media administrators have taken place and over 1400 media articles and social media posts about the mine fire have been analysed to provide further information about the impact of the smoke event, and communication during the smoke event. Consultation is currently underway with media professionals, regarding the elements required for effective communication in a crisis such as the mine fire.

In 2016 we started working with community organisations on a project to foster community recovery and wellbeing. Community Wellbeing is about a combination of things that are needed for Morwell to be a good place to live and flourish. Things such as: access to education, affordable housing, employment, health services and social opportunities, the look and feel of a place, and whether you know and trust people in the community. The project is investigating what people like about living in Morwell, what needs to change and their hopes for the future of the Morwell community and the town. The exact nature of the project will be developed in partnership with the community participants and the researchers.

In 2017, in collaboration with Morwell Neighbourhood House and Gippsland Centre for Art and Design (Federation University), we are inviting community organisations to be part of a photographic exhibition: ‘Our hopes for the future of Morwell’. We are asking groups about their hopes for the future of Morwell as it recovers from the Hazelwood Mine Fire and the closure of the Hazelwood power station and to choose something to symbolise or represent those hopes. Once a group has decided on a symbol this will be photographed in the hands of one of its members. The photographic images will then be exhibited in a local exhibition space.