The inclusion of women in local disaster preparation and response planning is essential. We need to identify and harmonise best gender and disaster practice across levels of government. This can include individual women, representatives of women’s services and or of women’s organisations, particularly women who have been trained in this area. MEASURES THAT COULD IMPROVE GENDER RESPONSIVE DISASTER RECOVERY • Undertake research to analyse and collect evidence of the monetary value of the post-disaster work (unpaid and voluntary) which women do and the manner in which this work firstly contributes positively to community recovery and general resilience in the long term and secondly, its impact on their economic wellbeing. • Extend the time period for the provision of Health Care Card to people living in disaster affected areas and to those people who may have had to move as a result of the disaster. • Develop a locally managed referral system for people with personal and building recovery needs. Women’s services should be a key component of the information collection process which informs the referral process. • Investigate recovery support options which do not disadvantage/which target people living in rental accommodation, especially low cost rental. • Educate employers and employees about the obligations that employers have when their employees are affected by natural disasters. • It is vital that women are kept in work and that their unpaid care responsibilities are recognised by employers and the Fair Work Act. This education could be in the form of a checklist that could be used by employers and employees when negotiating different work arrangements in the aftermath of a disaster. • Provide additional short term accommodation (e.g. self-contained mobile housing) for recovery support workers who are imported into communities during and after natural disasters, relieving pressure on local sources of accommodation that may already be used as emergency or crisis housing.
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