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Pride of the region: Awards cast nation's eyes on Lismore flood response and rebuild efforts

Flood recovery at Lismore campus


6 December 2023

Southern Cross University has been shortlisted for a national award recognising its ongoing contribution to the challenging flood recovery in the Northern Rivers.

From housing schools on campus to research and community engagement around housing and adaptation strategies for the region’s future, the University has been shortlisted in the ‘Community Champion’ Section of the inaugural Shaping Australia Awards, established by Universities Australia in partnership with News Ltd.

Supporters can vote in the People’s Choice section by clicking the heart on the University’s shortlisted entry here.

The Awards will be also judged by an expert panel, with an announcement of winners on 27 February, 2024.

“What has happened since the 2022 floods – the way the community has bonded together to recover and renew – has been a triumph of human spirit.”

Ben Roche

“There is nothing to celebrate in the 2022 floods in which lives were lost, along with thousands of homes and businesses,” Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research and Education Impact) Ben Roche said. “But what has happened since – the way the community has bonded together to recover and renew – has been a triumph of human spirit.”

Mr Roche – who was key to the University’s response to the floods – said the Northern Rivers Campus in Lismore became a safe haven for thousands of residents, responders and essential services in the aftermath of the catastrophic event.

A crucial collection and distribution hub was established for food and clothing, along with health, business, emergency and financial services, which had been wiped out in the CDB. Several are still housed on the Lismore campus.

Recognising the risk of the disruption to thousands of secondary students, the campus also became home to two schools, along with NSW TAFE, which remain to this day.

As the flood effort moved from crisis response to the complex question of how the region could rebuild, Southern Cross University partnered with others to establish the Living Lab Northern Rivers; a hub of national and global expertise, which links strongly with the community through a shopfront in the Lismore CBD.

“Our University was part of a whole-of-community response to a crisis; the likes of which we had never seen before,” Mr Roche said.

“Hundreds of our staff, students and alumni came to help and provide support, many of whom had lost so much themselves.

“We are really proud of the way those efforts provided comfort and relief across the region when it was desperately needed.

“And we remain deeply committed to working with the region, providing resources and expertise, as it continues the long path back to flood recovery.”

Media contact

Sharlene King, Media Office at Southern Cross University +61 429 661 349 or