The COMPACT Story

BUILDING COMMUNITY RESILIENCE IN AN UNCERTAIN WORLD

Socially cohesive communities are more resilient communities in the face of adversity and crisis. Whether we are dealing with bushfires, floods, pandemics or terrorism, all the evidence shows that more connected communities are more resilient to, and recover more quickly from, all manner of adversity.

Adversity can bring out both the best and the worst in people. Unfortunately, there are fringe elements in our society who seek to exploit times of crisis to promote fear, hate, divisiveness and discord.

Alternatively, we see the best in people when communities come together across cultural and religious differences to help each other in times of need. These acts of solidarity both draw upon and strengthen our sense of community and social cohesion, and they are our most powerful response to hate and polarisation.

Established in 2015, the Multicultural NSW COMPACT (Community Partnership Action) Program was inspired by the way the people of New South Wales came together in the wake of the Martin Place siege in Sydney in December 2014.

The message from our community was clear: We stand united. We – all of us together – will not let extremists divide us.   

Since then, COMPACT has operationalised the concept of community resilience by supporting an alliance of over 60 grassroots community organisations, peak charities and NGOs, private sector partners, schools, universities, government agencies and police.

In 2018, COMPACT was independently evaluated as a 'first of its kind' program that has made significant progress towards its objectives of building social cohesion and community resilience.

In 2019, the COMPACT Alliance mobilised to support local communities and young people impacted by the devastating terror attack on our neighbours and cousins in Christchurch, New Zealand.

In 2020, bushfires and the COVID-19 pandemic have again tested our resilience as a community. The people of New South Wales have proven to be remarkably resilient. Yet we have seen extremist elements in our community seeking to incite hate and exploit the pandemic for ideological purposes.

New South Wales sets an example for the rest of the world as a peaceful and harmonious multicultural society. But we cannot take our social cohesion for granted. We live in an increasingly uncertain world, and we are buffeted by forces we cannot always control.

The task of strengthening community resilience and safeguarding social cohesion, now and into the future, will require a concerted effort across all sections of our society.

Our resilience in the face of hate and extremism can be measured by the way we respond to this threat as a unified, inclusive and democratic society. The better we respond, the better chance we have of breaking the cycle of hate and polarisation and preventing extremism in the longer term.

That is why our community and government partners have joined the COMPACT Alliance: together, we are standing up and standing united for our peaceful and harmonious way of life.

Joseph La Posta

Chief Executive Officer

Multicultural NSW

Program-Level Outcomes: A Whole-of-Society, Resilience-based Approach

COMPACT is a first-of-its-kind community resilience-building initiative to counter violent extremism. COMPACT recognises that, beyond the threat of violence, extremism threatens social cohesion and community harmony by promoting fear, hate and division in society. 

In responding to this threat to community harmony, COMPACT takes a whole-of-society approach to community resilience, where “resilience” means proactively building and maintaining strong, responsive and collaborative networks that operate across communities and sectors, and that can mobilise to respond to challenges and threats, resolve conflict and actively promote social cohesion.

This sense of resilience operates across the full continuum of risk mitigation to support community Preparedness, Prevention, Response and Recovery.

At the program-level, the collective outcomes we work towards can be described as follows:

Project-Level Objectives: Youth-Led Solutions

COMPACT looks to young people as part of the solution, not part of the problem, for social cohesion. 

COMPACT aims to inspire and empower young people to stand up and stand united against fear, hate and division as champions for Australia’s peaceful and harmonious way of life.

COMPACT engaged an estimated 40,000 young people in its first three years, inspiring a new generation of community leaders, critical thinkers and champions for community harmony.

COMPACT supports local solutions-based projects that bring young people together to promote positive behaviours and engage critically, creatively and constructively on local and global issues impacting on social cohesion In New South Wales.

COMPACT recognises that, whatever may be taking place in the complex world we live in, solutions start at home. It starts with local communities working together, supporting each other, and building on the strengths of our culturally diverse success story.

Project objectives

Funded COMPACT partnership projects will build on the strengths of our diverse society to address one of more of the following objectives.

YOUTH ENGAGEMENT METHODS

COMPACT partnership projects can address the project objectives listed above through one or more of the following youth engagement methods:

Successful applications in any of these youth engagement methods will clearly demonstrate capacity and competency to engage female and male young people from a diverse range of cultural and religious backgrounds.

Building Successful, Sustainable Partnerships

COMPACT supports partnerships and collaboration between community, non-government, youth, sports, arts/media, educational and other organisations by providing grant funding for innovative, evidence-based community projects.

Successful applications will bring together partners or consortia with the demonstrated experience, expertise and capacity to engage and effect real positive change in young people (aged between 12-30), families and communities within a community resilience and conflict resolution frame.

We support partnerships that bring together grassroots organisations with larger well-established organisations to facilitate capacity building and cross-sector collaboration. We also welcome partnerships that bring local and global partners together to build the capacity of local communities.

We especially encourage encourages applications that will secure in-kind resources, expertise and/or matched funding from private sector partners.

Successful applications will ideally bring together three or more partner organisations with different skill sets to support COMPACT objectives.

Workplan, Evidence, Evaluation and Review

COMPACT partnership proposals demonstrate evidence for their approach and develop a comprehensive work plan, including plans for stakeholder engagement and project-level evaluation.

Funded partners receive funding based on key milestones, with opportunities for interim evaluation and review. This allows for projects to be adaptive to evolving needs and issues.

COMPACT partnership projects are included as part of the COMPACT program-level evaluation. The COMPACT Program Evaluation Framework has been co-designed with COMPACT Alliance partners to capture the collective outcomes of COMPACT at the program level.

The COMPACT Program Logic (above) captures the parallel streams of activity occurring with the delivery of COMPACT projects for young people, and the joint activities of the COMPACT Alliance.

Join the COMPACT Alliance!

The COMPACT Alliance is a robust network of community partners who all share a commitment to Australia’s peaceful and harmonious way of life. In addition to implementing partnership projects, COMPACT partners all participate as full members of the COMPACT Alliance.  

The COMPACT Alliance is a key component of the COMPACT model of community resilience. Since 2016, the COMPACT Alliance has been implementing a program of joint activities designed to strengthen the Alliance as a resilience network and to support the development of a COMPACT Community of Practice.

The COMPACT Alliance meets regularly to progress a range of practical work items on program evaluation, practitioner training, capacity building, research showcases, safety and wellbeing, communications, and other areas to support good practice.

Membership in the COMPACT Alliance provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with other COMPACT partners and connect with key NSW Government agency personnel.

The annual COMPACT Alliance Summit, hosted by the Minister for Multiculturalism, is a forum for showcasing initiatives, learning and adapting from shared experience, and forging new collaborations for future projects.

More information

For more information, take a look at the COMPACT Program Overview and FAQs.