How MADRA was formed

MADRA's beginnings

In the immediate aftermath of the fires, a ‘Thinking Group’ was formed which was led by a range of community minded people who had the foresight to start the collection of ideas and skills in community-led recovery. They met with Steve Pascoe, a Disaster Recovery Mentor (who had been through the Strathewen fires from Black Saturday in 2009), to help plot out the process of how to implement a community-led recovery program for Mallacoota. On Wednesday 15 January 2020, a large group of representatives from Mallacoota’s community organisations were invited to attend a meeting to discuss a way forward. This helped to disseminate information to a larger group of people. The purpose of the meeting was simply to gauge if the community felt the concept being developed was heading in the right direction. The proposal was endorsed by community representatives and the Thinking Group was invited to flesh out a process for establishing a recovery association.

Over the following three weeks, the core Thinking Group, together with other interested locals, worked on a draft constitution and a vision and purposes statement. Work also commenced with EGSC to initiate an election process adhering to Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) guidelines. This work was presented to a larger representative group at the Mudbrick Pavilion, and then on 4 February 2020, the proposal was put to all interested locals at a town meeting at the Golf Club, which an estimated 500 plus people attended. The proposal was overwhelmingly endorsed, and the Mallacoota and District Recovery Association (MADRA) was formed.

The first and second MADRA committees

The VEC managed the election process for the MADRA Committee, the first of its kind in Victoria. Nominations for MADRA committee members were sought by 16 April 2020. A total of 44 local candidates stood for election. Voting by postal vote closed on 20 May, and the results of the election were announced on 21 May 2020. A high voting response rate of 88 per cent was recorded. On 9 June 2020, the newly formed MADRA committee elected its office bearers.



MADRA's first committee members were:

Chair: Dr David Appleton

Deputy Chair: Jenny Lloyd

Secretary: Trindi Suratman

Treasurer: Graham Dempster

General members: Jude Benton, Tanya de Geus, Brodie Gaudion, Peter Hancock, Paul Preston, Mark Tregellas,
Kerri Warren, Bryce Watts-Parker


MADRA's second committee was elected at the inaugural AGM on 17 August 2021.


MADRA's second committee members were:

Chair: Paul Preston

Secretary: Carol Hopkins

Treasurer: Graham Dempster

General members:

Kate Cowden, Ken Grime, Peter Hancock, Rosy Morton, Jeanette Obri, Phil Piper, Bryce Watts-Parker

Gary Proctor and Reiner Hurst also served as general committee members for a period of time.

MADRA today

The Association has grown to more than 790 active members.

In August 2021, MADRA held its first AGM and a second committee was elected.

The current association has a proposed lifespan of three years and the committee consists of 10 community-elected individuals.



MADRA's current committee members are:


Chair: Carol Hopkins

Deputy Chair: Phil Piper

Secretary: Rosy Morton

Treasurer: Ken Grime

General members:

Sue Brown, Christy Bryar, Peter Giddings, Jenny Mason, Jeanette Obri, Jo Wohler


Our Vision

Our vision will be achieved when:

  • Everyone in our community who needs bushfire assistance has received it, no one will have slipped between the cracks or left behind.
  • We have restored what we loved and fixed the things which are broken.
  • We feel confident we are prepared in the face of disaster.
  • Through the recovery process, we have created opportunities that promote resilience, diversity, well-being, connectedness, and economic security.

Our Mission

We play an active role in community-led recovery by:

  • encouraging community involvement in the recovery and rebuilding process and related activities.
  • identifying and prioritising the needs of MAD and assisting in the recovery and rebuilding process.
  • influencing government bodies to work to meet identified community needs and priorities.
  • facilitating communication of information between community, government and agencies.
  • advocating for individuals, families and community groups.
  • attracting and applying for monies and identifying projects/needs requiring funding.
  • providing a focus for communication and coordination between community groups.
  • channelling funding and other opportunities to appropriate groups and individuals.
  • working with our funding and delivery partners to ensure optimal disaster recovery outcomes for MAD.
  • working with other Community Recovery Committees (CRCs) to share lessons learned and offer support.

What we will not do

We are a diverse community that does not always agree. There will be situations where the community is split, and decisions cannot be reached.

In such cases, we will not take sides or mediate disputes. Nor will we intervene in the decision-making processes of other organisations or duplicate their roles.

If the matter is being driven by government (local, state, and federal), and there is a failure to adequately consult our community, we cannot take on that role. Rather, we will ‘push back’ to government seeking better information to inform decision making and for more fulsome community consultation (perhaps with an independent facilitator if the issue is divisive). Usually, this will be on issues requiring specialist knowledge and/or policy matters.

We looked to how other communities deal with divergent viewpoints. Key is not rushing decision making (where possible) and encouraging ongoing discussion and respectful debate until all parties reach a position they can live with. If agreement cannot be reached, MADRA’s default position is ‘we will do no harm’. Our focus will be progressing those community-driven initiatives that have community backing.


Our Structure

MADRA is an incorporated association and a Public Benevolent Institution (PBI) registered with the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). We also have Deductible Gift Recipient (DGR) status which enables donors to claim a tax deduction through the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

Our Stakeholders

A stakeholder is either an individual, group or organisation who is impacted by, or has an interest in, the outcome of a project or process.

Our major disaster recovery stakeholder groups are:

  • community members including residents, property owners and visitors,
  • our recovery delivery partners, and
  • our recovery funding partners.

There is some crossover between our funding and delivery partners.

Our comprehensive stakeholder analysis in in our Recovery Plan (see Appendix B).

Gipsy Point serenity

Gipsy Point serenity