Working from the Inside Out: A Case Study of Mackay Safe Community

The 2017 Safe Cities Conference will be held on Wednesday 12 July in Brisbane at the Hotel Grand Chancellor.

Dale Hanson, Adjunct Associate Professor at James Cook University will be joining us to discuss ‘Working from the Inside Out: A Case Study of Mackay Safe Community’.


Mackay Safe Community (MSC) was established in 2000 in response to high injury rates in the region.  Community-based intervention using the International Safe Communities (ISC) model was considered strategic.

The ISC program advocates a systematic, all injury, all age group, all situation, community-based approach to injury prevention and safety promotion.  MSC assumed an ecological perspective, incorporating targeted safety promotion campaigns reinforced by supportive environments and policy.  By involving the community in finding its own solutions, MSC attempted to catalyse structural, social and political changes that empowered the community and ultimately, individuals within the community, to modify their environment and their behaviour to reduce the risk of injury.

Professor Dale Hanson, James Cook University

Professor Dale Hanson


This study used social network analysis to analyse the social resources mobilised by the network.  Using a snowballing methodology, the chain of relationships that constitute Mackay Safe Communities and its support network was elucidated.


A community network consisting of 118 members and an external support network of 50 members was established.  A social network analysis conducted in 2004 indicated that the network doubled its cohesiveness while simultaneously doubling the bridging and linking relationships necessary to mobilise the resources required to implement its safety promotion agenda.  A 12% reduction in emergency department injury presentations to Mackay Base Hospital was observed over the four-year period from 2000 to 2004. Mackay Safe Community became the 81st international safe community on the 31st August 2004.


Mackay Safe Community can only be understood in its ecological context.  While it was rich in social resources, human and financial resources were largely controlled by external agencies.  The productivity was vulnerable to the changing policy priorities of external sponsoring agents and critically dependent on the advocacy skills of its leaders.

Secure your place at the 2017 Safe Cities Conference by registering here.

Hackers Break Deep into Australia’s Vital Cyber Networks

Australia’s critical infrastructure is coming under attack by foreign hackers — several times a day. And the nation’s cybercrime chief admits we don’t always know what they’re after.

International hackers are targeting Australia’s “critical infrastructure and systems of national significance” several times a day, one of country’s most senior cyber crime fighters has warned.

The warning from Australia’s top level cyber crime investigators came as an international cyber security experts from Kaspersky Lab confirmed there had been a recent rise in cyber attacks on major Australian institutions in the health, finance and transport sectors.


Commander David McLean, manager of the Australian Federal Police’s cybercrime operations, has given an insight into the daily battle to counteract the constant wave of digital attacks, such as the high-profile WannaCry ransomware that sent cyber crime fighters scrambling ten days ago as chaos spread out across the globe.

“Cyber espionage is the stuff of Hollywood. And it’s very, very real,” Mr McLean said speaking at the CeBIT Australia cyber security conference in Sydney today.

He said the AFP and other government organisations responded to “in excess of 1000 events every year of hostile activity against critical infrastructure and systems of national significance in our country”.

“We have case work on our books at the moment involving very, very high level, very destructive in an intellectual property sense, cases of cyber espionage being perpetrated in connection with infrastructure and citizens resident in this country.”

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Expressed emotion and the hospital environment

Expressed emotion and the hospital environment: An update on consumer perceptions of mental health environments

Consumer perceptions of safety within mental health treatment environments was found to be a significant determinant of therapeutic engagement as outlined in Expressed emotion and the hospital environment.  Consumer perceptions of built environments were further examined through qualitative analysis in conjunction with an examination of existing built therapeutic environments. The information attained was used to develop a series of design recommendations for architects/designers to utilise when designing therapy and counselling spaces. Despite the literature affirming links between good design practice and mental well-being , existing design guidance is often too generic, describing broad principles to be achieved, but offering little tangible advice for the designer to integrate these principles into a realised built environment.

A series of design recommendations were developed based on environment aspects commented on by consumers, and supported by other interview participant groups. If these design recommendations were to be integrated into the built environments delivering mental health services, then the difficulties or negative psychological interferences reported by the consumers would be mollified and/or eliminated. To illustrate how these design recommendations could be utilised, two concept designs for built mental health service facilities were developed.

What emerged from the study was the notion that for individuals who self harm, the built environment is not merely the housing of therapy, but an active participant in the therapeutic process.

Stephanie Liddicoat
PhD Candidate and Sessional Staff
Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
University of Melbourne VIC 3010