A New CRC for Bushfires and Natural Hazards
Prime Minister boosts funding for research
The Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre welcomes the Australian Government announcement to create an expanded national centre for research into bushfires and natural hazards.
The Prime Minister Julia Gillard has pledged $47 million over eight years for a new Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre from 1 July 2013.
This CRC will build on the 10 years of national research of the Bushfire CRC and expand research into other hazards including flood, earthquake, cyclone and tsunami.
The process to achieve that is now underway. It is led by former AFAC CEO and Bushfire CRC Director, Naomi Brown who took on the role of Interim Chair, assisted part-time by Bushfire CRC Deputy CEO and Research Director Dr Richard Thornton, as Interim CEO. Richard retains his role at the Bushfire CRC while working to establish the new CRC.
Mr Gary Morgan, chief executive officer of the Bushfire CRC said that with funding for the Bushfire CRC scheduled to end in June 2013, this announcement was timely and with a long term vision.
“The creation of the first national centre for combined research into fire and natural hazards is a welcome development by the Australian Government.
“The knowledge and expertise that has been built up over the last decade in national bushfire research can now continue and be expanded into related areas involving other natural hazards.
“Current bushfire research projects including communicating warnings, community education and resilience, incident management, severe weather, urban planning, ecology and biodiversity, and emergency worker safety, have the potential to be extended across other natural hazards. In addition, there are new areas of research that will be opened up under this broader research centre.
“The continuation of research in fire and natural hazards will meet the operational needs of fire and land management agencies across Australia and New Zealand. Communities prone to natural hazard events will continue to benefit from the new science that is being applied to reduce the impacts of these threats.
The work of the new CRC
The decision to fund a new CRC followed almost two years of briefings and discussion by the Bushfire CRC Chairman and Board members, the CEO, and individual heads of member agencies and their staff.
It was also a welcome development that the Prime Minister’s announcement stated that the new CRC would ‘…build on the work of the existing Bushfire CRC and expand research efforts into other natural hazards…’ and that ‘…The structure of the new CRC (would)be determined in consultation with key stakeholders and participants, including the Bushfire CRC, the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council and state and territory governments…’
The Governing Board of the Bushfire CRC is currently considering a vision to build upon the successful research program of the last decade.
As the new Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC lays its foundations over the coming year, the Bushfire CRC will focus on completing its research program and working with partners to ensure the research is thoroughly taken up within our sector.
Bushfire CRC partners can be assured that during 2013/14, research utilisation and contract research will continue. On the contract side, some research extends through to 2016. I encourage any partners with further needs for specific contract research to talk to me about your ideas.
Clearly, the Bushfire CRC has much ongoing work to do so its members gain the most from their 10 years of investment in fire science.
Meanwhile, the Bushfire CRC will support and work closely with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC. The research program of the new CRC will be underway by September this year but, given that it will take some time for the research to build momentum and deliver outputs, the Bushfire CRC will continue with its high profile activities during 2013/14, including our 10th Annual Conference and Research Forum this September.
All partners have a crucial role in the next phase of the Bushfire CRC; this commitment will see through the national initial investment in bushfire research.