Vulnerability to fires, and the ability to protect life, property and other assets, is largely defined by activities and policy settings in other policy sectors, defining fire and emergency management as a whole of government and cross-sectoral challenge. The community expects that different parts of government, with non-government players, will operate in a coordinated manner. Recent experience in Australia and elsewhere confirms that such coordination is often lacking.
Primary hypothesis is that improved community outcomes through better policy responses before, during and after major fire events can be achieved through 'mainstreaming', or the incorporation of fire and emergency management considerations in other policy sectors. Fire and emergency management will conversely be strengthened by enhancing its understanding of the implications of policy processes and decisions in other sectors.
Primary research question: What are the institutional arrangements, policy processes, legal measures and urban and regional planning regimes - past, present or proposed, that are available, amenable to rigorous investigation, likely to be feasible in the Australian context, and most likely to support mainstreaming?
The project will specifically focus on the following three areas:
1. The litigation experience
2. Perceived inconsistencies
3. The role of government in fire management