Bushfire risks and the responsibility for them are shared by overlapping dynamic (sometimes unintended) coalitions of stakeholders in the public, private and domestic sectors. Responsibility and ability to protect life, property and other assets, is largely defined by activities and policy settings in other sectors of society, defining fire and emergency management as a whole-of-society and cross-sectoral challenge. Agencies expect that responsibility will be shared across sectors and with those at risk, but at least some of those at risk may expect that agencies take full responsibility.
Primary hypothesis: that improved community outcomes through better policy responses before, during and after major fire events can be achieved through measures for sharing responsibility as part of ‘mainstreaming’. Fire and emergency management will conversely be strengthened by enhanced understanding of the issues surrounding the sharing of risk and responsibility.
Primary research question: what are the institutional arrangements, policy processes, legal measures, planning regimes and community processes that are most likely to support the sharing of risk and responsibility?