Building on the progress

Created date

Monday, December 5, 2011 - 10:16pm

A year ago I wrote about how the new research program was starting up with great promise. A year on and we find ourselves planning for the final outputs of the three year program. As distinct from the first years of the Bushfire CRC, in this research program we have all had to hit the ground running in what we all knew was going to be extremely tight timelines. It is hardly surprising we find ourselves closing 2011 with a year of so much activity in our wake.

This week the Bushfire CRC is undergoing a formal First Year Review by the Department of Innovation, Industry, Science and Research. The Chairman of the CRC Committee, Neville Stevens AO, and his team wish to know how the Bushfire CRC is performing and whether it will deliver what it promised. I will take this opportunity to talk about the key achievements of the year.

Representatives from most of our partners heard all about the achievements and activities of the Bushfire CRC in 2011 at last month’s Stakeholder Council AGM in Melbourne. I urge you to read at least the introduction of the latest Annual Report for a rundown of the year’s activities. Highlights include:

  • The annual conference in Sydney was the biggest yet with 1400 participants, 110 trade exhibitors and a dedicated Science Day that attracted 200 people. There is no clearer evidence of how our research is now embedded in the broader industry thanks to our successful research utilization program.
  • Two Research Advisory Forums – one hosted by the QFRS, the other by the Australian National University – are proving to be an invaluable mechanism to get broad feedback from all partners to to support the research.
  •  After the fires in Western Australia in January, our partners were quick to engage the Bushfire CRC in the quest to better understand what happened. This field research provided valuable data for our researchers to build on what has been gathered in earlier fires, including the 2009 Black Saturday fires in Victoria, to share nationally.

We will continue to build on this progress in coming years. The reflections of many who attended the November Stakeholder meeting were that the student program is providing a high calibre of people for the research and management sectors of our industry.

Our greatest challenge is to secure ongoing funding for fire research. We now have the support of all our industry, research organisations and much of government at both state and federal level. I remain hopeful that our transition into the Australasian Fire and Emergency Management Research Institute will make great progress in the New Year.

On behalf of the Board and the staff at the Bushfire CRC office, a big thank you to all those in the wider Bushfire CRC community for the efforts you have put in over the past year. In particular, I thank on your behalf the dedicated researchers and End-user leaders who are working on behalf of all Bushfire CRC partners.

My very best wishes to you and your family for a Happy Christmas and a safe and successful New Year.