Biggest emergency management conference in Australasia comes to Perth

The 19th AFAC and Bushfire CRC Conference 2012 will be held in Perth, Western Australia, from 28-31 August, 2012, attracting more than 1000 people in emergency services throughout Australasia and high calibre presenters from around the world.   

According to Naomi Brown, CEO Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC), the annual conference is the keystone event in the knowledge sharing program for AFAC, ensuringthat the collective industry knowledge and experience is captured and shared.

“It is one of AFAC’s key goals to strengthen industry capability and this significant event, attended by so many of our senior practitioners from agencies throughout Australasia, is central to that endeavour.”

“Each year this conference gets bigger and better and the Conference Program Committee have worked very hard over the past 18 months to deliver another superb, world-class program.  Over the three days there will be numerous sessions which will appeal to all our member agencies and people involved in emergency management in many other sectors including mining, power, utilities and local government,” Ms Brown said.

Mr Wayne Gregson APM, Chief Executive Officer, Fire and Emergency Services Authority Western Australia (FESA) and Chair of the Conference Steering Committee, said he was delighted to be co-hosting the AFAC and Bushfire CRC Conference this year.

“FESA is honoured to host the nation’s premier emergency management event with the AFAC and Bushfire CRC conference being held in Perth,” Mr Gregson said.

“It is a privilege for our State to play host to the many Australian and international representatives from the emergency services industry as we all come together to network, share and learn from each other.

“The knowledge gained at this conference will ensure we are better equipped to help the community prevent, prepare for and respond to disasters.

“As emergency management agencies, it is vital we learn from the past to build on our foundations for the future and conferences like these provide us with tremendous opportunities to work closely with emergency services experts from around the world.”

The conference program includes a one day Research Forum where more than 30 leading scientists and researchers will focus on a range of topics including community bushfire action, fire weather, building in bushfire areas, the effects of stress on the health of firefighters, computer modelling of bushfire behaviour and impacts of fuel reduction burning.

Mr Keiran McNamara, Director General, Department of Environment and Conservation, Western Australia (DEC WA), and co-host agency, said it was critical that emergency management was under-pinned by strong science over a range of disciplines.

“Fire ecology is just one aspect of this research,” he said.

“However, the social sciences, especially community attitudes to natural disasters, are essential if we are to understand how the community as a whole can work with fire services and land managers to minimise the threat bushfires present.”

Bushfire CRC CEO Gary Morgan believes with the challenges in the types of emergencies faced right across Australia and New Zealand in recent times, the Research Forum will show why research is more important now than ever.

“Highlighting the diversity of the research being conducted across all hazards, the science on show from the researchers during the Research Forum will highlight the significant work the Bushfire CRC is delivering. The Research Forum is not just for scientists; it is a great opportunity to learn what we are discovering about the biggest challenges in emergency management across Australasia, and finding ways to use this knowledge every day to make our communities safer,” he said.

“But this is not just about what we have learnt so far, we are also looking forward to defining the big issues we may face in the future and developing the knowledge to deal with them.

 “Over the three days of the conference, more than 90 sessions will contribute to the ongoing knowledge sharing and learning culture within fire, land management and emergency service organisations,” Mr Morgan said.

This annual event is recognised world-wide as a major emergency management, all hazards conference attracting international senior practitioners, industry experts, researchers and key emergency management personnel from across Australia and the region.

Key activities include:

  • One day Research Forum - 28 August
  • Two day Conference - 29-30 August
  • Gala Dinner - 29 August
  • Eight Professional Development Events - 31 August
  • Three field trips - commencing Sunday 26 August            


The full conference program is available on the conference website at

About AFAC

AFAC is the lead industry body for fire and emergency services in Australasia, committed to strengthening the industry through sharing, collaboration and innovation.

About the Bushfire CRC

The Bushfire CRC is funded by the Australian Government as the national research centre for fire and emergency services.


Release date

Thu, 23/08/2012