Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC - second update

A statement from Naomi Brown, Interim Chair, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC.

What has happened to date? On 13 February 2013, the Australian Government announced it will contribute up to $47 million over eight years
to establish a new Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) from 1 July 2013. The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC will ensure that the valuable work done by the Bushfire CRC can continue while developing a complementary natural hazards research program. A copy of the full text of the Prime Minister’s February statement is available on the Prime Minister's website.

Progress: Since the Prime Minister’s announcement an Implementation Team has been established and has commenced operation. The Implementation Team has been tasked with facilitating the establishment of the Centre in a short time frame, to enable the new operations to commence on 1 July, 2013.

National Workshop: The establishment of the new Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC entails compliance with the requirements of the Department of Industry, Innovation, Climate Change, Science, Research and Tertiary Education (DIICCSRTE). A crucial component of the DIICCSRTE’s requirements is the execution of the Commonwealth Agreement by 1 July 2013 which has at its core, the Research Agenda. The Overview of the work to support the development of the Research Agenda is due to DIICCSRTE by the end of March 2013.

As a key part of process to scope the Research Agenda, a ‘National Workshop: Defining the Problem Statements’ was conducted in Melbourne on March 25 and 26, 2013. The objective of the workshop was to provide end-users of the intended research, particularly Jurisdictions, with the opportunity
to help shape the research agenda.

Participants included senior Jurisdictional representatives, subject matter experts in policy, vulnerability health, geospatial and specialist hazard experts, and representatives of key advocacy and non-profit organisations. Prospective research organisations or institutions were not invited to
attend this stage of the process.

The workshop built on previous consideration and ideas, including a Workshop conducted by an ANZEMC Steering Committee at the Australian Emergency Management Institute at Mt Macedon on 10-11 January 2013 to consider a Disaster Resilience CRC.

It was agreed that key research themes must strategically link to agreed national doctrine such as the COAG National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR) and the National Bushfire Management Policy Statement.

The themes that arose at the workshop, in support of the NSDR and the other national policy approaches, included the following initial concepts:

  • Community Resilience
  • Economic Assessment, Integrated to Support Decision-making
  • Predictive/Forecasting Capability
  • Risk Communication and Warnings
  • Data & Performance Measurement
  • Climate Change and Future Trends
  • Disaster Recovery
  • Volunteers and Workforce Issues
  • Land Use Planning
  • Other Related Specific Issues

Next Steps: Key outcomes from the Workshop will be presented to the ANZEMC Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC High-Level Governance Committee. Progress with establishment of the CRC will then be presented to the CRC committee in early April 2013, in particular an outline of:

  • research agenda
  • education and training program
  • research utilisation
  • governance model
  • small and medium enterprise strategy
  • IP strategy
  • relationship with the existing Bushfire CRC

The next steps include developing a call for expressions of interest from researchers to start the interaction with research partners and collaborators.

The Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC Implementation team, including myself as the Interim Chair, and the Interim CEO, Dr Richard Thornton, can be contacted via email bnhcrc@ag.gov.au or, in the near future, through an online forum planned to be created.

More information about the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC is available at www.aemi.edu.au/bnhcrc


Release date

Thu, 28/03/2013