Policy and Economics of Hazards

Wandong-Area-401_web.jpg

After the fire at Wandong 2009
After the fire at Wandong 2009
Key Topics:

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The increasing demand for evidence-based public policy places a premium on the need to translate scientific knowledge into policy, practice and common understanding. This translation is rendered even more challenging by the inherent uncertainty and diverse disciplines of the science behind the evidence. How should risk mitigation practitioners manage these scientific uncertainties and diversities in their strategic decision-making? This is a key question driving this project, which aims to help risk management practitioners to explain, justify and discuss mitigation practices to others, including mitigation professionals, the public, the media, and in court and inquiry processes. The project uses qualitative social science methods, including scenario exercises, theoretical tools and case studies. It analyses how diverse knowledge is ordered and judged as salient, credible and authoritative, and its pragmatic meaning for emergency management across the prevention, preparedness, response and recovery spectrum.

New public policy positions for bushfire and flood risk planning, preparedness, response and recovery rely on best practice scientific evidence. However, scientific evidence does not always meet the knowledge needs of practitioners. Scientific studies are fragmented and highly specialised, constantly evolving, and span diverse disciplinary approaches. They are also produced, understood and used in relation to other sources of knowledge – professional expertise, local knowledge, law and politics.

Given that uncertainty is an inherent part of scientific practice and method, how do those engaged in risk mitigation manage these scientific uncertainties in their decision-making?

Efforts to anticipate and mitigate natural hazards have generated a diverse field of natural science.

By moving beyond simplistic assumptions that science can be directly translated into policy and practice, this project is analysing how risk professionals and others express and manage differingopinions about the different uncertainties inherent to mitigation practice. This work is supporting practitioners to explain and justify mitigation practices to other risk mitigation professionals, the public, the media, and courts and inquiries.

The project seeks a better sciencegovernance match in risk mitigation through three tasks:

  1. Investigating the diversity and uncertainty of bushfire and flood science, and its contribution to risk mitigation policy and planning;
  2. Exploring how diverse individuals use and understand scientific evidence and other knowledges in their bushfire and flood risk mitigation roles; and,
  3. Analysing how this interaction produces particular kinds of opportunities and challenges in the policy, practice, law and governance of bushfire and flood risk mitigation.

Key activities include papers in the International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction, Environment and Planning, and the Australian Journal of Emergency Management, the completion of surveys and scenario exercises as part of case studies in the Barwon-Otway region in Victoria, and Darwin.

17 March, 2017
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Craig Ashhurst and Liz Clarke mapping workshop data.
14 December, 2016
This is the December 2016 newsletter from the Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end-users.
Prescribed burn of an area infested by Gamba grass near Darwin.
26 September, 2016
This is the September 2016 newsletter from the Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end-users.
14 September, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Reducing the risk through fuel reduction burning
26 May, 2016
This is the May 2016 newsletter from the Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end-users.
CRC sign
23 May, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
End-users and researchers engaged in technical discussions during breakout sessions at the 2016 Research Advisory Forum in Hobart.
19 May, 2016
The recent Research Advisory Forum in Hobart provided an excellent opportunity to check progress and (where necessary) refocus directions heading into the final stages of some work.
Gamba grass burn
9 May, 2016
What are the routes between science, policy and planning? And why are they complex and variable? Dr Timothy Neale connects the dots between research and policy.
Fire Australia Autumn 2016 edition
9 May, 2016
The Autumn 2016 edition of Fire Australia magazine is now available featuring the latest research and developments that are aiding the fire, emergency services and land management sectors.
15 April, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Gamba grass has become a major fire risk in the NT. Photo: T Neale.
12 April, 2016
A primary driver of risk management is reducing loss of life, but human behaviour – particularly in rare and extreme events – does not map well onto algorithms.
Bush at Moggs Creek in the Otways after a burn. Photo by Timothy Neale.
3 March, 2016
What are the routes between science, policy and planning? And why are they complex and variable?
Hazard reduction of gamba grass around Darwin. Photo: Nathan Maddock
2 March, 2016
This is the March 2016 newsletter from the Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end-users.
Bush at Moggs Creek in the Otways after a burn. Photo by Timothy Neale.
11 December, 2015
This is the December 2015 newsletter from the Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning project, with updates for project end-users.
15 July, 2015
This is the July 2015 newsletter from the Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end users.
Photo by NSW RFS Media Service
12 February, 2015
This is the February 2015 newsletter from the Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end users.
Using science to help decision-making
10 December, 2014
This is the December 2014 newsletter from the Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning project (RMPP), with updates for project end users.
Year Type Citation
2017 Journal Article Neale, T. ‘Are we wasting our time?’: bushfire practitioners and flammable futures in northern Australia. Social & Cultural Geography 1-23 (2017). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/14649365.2017.1285423
2016 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2016 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2016 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Conference Paper Neale, T. The social life of science in bushfire policy and planning: tales from Victoria and the Northern Territory. AFAC16 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Journal Article Neale, T., Weir, J. & Dovers, S. Science in Motion: integrating scientific knowledge into bushfire risk mitigation in southwest Victoria. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 31, (2016).
2016 Journal Article Neale, T., Weir, J. & McGee, T. K. Knowing wildfire risk: Scientific interactions with risk mitigation policy and practice in Victoria, Australia. Geoforum 72, (2016).
2016 Report Weir, J. & Neale, T. Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2015 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2015 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Conference Paper Neale, T. & Weir, J. Science in motion: knowledge practices and prescribed burning in southwest Victoria - non peer reviewed extended abstract. Adelaide Conference 2015 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Neale, T. & Weir, J. Navigating scientific uncertainty in wildfire and flood risk mitigation: A qualitative review. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 13, 255-265 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Wodak, J. & Neale, T. A critical review of the application of environmental scenario exercises. Futures 73, (2015).
2015 Report Weir, J. & Neale, T. Scientific diversity, scientific uncertainty and risk mitigation policy and planning: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Report Neale, T. Scientific Knowledge and Scientific Uncertainty in Bushfire and Flood Risk Mitigation: Literature Review. (2015).
2015 Report Neale, T. & Weir, J. Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2014 Report Wodak, J. Scientific Diversity, Scientific Uncertainty and Risk Mitigation Policy and Planning Scenario Exercise Lit Review. (2014).
Navigating scientific uncertainty in bushfire and flood risk mitigation
18 Aug 2015

Attempts to anticipate and mitigate natural hazards have generated a diverse field of natural science that is drawn upon by a wide range of practitioners and decision-makers. Uncertainty is a necessary part of scientific practice, but how can we navigate it?

Key Topics:
Timothy Neale Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

Two case studies from the north and south Australia examine how science is being used to change how we anticiate and mitigate natural hazards illustraate some common opportunities and challenges

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