Research outputs and artefacts

04 Sep 2014

Bushfires and Natural Hazards - A simple equation? Bridging the gap between the policy and the practical

Presentation to AFAC/BNHCRC Conference 2014.

Bushfires and Natural Hazards. A simple equation? - Bridging the gap between the policy and the practical  

 The environment that the newly established Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) finds itself in is a world away from that which its predecessor, the Bushfire CRC, had to deal with.  The conceptually simple addition of all natural hazards to the research mandate has significant implications when it comes the breadth of players in the discussion. This now needs to bridge the United Nations and broad international treaties, through to local government and non-government organisations, to ensure that every person in every community is as safe as can be from hazards. 

 A primary role of the BNHCRC is to act as the national research and research co-ordination body for natural hazards in Australia. But this is not just any research; it is research that makes a difference. Research use is paramount! The BNHCRC conducts research that is addressing the highest priority, national needs of our partners. It engages and funds the best researchers from around the country and links them in a substantive way to the end users of their work, to ensure that it is adopted of benefit the Australian communities. But as simple as this sounds it quickly becomes complex in a policy and practice setting. At the highest level the CRC needs to engage with the United Nations work on disaster risk reduction through the UNISDR and its Hyogo Framework for Action (HFA) 2005-2015, which in turn flows through to the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience overseen by the COAG Ministerial Law, Crime and Community Safety Council (LSSC) and its Australian and New Zealand Emergency Management Committee (ANZEMC) and its various committees of senior officials. This is mirrored through the work of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the UN’s World Meteorological Organisation (WMO) and its High Impact Weather projects. 

 At the local level, where ‘the rubber hits the road’, there are far more players. Community resilience and protection from the impacts of hazards include a similar cornucopia of players. These include the commonwealth, state and local governments, non-government and charity organisations, such as the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and Green Cross and also the private sector through insurance, finance and property development, and smaller suppliers of products and services. So the seemingly simple first step of broadening the agenda to other hazards opens up a complexity that were not originally evident.

 This talk will discuss some of these intertwining drivers for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and demonstrate how the CRC is working with the EM sector to understand and deal with them. It will also discuss the current national research agenda and how it fits with the other competing agendas.

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