Workshops on the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements

A photograph of a dirt road leading through a burnt area of bushland.

The Black Summer bushfires were immensely destructive, burning through an area equivalent to the size of Ireland, and fuelled by months of record-breaking temperatures and drought. The bushfire season was unprecedented due to its length, intensity, and areas impacted.

Following this fire season, The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements (RC NNDA) was formed to examine how prepared Australia is to respond to bushfires and other natural disasters.

In its report, the Commission stated that “We need to do much more than put out fires”, and called for more focus on avoiding or mitigating disasters as much as possible.

Join one or more of our targeted online workshops to discuss how government, industry and society can go about the challenge of implementing the Commission’s wide-ranging recommendations.

The presentations in all workshops (excluding Workshop #3) will be recorded and made publicly available. The Q&A session and discussions with participants will not be recorded, and will be held under Chatham House Rule.

 

Workshop #1 - Managing bushfire risk in the landscape

When: 12-1pm AEST, Thursday 20 May

Where: Online via Zoom

Abstract:

Protecting people and assets – the environment, infrastructure and property – is at the heart of bushfire risk management strategies.Managing disaster risk is, as the RC NNDA noted, “inherently complex”.

In this forum, Prof Phil Gibbons (Fenner School of Environment and Society) and Dr Richard Thornton (Chief Executive Officer, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC) address recent research and contemporary thinking about bushfire risk management in the landscape.

Program:

12pm - Welcome and introduction by Prof Peter Kanowski.

12:02pm - Prof Phil Gibbons and Dr Richard Thornton address recent research and contemporary thinking about bushfire risk management in the landscape.

12:22pm - Audience Q&A and discussion.

12:57pm - Summary statement by Prof Peter Kanowski.

1pm - Workshop ends.

 

Workshop #2 - Emerging technologies and bushfires: realising the promise

When: 12-1:15pm AEST, Tuesday 25 May

Where: Online via Zoom

Abstract:

The RC NNDA identified investment in emerging technologies as one of the areas of promise and priority that Australia was well-placed to develop further.

In this panel, Assoc Prof Marta Yebra and Prof Rob Mahony outline their work on developing technologies for early fire detection and response; and Dr Tony Bartlett reflects on the history of technology development in bushfire suppression, and what it suggests for future priorities.

Program:

12pm - Welcome and introduction by Dr Roslyn Prinsley.

12:02pm - Assoc Prof Marta Yebra and Prof Rob Mahony outline their work on developing technologies for early fire detection and response.

12:22pm - Dr Tony Bartlett reflects on the history of technology development in bushfire suppression, and what it suggests for future priorities.

12:32pm - Audience Q&A and discussion.

1:12pm - Summary statement by Dr Roslyn Prinsley.

1:15pm - Workshop ends.

 

Workshop #3 - Civil/military cooperation in the new legal and policy environment

When: June 2021, exact date TBC

Where: Online via Zoom

Abstract:

Following the 2019/2020 bushfires, the Prime Minister announced a new role for the Commonwealth and in particular the ADF. The Commonwealth would ‘lean in’ and take more initiative when it comes to the use of the ADF in disaster response and recovery. Even before the RC NNDA had handed down its report the Commonwealth flagged amendments to the Defence Act 1903 (Cth) that became law with the passage of the Defence Legislation Amendment (Enhancement of Defence Force Response to Emergencies) Act 2020. What does this new environment look like, what will it mean for incident controllers appointed by state based emergency services and how will the ADF and the states’ emergency services work together?

The RC NNDA recommended that ‘State and territory governments should take steps to ensure that there is better interaction, planning and ongoing understanding of Australian Defence Force capabilities and processes by state and territory fire and emergency service agencies and local governments’.

This workshop will contribute to those ‘steps’ by starting a discussion between those that will have to implement and work with the new legal and policy environment to develop a shared understanding of how emergency response will work in the next catastrophic disaster.

Program coming soon

Register your interest now to receive more details for this workshop once they are confirmed.

 

Workshop #4 - Health and National Natural Disasters: A Hypothetical Discussion

When: June 2021, exact date TBC

Where: Online via Zoom

Abstract and program coming soon

Register your interest now to receive more details for this workshop once they are confirmed.

 

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