Australia — 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 Ministers February statement is available on the Prime Minister’s website.
Progress: Since the Prime Ministers 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 DIICCSRTEs 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:
Economic Assessment, Integrated to Support Decision-making
Risk Communication and Warnings
Data & Performance Measurement
Climate Change and Future Trends
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:
education and training program
small and medium enterprise 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.