The Australian Government has announced it is providing $88.1 million to extend and scale-up funding for critical research into bushfires and natural hazards.
The funding will support the transition of the current Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) to a new, world-class research centre for natural hazard resilience and disaster risk reduction.
This includes an additional $2 million to boost funding for the current BNHCRC in the 2020-21 financial year to continue their important work following the Black Summer Bushfires.
The Government will be continuing to work closely with the BNHCRC to support their transition to this new research centre following this period.
Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said the funding would build on the work of the BNHCRC, while strengthening ties with Australia’s emergency management sector.
“The scale of the disaster season Australia experienced last summer was unprecedented, and the horrific Black Summer bushfire lingers in the national psyche,” Minister Littleproud said
“The new centre will deliver world-leading, evidence-based research to support the needs of our emergency services and communities across Australia to reduce climate and disaster risks, and prepare for, respond to and recover from future natural disasters.
“Although floods, cyclones and bushfires are a natural part of the Australian landscape, we must continue to improve our resilience and response efforts to ensure their impact on lives, communities and the environment is minimised.
“This is where sustained, long-term funding for natural hazards research plays a pivotal role and why the Australian Government is committed to a new 10-year national research centre.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Karen Andrews said the new centre would take advantage of the strong research foundation already established in Australia around bushfires and natural hazards.
“Over the past 18 years the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and its predecessor, the Bushfire CRC, have built a global reputation for delivering research outcomes that have helped better predict bushfire events, which in turn help protect frontline responders and save lives,” Minister Andrews said.
“The Government is committed to backing applied natural hazards research which will deliver tangible outcomes as well as innovative knowledge and solutions.”
The Department of Home Affairs, through Emergency Management Australia, and the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources will work closely with key stakeholders, including CSIRO, the current BNHCRC and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council, to help establish the new centre over the coming 12 months.
The centre will be co-funded by partners from across Australia, including state and territory governments and emergency service agencies, universities and industry partners, and represent a true collaborative effort on a national scale.
Both Ministers agreed this will herald in a new era of natural hazards research, building on the strengths of previous organisations and networks, and deliver real outcomes for the Australian community.