The Natural Hazards Research Australia Board and staff were in Canberra on 10 May to host a National Board Stakeholder event with partners and key industry representatives from around the country.
Co-hosted by Centre Chair Iain MacKenzie and ACT Emergency Services Agency Assistant Commissioner Wayne Phillips, the event gave representatives from federal and state government departments, emergency service agencies, research institutions, the private sector and not-for-profits the opportunity for direct engagement with our Board and staff, and learn about the ongoing development of our research program. Also in attendance were a delegation of personnel from south-east Asia, each working in a variety of disaster risk reduction capacities, who were visiting Australia as part of a professional development program.
As part of this event, we hosted a session titled ‘Leading to Impact’ that showcased our Black Summer and post-flood research. Anthony Clark, Director of Communications and Engagement at NSW Rural Fire Service, and Mike Wassing, Acting Commissioner at the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, shared their insights on the value of these research programs, as well as practical examples of how each of those agencies has been utilising the knowledge from the research, which was of significant interest to those present.
These insights were coupled with targeted presentations by Dr Kate Brady (University of Melbourne) and A/Prof Mel Taylor (Macquarie University), who shared their extensive knowledge of community recovery research and post-flood social science, including how best to conduct trauma-informed studies and their experiences in working alongside communities for these projects during their recovery.
The event also provided an important opportunity for the Board to hear directly from our ACT-based participants and broader stakeholders through a Q&A session about their knowledge needs and priorities for future areas of research focus that would deliver value and benefit.
This is the fifth Board Stakeholder event we have conducted over the past year, as we travel the country and maintain regular contact and engagement with all the Centre’s stakeholders across the various sectors. We met with stakeholders in South Australia, Tasmania and Queensland in 2022, and Western Australia in 2023. The next event will be organised shortly.
It is important to the Centre that we listen to the needs our stakeholders raise and use these insights to better inform how we invest in, develop and deliver research, with the ultimate goal of making communities as resilient as possible to future shocks and stressors cause by natural hazards.