The Australian Government has today announced it is providing $88.1 million to extend and scale-up funding for critical research into bushfires and natural hazards.

Senator for Victoria Sarah Henderson said the funding would 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.

“The scale of the horrific summer bushfires was unprecedented, and we we’re all inspired by the efforts of our firefighters and first responders who ran towards the fires while steering their communities to safety, “Senator Henderson said.

“The new centre will draw together emergency service authorities with the leading experts across a range of scientific fields to explore the causes, consequences and mitigation of natural disasters.

“While the nature and size of Australia mean natural disasters will always affect us, 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.”

Over the past 18 years the BNHCRC 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.

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.

Today’s announcement 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.

23 July 2020