Scenario planning for remote community risk management in northern Australia: Final project report

Scenario planning for remote community risk management in northern Australia: Final project report Report

  • Author(s): Russell-Smith, J, Sangha, KK, Edwards, AC
  • Published: 2020
  • Publisher: Charles Darwin University

Abstract: The ‘Scenario planning for remote community risk management in northern Australia’ project is part of CDU’s northern hub second round suite of projects, commencing in July 2017. The hub involves collaborations between the Darwin Centre for Bushfire Research (DCBR) at Charles Darwin University (CDU), the North Australia Indigenous Land & Sea Management Alliance Ltd (NAILSMA), the Aboriginal Research Practitioners Network (ARPNet) also based at CDU, and regional stakeholders including north Australian Fire and Emergency Management agencies, conservation agencies and remote Indigenous communities. In this report, we provide summaries of the work undertaken over the project period in the two main components of the Northern hub’s scenario planning project. Firstly, we have been developing a framework for the Fire & Emergency Services agencies to engage with remote Indigenous communities to potentially improve Emergency Services delivery. The agencies recognise the need to improve the services provided remotely, but also recognise that some jurisdictions (particularly the NT) are not adequately resourced to achieve this,. The classic model of volunteering does not suit remote significantly disadvantaged Indigenous community members in remote communities. However, the expanding Indigenous Ranger program is a potential means to more appropriately engage with local Indigenous people to build local emergency management (EM) capacity, preparedness, resilience and disaster response. This research has developed a suite of case studies. In each case, interviews/workshops have been conducted with members of the, now, wide- spread Indigenous Ranger Groups (IRGs) to ascertain the aspirations, willingness and capacity of the Indigenous Rangers to engage in EM activities. In this report, we provide summaries of the activities undertaken and information gathered to date at Hermannsberg and Yuendumu in Central Australia, Broome, Beagle Bay and Bidyadanga in the Kimberley, Galiwinku on Elcho Island off Arnhem Land, in Bulukhuduru, Ramingining and Ngukkurr in Arnhem Land, and Borroloola on the Gulf of Carpentaria. Main identified issues across the selected remote communities include little engagement of locals, if any, in managing emergency situations around the community, inappropriate placement of EM plans in police stations, lack of resoruces and services in remote communities, broader recognition of IRGs capacity to deliver EM services, and willingness of IRGs to participate in EM services. Secondly, this research continues the service delivery program of land management, monitoring and evaluation tools to assist fire managers in remote north Australia. To develop “Improved Fire Management Regimes”, we provide information with respect to the spatial distribution, and effects of fires on tropical savanna and rangeland habitats through the Savanna Monitoring & Evaluation Reporting Framework (SMERF). In particular, we include the development of a fire severity map product, not only to inform land management, but to improve Savanna Burning greenhouse gas emissions calculations. Finally, this report addresses ongoing priorities identified by partner agencies and community stakeholders requiring further action-based research and implementation, especially addressing: • Understanding the full “costs and benefits” of engaging with IRGs in delivery of effective EM in remote community settings; • Full accounting of the costs of natural hazards and disasters in northern Australia and; • Ongoing development of tools to assist savanna fire managers, for example: fire behavior models, improved fire mapping resolution, curing mapping.

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Russell-Smith, J, Sangha, KK, Edwards, AC, 2020, Scenario planning for remote community risk management in northern Australia: Final project report, Report, viewed 05 December 2023,

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