News from the CRC


Workshop participants at Ngukurr.
Workshop participants at Ngukurr.

Top end resilience discussed

CRC researchers have spent four days deep in Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory discussing the community resilience studies underway in the communities of Ngukurr and Gunbalanya.

Held at Ngukurr, 30 people attended the workshop each day, comprising CRC researchers from Charles Darwin University (CDU), the North Australian Indigenous Land and Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) and the University of New England, along with researchers from the Aboriginal Researchers Practitioners Network (ARPNet) and community representatives from Ngukurr and Gunbalanya.

Project Leader Adjunct Professor Jeremy Russell-Smith said the workshop was a great success.

“It was really essential to get all the people involved in the research in the one location. Having the workshop on country in Ngukurr was a real advantage, and enabled all of the researchers to engage with the local indigenous communities and hear their views on emergency management in their area,” Adj Prof Russell-Smith said.  

The primarily objective of the workshop was to hear the preliminary results from the Scoping remote north Australian community resilience and developing governance models through action research project. Workshop participants heard directly from CRC researcher Bev Sithole (ARPNet coordinator) and the indigenous researchers at ARPNet about the research progress. A key aspect of the study is that the interviews are undertaken in the local languages, by local people (ARPNet researchers) who best understand the local cultural sensitives. The interviews have discussed the perceptions of natural hazard risk, safety during an emergency and how emergency management could work better in their communities.

Other parts of the project were on also show, with Glenn James (NAILSMA) presenting on the findings of a literature review and a community asset mapping exercise. 

In additional, other connected CRC studies were also discussed. Cluster Leader Dr Phil Morley (University of New England) discussed the Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index project, which is developing and mapping resilience across the country, and Steve Sutton (CDU) presented on the work undertaken so far on the Northern Australia Emergency Management Training project. In addition, Mr Sutton is also undertaking a PhD through the CRC, and outlined his work so far into examples of resilient communities around the globe and why they prepared for disasters.

Dr Andrew Edwards (CDU) presented on the Savanna fire management and bushfire and natural hazards scenario planning project, in particular work on the savannah burning component and how the mapping would assist indigenous ranger groups with their prescribed burning, while Dr Kamel Sangha (CDU) discussed the payment for ecosystem services aspect, which is exploring ways for indigenous communities to earn an income managing their country.

New CRC PhD student Kate Van Wezel (CDU) gave an overview of her research plan, which is exploring culturally appropriate fire management in the Waanyi and Garaawa lands along the Gulf of Carpentaria.


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