Research leader

Steve Sutton Research Leader

End User representatives

Suellen Flint
Suellen Flint End-Users
Jennifer Pidgeon End-Users
Ken Baulth End-Users
Ed Hatherly End-Users
Bruno Greimel End-Users
James Haig End-Users

Research team

Dr Bevelyne Sithole
Dr Bevelyne Sithole Research Team

Fire and emergency management in northern Australia is quantitatively and qualitatively different to that in the south of the continent. To meet the needs of fire and emergency managers in northern Australia, this project has established training units that meet the requirements of emergency management in the north. The factors differentiating between northern and southern training needs are significant, ranging from geographical (the scale of northern natural disasters and distances), to social and cultural, including the impacts of natural disasters on remote Indigenous communities.

Nearly 360,000 of the people living in northern Australia live in communities with varying degrees of remoteness from ‘outer regional’ to ‘very remote’. These communities are predominately inhabited by Indigenous Australians with the percentage rising in direct proportion to remoteness.

The project, now in its utilisation phase, has developed a training program that builds on the current assets in place, such as the ranger programs, and leads to increasing levels of competence and confidence and in its turn, resilience. The project is a response to north Australian stakeholder concerns that existing training is inadequate for their needs.

New training materials were developed, with courses or packages that provide remote communities the skills and knowledge to manage landscape scale fire regimes, as well as a range of other natural disasters. Pilot training courses begin in late 2016.

The project study reviewed 21 training courses offered through Charles Darwin University and its Registered Training Organisations. Five new training units were completed, and additional units developed to suit the needs of northern Australia. These adapted and new units will provide a comprehensive training package that is sensitive to Indigenous cultural and language variations and reflects local knowledge and contexts. This will allow qualified trainers to deliver training in ways that can be tailored to suit remote locations. The project has also developed a Course Delivery Handbook based on the training materials.

Year Type Citation
2018 Conference Paper Sangha, K. K., Edwards, A. & Russell-Smith, J. Emergency management opportunities for remote indigenous communities in northern Australia. AFAC18 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2018 Conference Paper Bates, J. Research proceedings from the 2018 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2017 Report Sutton, S. Mapping training delivery framework and pathways for the north Australian fire and emergency management training. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Report Sutton, S. A review of emergency and fire management training available for remote communities in northern Australia based on the views of local inhabitants. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Report Sutton, S. Northern Australian bushfire and natural hazards training: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Report Sutton, S. Northern Australia bushfire and natural hazard training: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Report Sutton, S. Bushfire and natural hazard training for Northern Australia: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Report Russell-Smith, J. Building Resilient Remote Communities in Northern Australia Annual Report 2014. (2015).
Learning Together: Cross Cultural Emergency Management Training for Northern Australia
18 Aug 2015

This project develops BNH Training built on learnings from BNHCRC research and tailored to North Australian needs. It employs a didactic approach to build understanding of differing world views about fire and emergency management. Its delivery mode is designed to increase levels of competence, confidence and resilience, particularly in remote regions.

Training as Research and Research as Training in remote north Australia
19 Sep 2018

The ‘BNH Training for Remote Communities’ was initially perceived as training for ranger group members. But as time went by and the participation of Bininj became more embedded, the focus shifted to ’resilience’ training for whole communities.