Resilience to Hazards

Fire landscape in NT Wildlife Park.jpg

Fire knowledge in northern Australia
Fire knowledge in northern Australia

Project Status:

This project will identify and build on the existing knowledge of bushfire and natural hazards in northern Australia.

Scoping remote north Australian community resilience

Remote north Australian communities are susceptible to cyclones, floods and bushfires. Cultural and socio-economic factors combine with the challenges of remote service delivery - including cost, low levels of infrastructure and distance from the urban centres that host key service delivery organisations - to create situations where communities can be highly vulnerable to natural hazards. In this context, it is important to understand how these variables can be navigated to enhance community resilience. This task requires a detailed understanding of current capacities, preparation and response strategies, communication pathways and local governance structures.

A challenge for enhancing community resilience is to develop culturally appropriate, environmentally sustainable economic opportunities. The lack of wealth generation at the local level impedes community capacity to develop infrastructure and build human capital through training and experience of the workplace. The ability of these communities to respond in a coordinated way at an appropriate scale is largely non-existent.

The existing academic literature on resilience contains limited material that deals with remote Australia.

The project has three main areas:

  • The Aboriginal Research Practitioners Network – Indigenous researchers trained in Participatory Action Research – are working in two Northern Territory communities (Ngukurr and Gunbalanya) documenting community understandings of natural hazards, risks, current response strategies and community capacity.
  • At these same study sites, the hard, institutional and cultural assets that underpin local capacity and the delivery of emergency services and which are at risk during a hazard are being mapped.
  • Working with community members and end-users to explore the challenges faced by agencies in the delivery of emergency services to remote communities.

The project is conducting case studies at Ngukurr and Gunbalanya, and in areas of north east Arnhem Land impacted by Cyclone Lam in 2015.

CRC sign
17 November, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Dr Kamaljit Sangha (right) talks natural hazards research at the Palmerston Markets.
4 November, 2016
CRC research was on show in Darwin recently, with researchers from the Scoping remote north Australian community resilience project featuring at the popular Palmerston Markets.
AJEM October 2016 cover
26 October, 2016
Many peer-reviewed papers from the AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ Research Forum have been published in a special edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management.
13 October, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
White Toyota = Whiteboard”, Grace Daniels makes a point late in the late afternoon at the Limurlee workshop
22 September, 2016
Steve Sutton visited a place that's not on a map, and hard to pick out on Google Earth, for a workshop on resilience and emergency management in northern Australia.
25 July, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Researchers and end-users in Darwin.
18 February, 2016
End-users and researchers met in Darwin this week to discuss the range of CRC research underway across northern Australia.
ARPNet researchers with Steve Sutton in Gunbalanya
6 January, 2016
The steady pulse of wet/dry hazard and threat seems remote to visitors to Indigenous communities in the Top End, but how do the locals feel about it? That is what we're trying to find out.
Dean Yibarbuk, ARPNet Co-Chair and team leader for the Gunbalanya research, recording a completed matrix activity on perceptions of natural hazard risk over time.
7 December, 2015
Research is helping remote northern communities face natural hazards. CRC researchers visited the Ngukurr community in the Top End and discovered the important role that local knowledge plays in community resilience.
The Spring 2015 edition of Fire Australia magazine
7 December, 2015
Research is a key focus of the Spring 2015 edition of Fire Australia magazine.
Workshop participants at Ngukurr.
5 June, 2015
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.
Year Type Citation
2016 Journal Article Maddock, N. Notes from the Field: Managed by us mob: helping remote northern communities face natural hazards. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 31, (2016).
2016 Report Russell-Smith, J. Scoping remote north Australian community resilience and developing governance models through action research: annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Report Michaels, C., Tofa, M. & James, G. Literature review on community resilience in remote north Australia. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Sangha, K. et al. Developing enterprise opportunities and resilience in remote north Australian communities - non peer reviewed extended abstract. Adelaide Conference 2015 (2015).
2015 Conference Paper Gould, J., Sithole, B., Campbell, A., James, G. & Sutton, S. Building Community Resilience to Natural Hazards in Northern Australia Conference Paper 2014. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2015 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2015 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Presentation Russell-Smith, J. Risks and opportunities for sustainable savanna fire management. (2015).
2015 Report Russell-Smith, J. Scoping Remote North Australian Community Resilience Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2015 Report Russell-Smith, J. Scoping remote north Australian community resilience and developing governance models through action research: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
Scoping community resilience
25 Aug 2014

Scoping community resilience through participatory action research (PAR) in Northern territory remote aboriginal communities. 

Key Topics:
Scoping remote North Australian community resilience
18 Aug 2015

"Why yous mob only want to talk about big disasters, us mob are vulnerable to small ones too" - community perspectives about disaster resilience in Gunbalanya in the NT.

Jeremy Russell-Smith Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

The project applies ecological-economic methods to help build the resilience and sustainability of remote Indigenous communities across northern Australia.

Key Topics:

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