Indigenous Initiatives
Family they saw what I was doing with all them projects, I bin go here and get that training and that training, this bin different from any other training workshop.

Coexisting with combustion: the future of bushfire management

Researcher Dr Tim Neale speaking about his bushfire social research – how people interact with fire, how we can learn from Indigenous knowledge and how we can better relate to the inevitable and sometimes threatening presence of fire on our planet.

While there may be differences in the ways that Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people understand the world, these differences can create opportunities to build strong relationships and find mutual benefit in overlapping interests. The Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC research in the Indigenous Initiatives theme has identified ways to make the most of those opportunities without losing sight of who we all are. This takes recognition, respect and trust.

CRC researchers have investigated Indigenous-driven interests and initiatives in building community resilience as a foundation for more effective relationships between communities and emergency management agencies.

The work was undertaken through Charles Darwin University in collaboration with the North Australian Land & Sea Management Alliance (NAILSMA) and the Aboriginal Research Practitioners Network (ARPNet – a collective of Indigenous community researchers).

The researchers identified the strengths and opportunities of Indigenous culture and society that are central to the future development of northern Australia, providing a basis for emergency management agencies to work with communities on respectful resilience measures in the face of fires, floods, cyclones and other hazards. A related project developed a training program that builds on the existing Indigenous ranger programs, with the added emphasis of increasing levels of competence and confidence and, in its turn, resilience.

Across southern Australia, researchers have identified areas for collaboration between Indigenous communities and the emergency management sector that reduce risk to natural hazards and increase social and ecological resilience.

Online tools

These online tools were developed with CRC research and are designed to be ready for use. The tools here have been curated for this Driving Change theme. See more tools in the other themes.


This online tool evaluates the effects of fire where burnt area mapping is available across the Northern Territory, large parts of Western Australia, and Northern Queensland. It assesses nearly twenty years of data to show where bushfires have burnt, at what time of year (early or late dry season) and when an area was last burnt.

Use tool

Case studies

CRC research is driving change across communities, government and emergency service agencies, as highlighted by the case studies relevant to each Driving Change theme.


This collection is a curation of the best and most recent news articles, Hazard Notes, videos, posters, guides, journal articles and reports relevant to this theme.