The Australian Government has pledged $88.1m over the next ten years to the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre 

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre (BNHCRC) and Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has welcomed an announcement from the Australian Government that it will continue funding natural hazards research in Australia by investing $88.1m over the next ten years.

According to the Government “the funding will support the transition of the current BNHCRC to a new, world-class research centre for natural hazard resilience and disaster risk reduction.”

“This will continue the coordinated national research effort of the last 18 years and address the major challenges arising from the 2019/20 bushfire season,” said Dr Katherine Woodthorpe, chair of the hazard research centre.

“This new funding will allow Australia to remain at the forefront of natural hazards research. As a country, we must continue to improve how we prepare for, respond to, and recover from bushfires, cyclones, floods and storms,” she added.

As part of the announcement the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre will receive $2m to immediately investigate key issues from the 2019/20 bushfire season.

“Australia experienced one of its most devastating bushfire seasons over 2019/20,” said the CEO of the Bushfire and Natural Cooperative Research Centre, Dr Richard Thornton.

“We know that natural hazards are causing more damage across Australia than ever before, and that research is essential to improving resilience. The difficult questions around the most complex problems must be asked. The best answers take time to develop and time to be adopted by those facing natural hazards as part of their life.”

“There are many crucial lessons we need to take from what was seen across such a large part of the country… this new funding will allow us to identify the most important lessons to improve mitigation, response and recovery.”

ICA also welcomed the funding. ”The ICA believes that the current BNHCRC is a world’s-best example of cross-sector collaboration working toward delivering user-driven research,” said Karl Sullivan, head of risk and operations at ICA. ”This research has benefitted all Australians who live in areas that are exposed to bushfires and other natural hazards.”

”Australians realise the importance of natural disaster research, as it is the research findings that arm emergency services, planners, builders, developers and communities with the information they need to continue to improve resilience, response and recovery to future natural disasters.”

”The ICA has worked closely with the BNHCRC and looks forward working with government and other agencies to transition to a new research centre for natural hazard resilience and disaster risk reduction,” he concluded.