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Biggest Emergency Conference in Australia

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19 Apr 2013
More than 1400 delegates will come together in Melbourne to discuss the latest challenges and trends in emergency management at the biggest and most important all hazards conference of its kind in Australasia, the 20th AFAC and 10th Bushfire CRC conferenc

With 14 confirmed national and international speakers presenting at over 90 sessions over four days, AFAC Chief Executive Officer Stuart Ellis said this year’s conference was an opportunity for delegates to hear from speakers from different industries to contribute to the emergency management sectors understanding of how we can work together collaboratively to form partnerships. 

“We have a number of high calibre speakers confirmed for the conference program who will challenge and stretch delegate’s thinking. The conference theme Shaping Tomorrow Together recognises the need for emergency services to work together collaboratively with the community and other partners from the education, health, business and research sectors, and all levels of government, to shape our future. 

“The AFAC and Bushfire CRC conference is the most important knowledge sharing event in the emergency management annual calendar. Our key objective is to ensure that the collective industry knowledge and experience is captured and shared between peers,” Mr Ellis said. 

Delegates will hear from a number of leading international and Australian experts including: 

  • Professor Tim Flannery – Chief Climate Commissioner 
  • David Kaufman - Associate Administrator for Policy, Program Analysis, and International Affairs, Federal Emergency Management Agency, USA 
  • Professor John Handmer - Centre for Risk and Community Safety, and Human Security Program, RMIT University 
  • Dr Stefan Hajkowicz - Principal Scientist, CSIRO 
  • Andrew Demetriou – Chief Executive Officer, Australian Football League 
  • Ivan Pupulidy, Director, US Forest Service 
  • Vij Randeniya - Chief Fire Officer, West Midlands Fire Service, UK 
  • Dr Richard Gasaway – former Chief and founder of Situational Awareness Matters, USA 
  • Craig Lapsley – Fire Services Commissioner, Victoria 

Conference Sponsors 

  • Professor Kate Auty - Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability, Victoria 
  • Neil Comrie - President, Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Services Board 
  • Professor John Alford - Professor of Public Sector Management at the Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne and the Australia and New Zealand School of Government 
  • Sam Johnson - Founder of the New Zealand Student Volunteer Army 
  • Philip Stittleburg - Chief of the La Farge Fire Department, Wisconsin, USA 

Bushfire CRC CEO Gary Morgan believes the conference and Research Forum, which begins the conference, will show why research and innovation are more important now than ever. 

“Emphasising the diversity of the research being conducted across all hazards, the science on show across the week will highlight the significant work the Bushfire CRC is delivering to emergency service agencies. The conference and Research Forum present a great opportunity for all emergency management practitioners to learn what we are discovering about the biggest challenges in emergency management across Australasia, and finding ways to use this knowledge every day to make our communities safer,” he said. 

Chair of the Conference Steering Committee Euan Ferguson, Chief Officer of the Country Fire Authority, welcomed the opportunity to host the conference in Melbourne in partnership with Victorian agencies the Metropolitan Fire and Emergency Service Board, Parks Victoria, Victoria State Emergency Service and the Department of Sustainability and Environment. 

Key activities over the four days include: 

  • 1-day, all hazards Research Forum: 2 September 
  • 2-day conference: 3-4 September 
  • Gala Dinner: 3 September 
  • Debate “Is it only a disaster that brings us together?” 4 September 
  • 7 Professional Development Workshops: 5 September 
  • 4 Field Study Tours from 1 September 
  • Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) Forum: 2 September 
The full conference program is available on the conference website at

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