Friday, September 22, 2023

Developing a culturally appropriate natural hazards training program for Indigenous communities

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Northern Territory
Image by Neil Morrell from Pixabay

Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, Media Release, 12 May 2021

Sparsely populated and prone to natural hazards, northern Australia is home to nearly 36,000 people – predominantly Indigenous Australians who live in remote communities. Previous fire and emergency management training has been seen as inadequate by local Indigenous land, fire and emergency managers, as it was based on suitability for southern Australia and lacked the tailored, collaborative strategies required to keep remote northern communities safe from frequent natural hazards in unique environments.

This project, led by Stephen Sutton at Charles Darwin University, developed ten training units that provide practical support and reinforcement of capabilities in remote northern communities. This research prioritised the inclusion of Indigenous leaders, ranger groups and researchers in the development process, as well as a focus on the specific social context of the delivery of disaster management services.

Designed for delivery at the Vocational Education and Training Certificate II level, the units interweave a set of philosophical and practical understandings of the management of landscapes for natural hazards in a changing climate, as well as the integration of Indigenous knowledge and experience with non-Indigenous approaches.

Hazard Note 96 ( explains the inclusive research behind the new training units, showing how they are being used in remote communities to develop capabilities in bushfire and natural hazard management and leadership.


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