CQU First Nations Disaster Management Hub one step closer thanks to BHP research grant

08 March 2021

CQUniversity's proposed First Nations Disaster Management (FNDM) Hub is one step closer to development after it was given a significant boost' thanks to a $500K research grant from BHP's Vital Resources Fund.

CQUniversity Deputy Vice-President of Indigenous Engagement' Professor Adrian Miller' welcomed the funding that will provide the foundation for the development of the Hub.

'Thanks to BHPs support' the Office of Indigenous Engagement will undertake research to gain valuable insights into priority areas of disaster management that affects First Nations populations.

'This funding boost will allow us to appoint four research positions for the disaster management research'' he explained.

The First Nations National Disaster Management Hub' based at CQUniversity's Townsville campus' will lead towards the development of a centre for national and international expertise' analysis and innovation on emergency and disaster management for First Nations communities.

'Our purpose is to plan for' and respond to' the impact of disasters caused by natural or human-induced hazards as well as environmental' technological and biological hazards and risks. This will be achieved through innovative' multidisciplinary research with academic' industry and government institutions' locally' state-wide' nationally and internationally.'

Professor Miller said the Hub's intent was motivated by the impact of COVID-19 and its potential to devastate Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.

'The coronavirus pandemic has highlighted the need for rapid responses and local emergency and disaster management plans and actions'' he continued.

'This project aims to evaluate local government disaster management plans impacting First Nations communities' and to identify key challenges and gaps that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic while understanding disaster risk in First Nations communities caused by natural events' human-induced hazards and health hazards.

'The research will also aim to identify barriers to data information availability' develop and disseminate disaster management plans that embed First Nations knowledges to local government disaster management teams and ensure First Nations knowledge and practices are used to complement scientific knowledge in disaster management.'

BHP Mitsui Coal (BMC) and New South Wales Energy Coal (NSWEC) Asset President Elsabe Muller said BHP was proud to partner with CQU to establish Australia's first Disaster Management Hub for First Nations' People.

'This important project will empower and equip First Nations communities to better respond to disasters in the future.'

BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Asset President James Palmer said the Vital Resources Fund is delivering support to the people and communities who need it the most.

'Through this project' we aim to contribute to the social and cultural support of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples – a key commitment in our Reconciliation Action Plan.'

Professor Miller said it was vital that First Nations disaster management knowledges were embedded into local' state and national disaster management policies and strategies.

'Through this research we aim to translate the findings to develop culturally-appropriate disaster management plans in accord with the Sendai Framework.'

Outcomes of the research will enhance the capacity and capability of First Nations communities' agencies' authorities' local councils' and critical infrastructure providers to plan for' respond to and recover from emergencies through incorporation of the research evidence and Indigenous knowledges.

'We aim to increase our knowledge of disasters' risks and resilience to develop technology that improves disaster management practices for First Nations communities. Outcomes of this work will be available for First Nations communities locally' nationally and internationally.'