Grand Challenge Future Forum: Clearing the air: making sense of Australia's bushfire crisis

2:30pm - 3:30pm 31st January
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P412, The Kindler Theatre
Level 4, P block, QUT Gardens Point

In this Grand Challenge Lecture, a panel of QUT academics and guest speakers, with expertise in a wide range of bushfire-related research, will examine the 2019-20 bushfire emergency.


The catastrophic bushfires that have swept through Australia in recent months have killed more than 25 people and up to one billion animals, destroyed more than 2000 homes and charred an estimated 10 million hectares of land. Confronting as they may be, these raw numbers tell just part of the story of an unprecedented natural disaster which has destroyed habitats, homes and livelihoods, devastated families and communities, and polluted our air and water. 

At the same time, fierce debates on the fires’ causes and responses have raged across traditional and social media as people seek an understanding of the disaster. Climate change, land clearing, hazard reduction, building codes, community preparedness, and government resources and support have all been grist for a conversational mill that is often divisive, politically charged and replete with misinformation. 

So how do we make sense of this national crisis? How do we tell facts from fake news and understand what the bushfires will mean for Australia’s natural, built and social environments? At this special IFE Grand Challenge Future Forum, a panel of QUT academics with expertise in a wide range of bushfire-related research will examine impacts and bust myths to help clear the air around the 2019-20 bushfire emergency.



QUT Academics

  • Professor Vivienne Tippett
    School of Clinical Studies, QUT Faculty of Health
  • Associate Professor Amisha Mehta
    School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, QUT Business School
  • Associate Professor Dominique Greer
    School of Advertising, Marketing and Public Relations, QUT Business School
  • Dr Ian Weir
    School of Design, QUT Creative Industries Faculty
  • Dr Timothy Graham
    School of Communication, QUT Creative Industries Faculty
  • Associate Professor Wendy Scaife
    Australian Centre for Philanthropy Non-Profit Studies

Special guest speakers

  • Dr Richard Thornton
    CEO, Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC
  • Major-General Richard Wilson
    Former Chair of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority


This lecture will be livestreamed at:

This lecture will be recorded and published to the IFE podcast channel and QUTube.
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QUT Institute for Future Environments

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