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Bushfire: What’s law got to do with it?

Held on the 26th Nov 2019

at 6pm to

, Southern Tasmania

Add to Calendar 2019-11-26 18:00:00 2019-11-26 19:30:00 Australia/Sydney Bushfire: What’s law got to do with it? Tasmania’s laws around firefighting have been described as “outdated”, so what would best practice bushfire policy look like? Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, Sandy Bay Campus
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Stanley Burbury Theatre, University Centre, Sandy Bay Campus


Tasmania’s laws around firefighting have been described as “outdated”, so what would best practice bushfire policy look like?


  • Dr Michael Eburn, Australian National University
  • Joseph Wenta, Faculty of Law
  • Dr Stuart Little, University of Wollongong
  • Michael Brown AM, AFSM, Former Chief Officer, Tasmania Fire Service

Fire pic

The Faculty of Law and the Fire Centre Research Hub are co-hosting a public event about legal frameworks for bushfire preparedness and response. We warmly invite you and your friends and colleagues to join us.

The recent independent report on Tasmania’s 2018-19 fire season describes the legal and policy framework for firefighting in Tasmania as “outdated”. The report suggests that the latest fire season represents an opportunity “to align the legislative underpinnings of fire management in Tasmania with contemporary best practice”. In an era of rapidly increasing fire risk, this event asks: What does contemporary best practice bushfire law and policy look like?’

Dr Michael Eburn is Associate Professor at the Australian National University College of Law and a member of the Australian Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. Dr Eburn is a leading expert in emergency management and the law. He will give a presentation about contemporary Australian laws and policies for bushfire preparedness and response.

Dr Eburn's public lecture will be followed by an expert panel discussion and audience Q&A.

About the Panel

Joseph Wenta is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Law at the University of Tasmania. His research examines how law shapes effective and equitable adaptation to climate change impacts including bushfire, heatwaves and sea level change. Joe’s PhD research points to pathways for developing Australia’s adaptation laws to meet the demands of a climate impacted future.

Dr Stuart Little is an environmental professional with over 25 years’ experience in natural resources policy and law, focusing on peri-urban environments. He holds a BSc (Earth Sciences) from Macquarie University (NSW) and B. Appl. Sc (Biology)(Hons) degree from Curtin University (WA) majoring in Fire Ecology. He worked for 13 years as a Senior Environmental Planner with the NSW Department of Planning, specialising inn topics including biodiversity and bushfire protection and contributing to policy underpinning the 2002 bushfire reforms in NSW. He is currently the Strategic Land Use Planner with WaterNSW. He is participating in the expert panel as an Honorary Associate Fellow with the School of Law, University of Wollongong, through which he completed his PhD in 2017 on the topic: “Exploring the Tensions between Bushfire Protection and Biodiversity Conservation in the New South Wales Planning System”.

Michael Brown AM, AFSM, commenced his Fire Service career in 1977 and was promoted to Tasmania Fire Service (TFS) Deputy Chief Officer in 2006 and then to Chief Officer, in the role of CEO and Chairman of the State Fire Commission, in 2009. In this role, Michael led the command and development of TFS's 450 operational and support career staff and 5,000-plus volunteer members. Until his retirement in 2016, Michael was a Director of the national Australasian Fire and Emergency Services Authorities Council (AFAC) and Chairman of the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC). He is also a past Deputy President of the Australasian Road Rescue Organisation (ARRO). Michael is a graduate of the United States Fire Administration Executive Fire Officer Program and holds a Bachelor of Social Science specialising in Emergency Management. Michael was awarded the Australian Fire Service Medal (AFSM) in 2005 and was appointed as a Member of the General Division of the Order of Australia (AM) in 2017.