Under the theme Getting the Balance Right: Mitigation – Response – Recovery the AFAC16 program, co-produced with the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, has been launched.

The premier emergency management conference in Australasia, AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ will explore how those responsible for emergency management are getting the balance right, within new, diverse, inclusive multi-agency disaster management services. Held over four action-packed days from August 30 to September 2 at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, AFAC16 will attract delegates and visitors from emergency and security services agencies, all levels of government, non-government organisations, research and education institutions from Australia and world-wide.

Due to increasing pressure on resources from record-breaking temperatures and severe weather, emergency management agencies need to innovate to ensure all communities are protected from the threat of natural disasters.

Australia is a hazard-prone country, but to reduce the economic impact, social disruption and trauma arising from an increase in natural disasters, there is a strong need for emergency service agencies to think long term about the costs and benefits of risk mitigation and prevention.

The current economic costs of bushfires alone in Australia, according to last year’s trajectory, will reach $337 million per year. But this isn’t purely an Asia-Pacific issue. Globally, bushfires have increased by 19%, with 350 million hectares being burnt each year (an area roughly comparable to that of India, according to the Climate Council’s report – The Burning Issue: Climate Change and the Australian Bushfire Threat).

Combining the wisdom of experience, research and analysis from across the emergency management sector, AFAC16 is the largest and most important public safety event in Australasia.

“For more than 23 years, the AFAC conference has provided the Australasian emergency management sector a platform to learn from the best national and international experts – we are pleased to outline the AFAC16 program which we believe will continue to develop our collective knowledge,” states AFAC CEO Stuart Ellis. Bringing the worlds best to one place to broaden our collective knowledge, AFAC16 will help educate emergency managers to face their challenges.

“Each year emergency managers face the challenges of natural hazards. Many communities are adversely affected by severe weather events – cyclones in the north, storms along our coasts, floods on our plains, and fires in our hills,” Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC CEO Dr Richard Thornton said. 

The full program is available at www.afacconference.com.au/program.

For the first time, the AFAC conference will be powered by INTERSCHUTZ following a partnership between AFAC and Hannover Fairs Australia, and as a result, will bring to Brisbane latest technologies and equipment from around the globe.

Both the conference program, and the growing trade exhibition, position AFAC16 as both the premier and the most comprehensive emergency management conference in Australasia.


The program features high profile Australasian and international speakers that will explore the biggest challenges facing the emergency management sector. Speakers have been selected to ensure the program features presentations relevant to everyone within the emergency management sector. 

Keynote presenter Chief Rhoda Mae Kerr will explore ‘The future state of fire services – change is inevitable’ from the International Association of Fire Chiefs Board of Directors, and President and Chair of the Board, Austin Fire Department. Chief Kerr will bring her international expertise to Brisbane.

Dr Anthony Bergin, Deputy Director, Australian Strategic Policy Institute will present on how ‘Prevention is better than cure: why mitigation is critical to building a resilient nation’ will focus on the best ways to ensure risk can be minimised through proper preparation and prevention.

Prof Gavin Smith, Director, Department of Homeland Security Coastal Resilience Center of Excellence, University of North Carolina, will provide insights into public sector involvement with his presentation ‘The role of state government in disaster recovery: lessons from research and practice in the United States’.

In addition to the three days of conference, there will also be Post Conference Development Workshops & Field Trips on Friday 2 September.

As in previous years, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Forum will begin the week, showcasing the latest in natural hazards science from around Australia and the world. With more than 30 researchers, the Research Forum is not just for scientists – it is a great opportunity to engage directly with researchers on key industry issues.

This year the Women and Firefighting Australasia (WAFA) conference will be co-located with AFAC16, concentrating on the need for diversity and equity in fire and emergency services.

The AFAC16 powered by INTERSCHUTZ Trade Exhibition has attracted over 32 international companies from 13 countries – over 130 companies in total, with 40 first-time exhibitors. There will be new technology, products and services that you may not have ever seen, or brands not previously showcased to the Australian fire, emergency services and first responder industries.

Come and see the;

  • MAGIRUS TAF20 on display
  • A life size helicopter
  • Thermal technology
  • Drone technology
  • Major BRT manufacturers, suppliers and body builders
  • Decontamination services
  • PPE manufacturers
  • Emergency lighting
  • Protective burnover unit
  • Solar de-energising solutions
  • Time management, deployment and incident tracking software
  • And so, so much more!

In conjunction with and held within the Trade Exhibition will be an exciting program of case studies and educational sessions being designed and presented on the Expo Stage, showcasing next generation mobile intelligence, commercial partnering to keep pace with disruptive technologies, and many more.

For more information, go to www.afacconference.com.au

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