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Supporting fire affected communities

The beginning of this month marked 100 days since the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements released its final report into the Black Summer Bushfires.

From the time the catastrophically damaging bushfires first took hold, the Institute and its members have thrown their support behind affected communities to help lead the reconstructions efforts.

We gave evidence to the Commission and also engaged directly with government, providing expert advice on regulatory reform and other actions required to enable us to not only build back better but also develop stronger resilience for the future.

These efforts continue today, and you can read our most recent media release here.

The recent fires in Perth show that bushfires are a threat that will only worsen with our changing climate.

That’s why we are advocating strongly for a firm commitment to net zero emissions in the built environment by 2030. It’s why we’ve started the Institute’s carbon neutral journey – and we’ll have more to say on this shortly so stay tuned.

In addition to ongoing work with the Australian Building Codes Board, Standards Australia and other engagement with all levels of government we are preparing to launch a new bushfire-specific advocacy initiative. We look forward to sharing details of this with you shortly.

We’ve also created a dedicated website page to focus on our ongoing response to bushfire emergencies. This features the immediate support we have been providing since the 2019-20 bushfires as well as subsequent relief projects and volunteering initiatives we will continue to develop in 2021 as we work to support the rebuilding of communities.

For example, in response to the 2019–20 Australian bushfire season the Institute immediately provided full unrestricted access to a wide range of relevant Acumen practice notes providing a resource base covering information on building in bushfire prone zones and on the provision of pro bono services.
 
We also moved quickly to develop a series of online education and continuing professional development resources. The “Building Back Better” seminar series – which covers bushfire ecology and impact, design and planning, building and landscape – provides an opportunity for architects across the country to gain insight into how they can mobilise to provide aide and assistance through their practices to communities effected by bushfires in Australia.
 
The Institute is motivated to ensure that communities that need expertly equipped professionals such as architects to help them build back better have access to that expertise.
 
Please visit our dedicated National Bushfire Response page for more information.