The Australian landscape has long been subject to extreme weather conditions. The harsh climate of the outback along with dense vegetation and remote rural regions create the ideal setting for bushfires and other such emergencies. One method of minimising the impact of bushfires is the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio and the Victorian Emergency Services. Signed in 2003, the MoU is a statutory agreement that appoints ABC Local Radio in Victoria the official emergency broadcaster. The period between 2003 and 2008 has been a time of immense change through the development of policies and procedures to apply the Memorandum of Understanding within ABC Radio Victoria. This project will seek to answer the question; how effective is the MoU as an emergency broadcasting model, and has ABC Local Radio fulfilled its requirements as prescribed in the MoU. The research will also focus on the effectiveness and appropriateness of the MoU in strengthening community vulnerability towards the adverse effects of bushfires.
[This research is available as a PDF below]
My research is being funded by a group called the bushfire CRC, and they asked me to choose a topic surrounding bushfires and the media. I chose to specifically focus on the ABC as official emergency broadcaster as they are the most prominent media outlet in bushfire affected areas and I wanted my research to have real outcomes rather than covering metro networks. I also want to work for the ABC and thought this a good way to make some connections at the ABC.
By choosing to focus specifically on the ABC I will be assisting to develop real policies, which will affect real people. Bushfires have the capacity to take away peoples livelihoods and homes, and the ABC is the only network that is proactive in covering bushfires rather than reactive. This will help the people affected by bushfires and also allow the ABC to perform even better during bushfire seasons.