Event cancelled: Australia’s Bushfire Emergency

Event status:

Community seeking refuge during bushfires Following the Australian Government’s recommendation to cancel non-essential, organised events over 500 people, La Trobe University has made the decision to cancel this event.  The health and wellbeing of the La Trobe University and broader community is our primary concern and we hope to re-schedule this event at a time when it is appropriate to do so.   All ticket holders will be refunded.  If you have any questions in relation to this event and the cancellation please contact the event organisers at universityevents@latrobe.edu.au.

Tuesday 17 March 2020 06:15 pm until Tuesday 17 March 2020 08:30 pm (Add to calendar)
University Events
Presented by:
La Trobe University
Type of Event:
Public Lecture
$25 General / $15 Alumni & Staff/ $10 Student

COVID-19 Update

The situation with COVID-19 continues to change at a rapid pace. It is posing unprecedented challenges for the health and wellbeing of our communities and for the continuing operations of La Trobe University. Events over the weekend and earlier this week have necessitated a rapid review of the University’s response – in particular the ban on large scale events, compulsory self-isolation for all visitors to Australia, and the Premier’s announcement of a State of Emergency.

La Trobe is therefore announcing a range of measures to help members of our community remain as safe as possible, while ensuring minimal disruption to teaching and research activities. Our campuses will remain open and our teaching and research will continue, but with some significant changes to the way we work. As a precautionary measure, from Tuesday 17 March onwards all non-essential events that do not involve delivery or support of teaching or research activity will be cancelled or postponed until the end of June, regardless of the number of participants. This includes events such as graduation ceremonies; public lectures and events; events run by all Student Union Associations and student clubs and societies; sporting events and planned ceremonies.

As a result of this decision, the 'Australia's Bushfire Emergency' event on 17 March 2020 is now cancelled. We thank you for your understanding and hope you will be able to join us at another La Trobe event in the future. All ticket holders will be refunded.

If you have any questions in relation to this event please do not hesitate to contact University Events at universityevents@latrobe.edu.au

To find out more about events scheduled later in the year, please visit the La Trobe website at latrobe.edu.au/events

For more information about La Trobe’s response to COVID-19, you can view our online statement and FAQs

Australia's current tragic and calamitous bush-fire season--which began in late winter and affected every state in the Commonwealth--has created nothing less than a genuine long-term national emergency. In the first discussion in this year's series--The State of the Nation--our panel will analyse the emergency from four different perspectives.

Professor Michael Clarke will examine the causes of the fires and their impact on fauna and flora. Cathy McGowan will talk about the many ways in which the fires have affected life in exposed rural communities. Jack Pascoe will provide insight into traditional bush-fire management and how we might be able to manage future bush-fire  threat. And Craig Lapsley will evaluate the performance of the emergency services and what needs to be done now in preparation for the next bush-fire season.

This event promises to provide an invaluable discussion of what is undoubtedly one of the nation's most disturbing and complex crises.

La Trobe University will be donating 100% of ticket sales from this event to the Victorian Bushfire Appeal. You can also donate at the check-out when purchasing your ticket. We thank you in advance for your support and generosity.

Are the bushfires of the 2019/2020 summer unprecedented in the time since records were kept? If so, in what ways?

What are the most important causes of this year’s bushfires? What role has been played by climate change?

What impact have the bushfires had on country communities and farmers, and on the fauna and flora of the affected areas?

How well have the federal government and the governments of the states risen to the challenge of the 2019/2020 fires?

Looking into the future as best we are able, will bushfire summers like the one of 2019/2020 remain relatively unusual or do they represent a “new normal”?

If they do become common what will their impact be on the life and the spirit of our country communities and farmers, and on Australia’s fauna and flora?

What lessons ought the federal government, the state governments, the bushfire fighters and those living in bushfire-prone environments to have learned from the experience of this summer’s bushfire crisis?

What can we learn from the indigenous practices of bush-fire management?

And most importantly of all, what actions can the federal government, the governments of the states, the country’s fire-fighters and citizens living in bushfire prone areas take to limit the threat represented by bushfire?

Don’t delay in purchasing a ticket. Places are limited.

Speaker Bios:

Professor Mike Clarke

Professor of Zoology, Centre for Future Landscapes, Dept of Ecology, Environment and Evolution, La Trobe University

Professor Clarke has studied the ecology and conservation biology of birds, reptiles, mammals, fish and plants for the past 38 years. He leads research at La Trobe University into the impacts of fire on fauna, with his colleague Prof Andrew Bennett.

He also maintains an ongoing research interest in threatened species and threatening processes. He was the Convener of the Scientific Advisory Committee on the Flora and Fauna Guarantee Act to the Victorian Minister for the Environment for five years.

In 2007 he was awarded the DL Serventy Medal by the Royal Australasian Ornithologists Union for his outstanding contribution to the scientific literature in ornithology. In 2010 he was an expert witness in fire ecology at the Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. In 2014 his research on fire ecology with Prof Bennett was one of three finalists for a Eureka Prize in Environmental Research.

He has recently served as an expert advisor to the Victorian Auditor General’s Office examination of Reducing Bushfire Risk. He served as the Head of the School of Life Sciences from 2011-2019. His passion is to see government conservation policy based on the best available evidence.

Cathy McGowan

Cathy McGowan AO

Cathy came to national attention when she won the seat of Indi as an independent in 2013.  The community backed her again in 2016.  In 2019 Indi made Australian political history when Dr Helen Haines was elected as Indi's second, independent woman.

During her time as a politician Cathy actively worked in Parliament to develop policy around regional development, constitutional change for first nations people and a solution to the indefinite detention of asylum seekers.  In 2019 she was awarded The Accountability Round Table award for political integrity.

She is an Officer in the Order of Australia, a Churchill fellow and lives very happily on her farm in the Indigo Valley in NE Victoria.

Craig Laspley Headshot

Craig Lapsley

Craig Lapsley is one of the most experienced, capable and creditable leaders in the Australian Emergency Management sector.

Strategic and operational leaderships are personal qualities that are second to none and being Victoria’s first Emergency Management Commissioner and the sole Fire Services Commissioner provided the opportunity to create new approaches that changed and improved Emergency Management across Victoria.

The new emergency management approach in Victoria has been community centric and has influenced Australia and the world.

Prior to being appointed to the Commissioner roles, Craig held several senior executive and operational positions within Victoria’s Fire and Emergency Management agencies. He has extensive and broad experience and knowledge in all aspects of Emergency Management including corporate strategy and business management.

Craig was also appointed to senior operational positions in New South Wales Fire Brigade and senior consultant to National Fire Authority Fiji. He has developed and maintained very strong working relationship across the Emergency Management sectors with agencies in the United State of America and Canada.

Jack Pascoe

Jack is the Conservation and Research Manager at the Conservation Ecology Centre. Jack studied Environmental Science at Deakin University and went on to complete a PhD with the University of Western Sydney where he studied the predators of the Blue Mountains.

His key fields of interest are the ecology of predators and fire. Jack is the current Chair of the Southern Otway Landcare Network and is an active volunteer firefighter with Country Fire Authority. Jack is a Yuin man, and is passionate about restoring productive ecosystems in Gadubanud country.


Professor Katie Holmes

Professor Katie Holmes is an environmental historian and Director of La Trobe’s Centre for the Study of the Inland.

She is the co-leader of La Trobe’s Climate Network and the coordinator of the new Environmental Humanities major within the Bachelor of Arts.

Her most recent publication is the co-authored Mallee Country: Land, People, History (2019), and she has also written on Australian gardens; women’s writings; and gender and environment.

Learn more about how LaTrobe is supporting the bushfire crisis

Important Event Information:

La Trobe University acknowledges the current global health crisis and assures guests that the health and safety of the La Trobe community is our top priority.
Guests are encouraged to practise good hand and sneeze/cough hygiene and to make use of the washroom facilities on site, as well as use the alcohol-based hand rub made available at regular intervals.

Venue Accessibility:

Wheelchair access is available via the Swanston Street Entrance. Use the ramp at La Trobe Street, near the corner of Swanston Street. For more information on access and inclusion visit the SLV website

Image credit: Alex Coppel / Newspix

Conversation Quarter, State Library Victoria

328 Swanston Street, Melbourne, VIC, 3000



28th Nov 2020 4:03pm

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