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NCC Bushfire Conference 2023

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Event description

We are excited to invite you to attend the Nature Conservation Council of NSW’s 13th Biennial Bushfire Conference Managing Fire Together: Applying science, skills, and stories

Join us for two days of presentations by leading academics, practitioners, Traditional Owners, agencies and communities to  explore how we can improve in managing bush fire together. 

Through the lens of climate change, resilience and collaborative communities, presentations will investigate how collective bushfire strategies can strengthen our communities and environments.   

The program will examine how changes in climate are impacting the capacity of both natural and human systems to cope with different fire seasons. It will explore how to better prepare, respond and recover from bushfires. Novel science, policies and field-based approaches will be shared, and delegates will be able to examine how positive outcomes can be achieved through collaboration for people, biodiversity and our unique ecosystems.   

This conference will be held as an in-person event at the Teacher’s Federation Conference Centre in Sydney, NSW on the 24th and 25th of May 2023. A poster session sponsored by the Humane Society International and a conference dinner sponsored by Local Land Services will also be available to live delegates on the 24th May. Although this conference is primarily an in-person event, virtual tickets will also be available.  

Join us on Friday the 26th of May 2023 for an outdoors field day to be held in Ku-ring-gai on Durramurragal land, in the Sydney basin with Ku-ring-gai Council and others to see first-hand collaborative and sustainable bushfire management that protects both the community and  the environment. The day includes site walks and opportunities to further discuss fire and conservation management issues and solutions raised during the conference.

Speaker Program

Download the Preliminary Program Here

We are delighted to announce that NSW Rural Fire Service Commissioner Rob Rogers ASFM will be delivering an address at the opening of this year's conference. 

Wednesday 24th May:

Includes presentations from Platinum Sponsors NSW Rural Fire ServiceNSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, and WWF-Australia.

Addresses and keynotes:

  • Commissioner Rob Rogers ASFM, NSW Rural Fire Service. Address.
  • Oliver Costello, Jagun Alliance Aboriginal Corporation. "Connecting to Jagun (Country) for healing and community resilience."
  • Dr Sarah Harris, Country Fire Authority. "Climate change and bushfire management."
  • Professor David Lindenmayer, The Australian National University. "Forests, forestry and fire"


  • Melissa O’Halloran and Susannah Bilous, Bush Fire Risk Planning, NSW Rural Fire Service."Bush Fire Risk Management Planning; incorporating recommendations from the 2019-20 Bushfire Inquiry"
  • Darren Grover, WWF-Australia. "A multi-faceted response to recovery from the Black Summer fires"
  • Prof Ross Bradstock, NSW Department of Planning and Environment. "Transforming the capacity to manage bushfire risks to biodiversity and environment values: the NSW DPE ABS program.“
  • Dr Angie Haslem, La Trobe University. "What does successful fire management look like? Measuring and evaluating ecological outcomes, a case study using fire management in Victoria."
  • Dr Simon Heemstra, AFAC - the National Council for Fire and Emergency Services in Australia and New Zealand. "The science of change: the new Australian Fire Danger Rating System."
  • Dr Carrie Wilkinson, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. "Developing fire refugia mapping protocols."
  • Laura Rigby, RMIT University. "Native and exotic species respond differently to varied fire frequency in a temperate grassland."
  • Dr Justin Collette, NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. "Forecasting and mitigating the fire severity risk in koala habitat."
  • Andrew Sturgess and Mark Schuster, RedEye and Ku-ring-gai Council. "Bringing local knowledge, science and technology together to deliver an evidence based decision support system."
  • Renee Woodward, Science Economics and Insights Division, NSW Department of Planning and Environment. "Fire response strategies: groupings to estimate risk to species from fire."
  • Dr Jane Williamson, Australian Catholic University. "Similar fire history does not equate to similar fauna habitat in structurally similar vegetation."
  • Dr Claudia Santori, Oceanwatch Australia. "Walking the landscape to increase community resilience toward bushfires."
  • Uncle Lexodious Dadd and Dr Marnie Graham, Yanama Budyari Gumada collective and Macquarie University. "Biyani Guwiyang Dharug Ngurruwa: Healing Fire on Dharug Country."

Thursday 25th May:


  • Associate Professor Lauren Bennett The University of Melbourne. "Fires and forests – can we assume carbon stability and neutrality."
  • Professor Euan Ritchie Deakin University. "Burning issues: managing fire and interacting threats for effective ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation.”


  • Leanne King Koori Country Cultural Fire Aboriginal Corporation, Djurali Pty Ltd. "Coming together to benefit community and Country.“
  • Dr Philip Zylstra Curtin University. "Cooperation with Country.“
  • Maame Adwoa Maisie, University of Wollongong. "Twentieth Century change in the fire events of the Blue Mountains of NSW as recorded in the accumulation and character of charcoal in Temperate Highland Peat Swamps."
  • Mercedes Ondik, University of New South Wales. "Black Summer impacts on people and soil reveal a need to engage the public in soil monitoring."
  • Dr Rowena Morris and Dr Rachael Gallagher, Science Economics and Insights Division, NSW Department of Planning and Environment and Western Sydney University. "Introducing the NSW Bushfire and Natural Hazards Research Centre."
  • Libby Mapletoft, National Parks & Wildlife Services SA. "Protecting significant environmental assets during prescribed burning: a case study in the Fleurieu Peninsula, SA."
  • Dr Andy Baker, Southern Cross University. "The NSW State Vegetation Type Map undermines ecological fire management in dry sclerophyll forests on the NSW north coast."
  • Andrew Denham, NSW Department of Planning and Environment. "Post-fire Acacia thickets are not necessarily a sign of long term vegetation change."
  • Dr Michelle McKemey and Aunty Lesley Patterson, Melaleuca Environmental Consultancy Services, University of New England, and Banbai Rangers. "Using ‘right-way’ science to recover from bushfires."
  • Dr Isabel Sebastian, Cardiff University. "Cultural fire practice in Yuin Country – perspectives on barriers and enablers within current land governance and decision-making."
  • Anastasia Guise, Fire Stories Project. "Documenting impacts and facilitating healing: the Fire Stories community-led storytelling project."

We are also very happy to announce that the conference panel will be chaired by Greg Mullins AO AFSM, former Commissioner Fire & Rescue NSW; Former AFAC President; Founder, Emergency Leaders for Climate Action; Climate Councillor; member NSW Bushfire Coordinating Committee; RFS Group Officer and Member NCC Bushfire Advisory Committee. 

    Events Program

    Wednesday 24th May:

    Teacher’s Federation Conference Centre, 37 Reservoir St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

    8:00 am – Registrations Open

    9:00 am - Conference proceedings start (includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)

    5:00 – 6:45 pm Conference Poster Session sponsored by Humane Society International, drinks and nibbles

    7:15 – 9:45 pm Conference Dinner sponsored by Local Land Services at the Rydges Sydney Central Hotel (28 Albion St, Surry Hills, NSW 2010) located a short stroll from the conference centre. Delegates will need to make their own way from the Conference Centre to the dinner venue. 

    Dinner will include a Chef’s selection buffet dinner and one alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink on arrival. Additional drinks will be available for purchase. Please ensure you have detailed any dietary requirements in your registration form.  

    Thursday 25th of May:

    Teacher’s Federation Conference Centre 37 Reservoir St, Surry Hills NSW 2010

    8:00 am – Registrations Open

    9:00 am - Conference proceedings start (includes morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea)

    5:00 pm – Conference Close

    Friday 26th of May:

    Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden in St Ives, Sydney, NSW 2075

    Conference Field Day – This ticket is separate to the conference sessions on the 24th-25th May. This ticket includes morning tea, lunch and transport to and from the field day (leaving from the Teachers Federation Conference Centre, Sydney to Ku-ring-gai). 

    All conference participants are welcome to register. The day will include site visits in the field, and patches of bush walking, so please be prepared for moderate outdoors exercise and relevant weather conditions. Please contact us if you have any questions. 

    Following the Conference, join us for a day in the field to learn about managing fire together at the Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden in St Ives, Sydney, Friday 26th May 2023. We’ll get to hear from representatives from Ku-ring-gai Council (Mark Schuster, Dr Jennifer Scott, James Chan), Ku-ring-gai Rural Fire Service Brigade (Sam Tucker), University of Melbourne (Prof Alan York), Western Sydney University and NCC Bush Fire Advisory Committee (Dr Grahame Douglas),  RMIT University (PhD Student Zoe D’Arcy), NCC and more.

    You’ll have the opportunity to delve into the Climate Wise Communities program and engage in a Simtable demonstration to spark how we can create fire adapted communities and foster community resilience. Delegates will also get to explore how adaptive fire management can be used for the protection of community, ecological and heritage values during a bushwalk through beautiful Blue Gum High Forest, fire-adapted mallee, Upland Swamp and more. The walk will take us through Red-crowned Toadlet and Eastern Pygmy Possum habitat with time to ask questions with local experts and land managers, share your experiences, and stimulate ideas for your practices and projects. 

    Program time: Registration open at 9:00am, program close at 3:30pm at Ku-ring-gai Wildflower Garden, St Ives

    Transport: Meet the bus at Central Station (time to be confirmed) (7min walk from Conference venue) to transport you to the field day. The bus will return delegates to Central Train Station by 5:00 pm.

    Ticket Details 

    Early Bird ticket sales closed on 5th April.

    In-person (field day, conference dinner and in-person conference) ticket sales have been extended to the 16th of May.

    Virtual ticket sales will close on the 18th of May. 

    Purchasing tickets for multiple delegates 

    If you are purchasing tickets for multiple people, you will need to input their name, emailmobile number and dietary requirements in order to complete the registration. On completing registration, please select the box "Email tickets to each attendee". Only registered emails will receive tickets and welcome packs.  

    Discount/Access Codes* 

    *Note: Discount and access codes are available via the conference organisers for presenters, relevant sponsor representatives, and Nature Conservation Council Bushfire representatives. If you are an NCC representative on a Bush Fire Management Committee please contact the Bushfire Program team for your Discount Code before purchasing any tickets at 
    If you have an  Access Code, on the ticket registration page choose 'Access hidden tickets' to enter your code, then select your hidden ticket and any additional tickets you wish to purchase. If you are using an access code, please only register for yourself. 

    If you have a Discount Code, first select your tickets, then choose 'Enter details' to move to the next page, at the top of this page then enter your Discount Code, and press 'Apply' . 


    Can I update my registration details? Yes, click the Edit Order button in the order confirmation email you received with your purchase. Using the form, you can update your order details such as dietary requirements. To save the changes, click 'Save' at the bottom. 

    Is my ticket transferable? Yes, simply update the registration details as described above. 
    The name and email on the ticket doesn't match the attendee. Is that okay?  No - please add the name and email of each attendee. Zoom links and tickets will be sent to individual email addresses. 

    Can I pay by invoice? Yes, during the payment process choose "pay by invoice". Please note we are only able to accept invoice payments via EFT, if you need to pay by credit card use the online Humanitix gateway and email us for an invoice. Please allow 3 business days after payments have been processed for your tickets to be sent. Invoice payments will be closed after Friday 12th May 2023.  

    I can't find my ticket or confirmation email to complete my registration?  Please check your trash and junk folders, and then contact us at and we can resend your tickets.  

    I have caught COVID-19 before the event, what should I do? If you are feeling unwell, or have been in close contact with someone who has tested positive to COVID-19, please do not attend this in-person event. All in-person tickets include a link to our virtual event, so you will still be able to participate online. Unfortunately, no refunds will be provided after the refund closure date. 

    This will be a COVID safe event, we encourage all participants to wear masks while in close proximity to others and to use hand sanitizer frequently.  

    If you have any further questions please contact the Bushfire Program Team on (02) 9516 0359 or at or visit 

    Nature Conservation Council of NSW would like to acknowledge the generous support of our conference sponsors:

    The Nature Conservation Council of NSW acknowledges the Traditional Owners of the lands and waters of Australia. We pay our respects to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Elders past and present. We aspire to learn from their traditional knowledge to help nature thrive.

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    Refund policy

    Cancellations made before the 10th of May (2 weeks before the event) will have no penalties. For cancellations from 10th of May to the 19th of May a cancellation fee of 50% of the registration price will be incurred. For cancellations made after 19th of May fees will not be refunded. We strongly recommended participants obtain general travel insurance.