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VU explores 'Cultural responses to emergencies: bushfires, safety and crises'

Victoria University's Institute for Community, Ethnicity and Policy Alternatives (ICEPA) will hold a free seminar on 'Cultural responses to emergencies: bushfires, safety and crises', on Wednesday 22 April 2009.

Speakers include: Christine Nixon, Chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority; and Andrew Zammit, Commander, Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

The seminar will explore the issues and challenges that arise when engaging with Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) communities during emergency situations, including effective forms of communication during emergency procedures, creating awareness about fire prevention, cultural knowledge of managing bush fires and assessing risk and community needs.

ICEPA's Director, Professor Hurriyet Babacan, said: "Culture is an important part of who we are as individuals and as a community. How we respond to emergencies and adverse situations both in practical and emotional terms is influenced by our culture. Also important is the role of culture in how we communicate emergency messages and how we express grief."

"In the aftermath of the Victorian bushfires, this seminar draws attention to important considerations of cultural and linguistic diversity in responding to emergency and in healing and rebuilding communities."


Christine Nixon

Chair of the Victorian Bushfire Reconstruction and Recovery Authority.

Christine Nixon was the Chief Commissioner of Victoria Police from 2001 - 2009, through which she gained extensive experience addressing the needs of a wide range of communities. In her present role, she coordinates the activities of all local, state and Commonwealth Government agencies, and community organisations involved in helping communities affected by February's bushfires. Her priority is to help communities recover and rebuild in a way that is safe, timely, efficient, and respectful of each community's needs.


Andrew Zammit

Commander, Metropolitan Fire Brigade.

Andrew Zammit is focused on the Brigade's response to the bushfires; and recommendations coming out of the Bushfire Royal Commission. Since joining the Brigade in 1987 as a firefighter, he has been involved in a wide range of professional activities including responding to fires and other emergencies, community education, recruitment training courses, and peer support. His knowledge around emergency response includes working with CALD communities and emergency prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.


Michele Grossman

Professor, Victoria University.

Michele Grossman leads research with and about CALD communities, at VU. She has worked as an investigator on projects that explore the issues and challenges that face refugees, newly arrived and emerging communities settling in Australia. Michele has extensive interest and engagement with issues related to cultural diversity, including young people, juvenile justice, and policy. Michele has strong links with CALD communities in and around Melbourne. In this seminar, Michele will speak about culture as resilience in building community.


Where: Ballroom A, Rendezvous Hotel , 328 Flinders Street, Melbourne (Melways 2009 ref: Map 1A J9)

When: Wednesday 22 April 2009

Time: Seminar: 10.00am - 12.00pm


Media contact:

Andy Gash, A/Media Manager

Marketing and Communications Department, Victoria University

Ph: (03) 9919 4950; mobile: 0411 255 900 

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