Bushfire Recovery for the Outdoor Sector

Main Range Contemplation by Lachlan Gardiner

Bushfire Recovery for the Outdoor Sector

Webinar Recording, Transcript, Resources & Links

2019/2020 will be remembered across large parts of Australia as the summer of bushfires.

These fires had, and will continue to have, terrible impacts on people in the sector and the outdoor places that we love.

We acknowledge the amazing work of the fire fighters (paid and volunteer) who have done so much for our communities – and we thank each and every one of these heroes. We thank the landowners and land managers who prepared those places to the best of their abilities with the resources available. The entire outdoor industry who planned, evacuated, cancelled and continues to keep participants safe, your professionalism is to be commended. Finally, we acknowledge the members of the public who heeded warnings and adapted their plans regarding outdoor activities during this time of extremes.

As an outdoor group, we need to be mindful of the traumatic experiences that so many people have had in recent times and in the past in relation to bushfires. For some, the time to join in recovery is not yet, please contact your state based outdoor peak body when you need support or want to discuss the issues.

On January 28, 2020 the State peak bodies for outdoor activities across Australia collaborated to deliver a webinar on bushfire recovery, and invited all interested people from the Australian outdoor sector to participate – members, non-members, employers, employees, sole traders, freelancers, those in related government agencies and more.

The impacts on outdoor activities from bushfires differed from State to State and region to region so there are different issues for neighbouring operators. It is a complex picture which is difficult to grasp and may not be fully understood for years. The webinar provided an opportunity  to learn from each other, and for people from across the outdoor sector to inform the recovery process.

The key questions discussed were:

  • What does recovery mean for the outdoor sector?
  • What does the outdoor sector need to recover?
  • How do we all contribute to that recovery?

The webinar was facilitated by staff from the state peak outdoor bodies as a collaborative approach to the issues facing the outdoor sector – working through the issues together!

Video Replay

Transcript of the Live Chat

Key Ideas / Offers / Questions

  • Anne-Maree McInerney: Book on how to make Nestboxes
  • Jamie Bennett: If people are looking to reinforce the value of the outdoors the Outdoor Benefits Catalogue research from the Outdoor Council of Australia will be useful. (http://www.outdoorcouncil.asn.au/news/australian-outdoor-adventure-activity-benefits-catalogue)
  • Mark Keehn: Can the botanic gardens across the country provide support for revegetation efforts?
  • David Chitty: Perhaps Peak Bodies and Land Managers etc could host a “back to the bush” expo in relevant capital cities with opportunities for rural tour operators, clubs, communities etc to showcase the reasons why people should get back to and support outdoor activities
  • Jane Toner: Can Australian Outdoor Sector declare Climate Emergency & Biodiversity Emergency?
  • David Chitty: I was the Chair of the previous Outdoors Victoria and was involved with PV etc in the recovery from 2003 through to 2009 fires – Happy to chat re what we did then – 0419 280 614
  • Mark Keehn: There are many community bushcare / landcare groups around the country. Can their experience be harnessed for recovery of the bush around the country? Perhaps the groups could be reimbursed for expenses incurred in helping with this work (similar to how the fire fighters / residents / small businesses have been helped with costs)
  • Nathan Brown: Open letter from Peak EO’s to all school principal (possibly via AIS + department of Ed’s) with messaging around the outdoors being open for business (in certain areas), the importance of young people still getting outdoors in times like this and the professionalism and ability of the industry to assess risk. Also the message of postponing rather than cancelling where needed.  Hashtags are good for students and parents but possibly something more formal for the suits?
  • Caro Ryan: Many bushwalking clubs are full of folk wanting to help with bush regen and cleanups … and can read maps. Whilst that doesn’t give casual guides employment, they could be extra muscle and grunt.
    • John Marshall – Bushwalking Qld: 20,000 members of volunteer run clubs across Australia. Volunteer efforts in citizen science a possibility. Monitor regrowth, fauna inventories, etc.
  • Shannon Grass: When speaking to local council for our area they have a strong focus for the marketing funding for tourism, but not for the outdoor education sector (schools). What is being done with the Department of Education on educating the schools and prompt the benefits of outdoor ed and advertising the areas that are accessible and safe to visit. The messaging has been negative and is impacting on school decision making (rightly so) but as it improves we need more advocating for the benefits for schools going into the outdoors and the support it provides for local jobs, accom sites, etc

Coordinating Community Group Volunteers

Conservation Volunteers Australia has been tasked by the Australian government to coordinate community group volunteers nationally.

Freecall 1800 032 501 (within Australia)


As it was understood that the topics under discussion were potentially very distressing for some people, Andrew Knight from Outdoors Victoria arranged, through the Australian Association for Bush Adventure Therapy,  for counsellor Anita Pryor, from Adventure Works, to be on call during the webinar.  Anyone who attended the webinar, and would appreciate having someone to talk to, can call Anita who is happy to help out.

In addition the AABAT have prepared a useful resource, Dealing with Stress, with the intention to help those that have been affected by the bushfire and other significant life events.

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