JOBS NEWS: Exemplifying the growing awareness of the collective risk we are all facing with climate change, new roles are being created specifically to work towards collaboration – instead of competition – in natural hazard risk management. 

Natural Hazards Research Australia has brought on an inaugural chief science officer in its Sydney office. 

Professor Deborah Bunker has a long career in disaster management, climate and information management research and the use of social media for crisis response, and joined on 12 September from the University of Sydney where she was a professor of systems and information.

Professor Deborah Bunker is the inaugural chief science officer at the Natural Hazards Research Australia

The role, and her background in information management and systems research, is critical to encouraging collaboration instead of competition across the natural hazard sector, the group said. 

The research centre is a government and privately funded initiative with partners including the Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology, several state governments and their respective emergency services and environmental departments, nonprofits such as the Australian Red Cross, and representative bodies such as Energy Networks Australia

Interestingly KPMG is also a partner – showing the rising awareness among the big consulting firms of the importance of climate risk among its clients.

Chief executive officer Andrew Gissing, who joined the research centre in July in the Sydney office, said Professor Bunker was chosen by the centre’s board to work closely with the executive leadership team, staff and research partners to help develop research that meets the needs of partners and communities, and drive the centre’s future direction, portfolio and programs.

Andrew Gissing is chief executive officer of Natural Hazards Research Australia

Mr Gissing said Dr Bunker’s experience would help ensure strong research “targeted to make a difference for communities.

Professor Bunker emphasised the importance of collaboration in risk mitigation when she said: “Practitioners, the community and researchers are able to combine their experiences and knowledge to develop and implement powerful solutions to what seem like intractable problems.”

In another appointment showing the growing appetite for sustainability in the professional world, Kelsie Armstrong joined financial services firm Morningstar as a senior sustainability implementation specialist. 

And Julia Christensen has joined the City of Cockburn as a sustainability and climate change coordinator, which she says she’s very pleased about. 

The seaside Western Australian local government area, just outside Perth, has plenty of plans in store for environmental plans for sustainability, water conservation, climate change, emissions reduction and natural area management. 

This includes a grants program for local projects – including funding for greening roadside curbs and nature corridors, which if you’ve been paying attention you know we’re obsessed with (we have an ebook on the topic coming out soon: make sure you’re signed up to our newsletter to get notified when it’s released!). 

The idyllic City of Cockburn in WA is implementing a number of sustainability initiatives – including hiring a sustainability and climate change coordinator.

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