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17-20 August 2021 | International Convention Centre, Sydney 

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Call for abstracts





Connecting communities. Creating resilience.


The emergency management sector is in a unique position to connect diverse communities. Through collaboration, engagement and partnerships, links are formed which bind us together. These links are enabled by technology and infrastructure that facilitate networks that are not limited by space, distance or time.

Through building connections, we are learning and working together to prepare for new challenges we face in a changing climate. We are sharing responsibility and are building resilience in ourselves, our workplaces, our communities and the systems that support us.

AFAC20 will explore how an inclusive approach across emergency management agencies, is integral to reducing risk and fostering resilience now and into the future.

AFAC20 supporting topics


Our communities are unique and diverse. Connections can be made and facilitated locally, regionally and globally. In many ways, communities are more connected than ever through enhanced communications and technology. However, 1 in 4 Australians report that they are lonely. Being connected to others is thought to be the most important factor influencing a person’s resilience and recovery from an emergency. 

What brings communities together? How can we better link and work with established networks? How can we engage with people who are not as connected with others?

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include:

  • Community engagement
  • Effecting behaviour change – communities taking action to prepare
  • Diversity and inclusion
  • Health and wellbeing
  • Community led initiatives
  • Local government
  • Personal resilience
  • Social capital
  • Addressing vulnerability
  • Response and recovery


Our physical environment impacts us each day. From the buildings we live and work in, to the infrastructure that supports us. Australia’s population grows by approximately 400,000 people annually – a new Canberra every year.  This can strain existing services and infrastructure and provides challenges and opportunities for land use planning and urban development.

What factors impact on our physical environment? What do we need to consider when planning the buildings and infrastructure of the future? What are the risks we face with a rapidly growing population?

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include:

  • Building for the future
  • Cladding and non-confirming building product
  • Shaping resilient neighbourhoods
  • Community safety
  • Land use planning and development
  • Public places and social infrastructure
  • Risks in the urban environment


Our climate is experiencing unprecedented change, resulting in more extreme and more frequent weather events that impact communities and livelihoods. This impacts on planning and resourcing, when seasons get longer and begin to overlap across jurisdictions.

How can we be more resilient in the face of a changing climate? How does the environment impact on us and our planning for the future? How can we learn from others about managing the land to mitigate risk?

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include:

  • Climate change/climate risk
  • Sustainable practice in emergency services  
  • Drought
  • Health impacts of disasters  
  • Economic impacts of disasters
  • Indigenous land management
  • Prescribed burning
  • Operational resource sharing


Our people are our greatest asset. Fostering an inclusive and respectful culture is important, as well as ensuring the safety and wellbeing of our workforce. As our communities’ change, needs and expectations change, and organisations need to be flexible and adaptable.

How can organisations manage workforces into the future? How does a sector that relies on volunteers maintain that capability and meet community expectations? How can we better collaborate and learn together to provide a better service to the communities we serve?

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include:

  • Sustainable volunteer models - recruitment and retention, career and volunteer
  • Fatigue management
  • Workforce health and wellbeing
  • Learning and development
  • Lessons management
  • Workforce management
  • Partnerships and cross-sector approaches

Technology and Innovation

Technology is critical to supporting our systems and service delivery. We rely on technology to process data, forecast and time-critical information. We are increasingly using new technology to assist learning and development through simulation and virtual reality.

How can we better utilise data? What impact does technology have on our people and our systems? What happens when the technology fails?

Abstracts submitted under this topic could include:

  • Innovation in emergency management
  • Managing data
  • Innovation and technology
  • Managing risk
  • Systems / tools
  • Insurance – the impact of data and future predictions
  • Virtual reality
  • Partnering with the private sector

AFAC20 Selection Process

Abstract submissions for AFAC20 are open to all, including career staff, volunteers, researchers and academics, industry, community and all levels of government. The submission and selection process is as follows.

Please ensure that you have an approval & support from your agency before submitting an abstract.

STAGE 1: Authors are invited to lodge a personal submission, a submission on a colleague's behalf, or a submission on behalf of their organisation, addressing the relevant theme and topics. An author can submit multiple Abstracts for consideration by the conference committee. 

Submissions open on 2 December 2019 and require written responses and attachments for the Research Forum which can be uploaded via the online submission system. For any questions, please contact the team.

STAGE 2: Submissions must be lodged online and completed by Friday, 28 February 2020

STAGE 3: Submissions will be reviewed by the Program Committee who will assess each submission. The committee will score each submission based on its relevance to the overall conference theme and the topic being addressed.

STAGE 4: Submissions are assessed and shortlisted, and the final oral presenters selected by the Program Committee in the first week of March 2020, and will be endorsed by the Steering Committee by the end of March 2020.

STAGE 5: Authors who have been successful in being granted an oral presentation and/or poster presentation will be notified by the end of March..

STAGE 6: Authors must accept their offer by 17 April 2020. Following the acceptance of the offer, speakers agree to register to attend the conference and provide the following:

Oral presentation

AFAC and ADRC Program

  • a 2000 word paper by 3 July 2020


Research Forum

  • Every CRC funded project that has an abstract accepted for the Research Forum or any other part of the AFAC conference will submit a 3000 word paper, excluding references, for peer review by 15 May 2020. 




  • Abstracts for non CRC funded research will submit an extended abstract of 2000 words by 3 July 2020.

Poster presentation

  • Authors commit to registering to attend the conference and providing a PDF copy of their poster to by 3 July 2020


Australian Journal of Emergency Management:

  • Authors may select to have their paper submitted for consideration in the conference focused edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management (AJEM).
  • Authors who wish to have their paper considered for AJEM News and Views section will submit a 1500 word paper by 15 May 2020 for consideration by the AJEM Editorial Committee.
  • Authors who wish to have their paper considered for AJEM Peer Review section will submit a 3000 word paper by 15 May 2020 for consideration by the AJEM Editorial Committee.
  • If a paper submitted for AJEM is not accepted for publication in AJEM, that paper will be published as part of the conference proceedings

Speaker registration

  • Speaker registration 3 Day  |  $1,450 + GST
  • Speaker registration 2 Day  |  $1,050 + GST
  • Speaker registration 1 Day  |  $540 + GST


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