ACEFA Conference 2021

The Australian Community Engagement and Fire Awareness (ACEFA) Conference is an event hosted by the NSW Rural Fire Service. The event is designed to bring together Community Engagement practitioners from emergency services, government and private sectors with the aim of sharing knowledge, experiences and best practice in engaging with our communities to improve community safety and to build community resilience.

ACEFA Conference 2021

The 20th Australian Community Engagement and Fire Awareness Conference will be held from Friday 23 – Sunday 25 July 2021 at the Newcastle Exhibition and Conference Centre (NEX).

ACEFA 2021 Program Released

We are excited to release the program for the Australian Community Engagement and Fire Awareness Conference 2021.

Beyond Black Summer

The fire season on 2019/2020 changed the landscape of NSW. Communities have been hit hard and are still recovering from unpredictable and unheard-of experiences. Many members of the NSW RFS led the community through ferocious and unpredictable times and within local areas, community leaders stepped up to new levels of responsibility.

In this Conference we will hear the stories of resilience, hardship and community spirit that shone through during Black Summer and beyond. We will also learn about the innovation and new perspectives that grew out of the long fire season of 2019/2020.

This year we will focus on the following streams:

Thorny Conundrums and Local Solutions

Research and experience tells us that local solutions can be the best solutions. Every community has unique values, qualities and strengths. Equally, effectively engaging with communities can be uniquely challenging.

In this stream you will hear from community engagement practitioners on the front line who are uncovering innovative local solutions.

New directions

Black Summer saw unprecedented numbers of people impacted by bush fire. In this stream we will examine new approaches and fresh perspectives on community engagement which have arisen since Black Summer.

Understanding the Human Dimensions of bush fire risk

The level and type of risk to bush fire underscores much of the work of community engagement.

Understanding the nature and social landscape of local communities allows emergency services to better manage risk in the physical and social environment.

This stream will introduce you to the Next Generation risk planning process which is being rolled out in NSW RFS in 2021 and help you understand the significant role of community engagement staff and volunteers.

Community Engagement Masterclasses

Learn and experience practical community engagement skills delivered by experts in the field. Get introduced to the latest Community Engagement programs and activities and learn the skillsets you need in the field.

  • Simon Marnie, ABC Radio
  • Todd Sampson, host of Redesign my Brain
  • Chief Superintendent Karen Hodges, Incident Controller Gospers Mountain Fire
  • Firefighter Nathan Barnden, Jellat Brigade
  • Inspector Kelwyn White, South East Area Command
  • Rosedale Association spokesperson
  • Renee Cooper​, Nymboida Public School
  • Michelle Villeneuve, found of Leave Nobody Behind Project, The University of Sydney
  • Dr Briony Towers, Founder and Co-director, LEADRRR
  • Amanda Leck, Executive Director, AIDR
  • John Gilbert, Country Fire Authority and Dr Ken Strahan, Strahan Research

To view the conference program and for more information about the conference go here.
Please note the program is subject to change. 

ACEFA 2021 Online Conference

In coming days, we will also open registrations for the ACEFA 2021 Online Conference. Sessions from ACEFA 2021 will be available at the online conference including keynote addresses and many of the stream sessions.

Stay tuned!

The ACEFA Conference is proudly sponsored by the NSW Rural Fire Service Association (NSW RFSA) and the City of Newcastle.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Click here to read the FAQs.