International Journal of Wildland Fire International Journal of Wildland Fire Society
Journal of the International Association of Wildland Fire
RESEARCH FRONT

Exposing hidden-value trade-offs: sharing wildfire management responsibility between government and citizens

Blythe McLennan A and Michael Eburn B C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A Centre for Risk and Community Safety, School of Mathematical & Geospatial Sciences, RMIT University, GPO Box 2476, Melbourne, VIC 3001, Australia.

B ANU College of Law, Building 5, Fellows Road, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: michael.eburn@anu.edu.au

International Journal of Wildland Fire 24(2) 162-169 https://doi.org/10.1071/WF12201
Submitted: 29 November 2012  Accepted: 4 February 2014   Published: 29 May 2014

Abstract

Developing resilient communities and sharing responsibility for hazard management is the key to Australia’s ‘National Strategy for Disaster Resilience’. There are, however, a wide range of conflicting views on the appropriate responsibilities of governments, citizens and communities that are not well recognised in the national policy discourse. What the ideas of resilient communities and shared responsibility mean for wildfire management and how these ideas might shape wildfire safety thinking and practice is therefore unclear and contested. This paper makes explicit some of the necessary, but often hidden, trade-offs between competing values that are implicit in assessments of where responsibility for wildfire management lies, and how it should be shared. After describing different ways in which responsibility is attributed and legitimated through legal and governance systems, this paper compares and contrasts potential legal and governance implications of four hypothetical scenarios for wildfire management, each of which portrays a contrasting set of extreme value trade-offs. The underlying purpose of the exercise is to encourage stakeholders to draw on the frameworks to explicitly acknowledge and debate the value trade-offs that are necessary, but most often unacknowledged, in more moderate decision-making about how to share responsibility for risk management between governments and citizens.

Additional keywords: governance, law, resilience, risk management, values.


References

Alford J, O’Flynn J (2009) Making sense of public value: concepts, critiques and emergent meanings. International Journal of Public Administration 32, 171–191.
Making sense of public value: concepts, critiques and emergent meanings.CrossRef |

Amato PR, Ho R, Partridge S (1984) Responsibility attribution and helping behaviour in the Ash Wednesday bushfires. Australian Journal of Psychology 36, 191–203.
Responsibility attribution and helping behaviour in the Ash Wednesday bushfires.CrossRef |

Bickerstaff K, Walker G (2002) Risk, responsibility, and blame: an analysis of vocabularies of motive in air-pollution(ing) discourses. Environment & Planning A 34, 2175–2192.
Risk, responsibility, and blame: an analysis of vocabularies of motive in air-pollution(ing) discourses.CrossRef |

Bickerstaff K, Simmons P, Pidgeon N (2008) Constructing responsibilities for risk: negotiating citizen-state relationships. Environment & Planning A 40, 1312–1330.

Bierhoff HW, Auhagen AE (2001) Responsibility as a fundamental human phenomenon. In ‘Responsibility. The Many Faces of a Social Phenomenon’. (Eds AE Auhagen, H Bierhoff) pp. 1–8. (Routledge: London)

Birnbacher D (2001) Philosophical foundations of responsibility. In ‘Responsibility. The Many Faces of a Social Phenomenon’. (Eds AE Auhagen, HW Bierhof) pp. 9–22. (Routledge: London)

Bulkeley H (2001) Governing climate change: the politics of risk society? Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 26, 430–447.
Governing climate change: the politics of risk society?CrossRef |

Cane P (2002) ‘Responsibility in Law and Morality.’ (Hart: Portland, OR)

Cerutti F (2010) Defining risk, motivating responsibility and rethinking global warming. Science and Engineering Ethics 16, 489–499.
Defining risk, motivating responsibility and rethinking global warming.CrossRef | 19798589PubMed |

COAG (2011) National strategy for disaster resilience: building our nation’s resilience to disasters. (Council of Australian Governments: Canberra, ACT)

De Marchi B (2003) Public participation and risk governance. Science & Public Policy 30, 171–176.
Public participation and risk governance.CrossRef |

De Marchi B, Ravetz JR (1999) Risk management and governance: a post-normal science approach. Futures 31, 743–757.
Risk management and governance: a post-normal science approach.CrossRef |

FSCV (2012) Review of the bushfire safety policy framework: summary of findings. (Fire Services Commissioner Victoria: Melbourne). Available at http://www.firecommissioner.vic.gov.au/policies/bushfire-safety-policy-framework/ [Verified 8 October 2012]

Gunder M, Hillier J (2007) Problematising responsibility in planning theory and practice: on seeing the middle of the string? Progress in Planning 68, 57–96.
Problematising responsibility in planning theory and practice: on seeing the middle of the string?CrossRef |

Halpin D, Guilfoyle A (2004) Attributions of responsibility: rural neoliberalism and farmers’ explanations of the Australian rural crisis. Rural Society 14, 93–111.
Attributions of responsibility: rural neoliberalism and farmers’ explanations of the Australian rural crisis.CrossRef |

Macintosh A, Foerster A, McDonald J (2013) Limp, leap or learn? Developing legal frameworks for climate change adaptation planning in Australia. (National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility: Gold Coast) Available at http://www.nccarf.edu.au/publications/limp-leap-or-learn [Verified 3 March 2014]

McLennan BJ, Handmer J (2012a) Windows on responsibility-sharing challenges: a multi-theory analysis of public submissions to the 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission. (RMIT University & Bushfire Cooperative Research Centre: Melbourne)

McLennan BJ, Handmer J (2012b) Reframing responsibility-sharing for bushfire risk management in Australia after Black Saturday. Environmental Hazards 11, 1–15.
Reframing responsibility-sharing for bushfire risk management in Australia after Black Saturday.CrossRef |

New B (1999) Paternalism and public policy. Economics and Philosophy 15, 63–83.
Paternalism and public policy.CrossRef |

O’Flynn J (2007) From new public management to public value: paradigmatic change and managerial implications. Australian Journal of Public Administration 66, 353–366.
From new public management to public value: paradigmatic change and managerial implications.CrossRef |

Ostrom E (1990) ‘Governing the Commons: The Evolution of Institutions for Collective Action.’ (Cambridge University Press: New York)

Ostrom E (2010) Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change. Global Environmental Change 20, 550–557.
Polycentric systems for coping with collective action and global environmental change.CrossRef |

Patterson O, Weil F, Patel K (2010) The role of community in disaster response: conceptual models. Population Research and Policy Review 29, 127–141.
The role of community in disaster response: conceptual models.CrossRef |

Pearce DC, Geddes RS (2011) ‘Statutory Interpretation in Australia.’ (Lexis/Nexis: Sydney)

Pellizzoni L (2004) Responsibility and environmental governance. Environmental Politics 13, 541–565.
Responsibility and environmental governance.CrossRef |

Renn O (2008) ‘Risk Governance: Coping with Uncertainty in a Complex World.’ (Earthscan: London)

Renn O, Klinke A, van Asselt M (2011) Coping with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity in risk governance: a synthesis. Ambio 40, 231–246.
Coping with complexity, uncertainty and ambiguity in risk governance: a synthesis.CrossRef | 1:CAS:528:DC%2BC3MXhsVSmtro%3D&md5=6d4e922f3a34bf45da3321ccdb7f7ab0CAS | 21446401PubMed |

Schneider S (2008) Who’s to blame? (Mis)perceptions of the intergovernmental response to disasters. Publius 38, 715–738.

Slovic P (1999) Trust, emotion, sex, politics, and science: surveying the risk-assessment battlefield. Risk Analysis 19, 689–701.
Trust, emotion, sex, politics, and science: surveying the risk-assessment battlefield.CrossRef | 1:STN:280:DC%2BD3c3ivVagtw%3D%3D&md5=0512224f64c293d7308bf9d9bd8c87e5CAS | 10765431PubMed |

Tadros V (2008) The scope and the grounds of responsibility. New Criminal Law Review 11, 91–118.

Thaler RH, Sunstein CR (2008) ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness.’ (Yale University Press: New Haven, CT)

Tierney K (2012) Disaster governance: social, political, and economic dimensions. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 37, 341–363.
Disaster governance: social, political, and economic dimensions.CrossRef |

Welsh M (2014) Resilience and responsibility: governing uncertainty in a complex world. The Geographical Journal 180, 15–26.
Resilience and responsibility: governing uncertainty in a complex world.CrossRef |

Wolf J, Adger WN, Lorenzoni I, Abrahamson V, Raine R (2010) Social capital, individual responses to heat waves and climate change adaptation: an empirical study of two UK cities. Global Environmental Change 20, 44–52.
Social capital, individual responses to heat waves and climate change adaptation: an empirical study of two UK cities.CrossRef |


Full Text PDF (217 KB) Export Citation

View Altmetrics