Volume 19 Issue 4, 2004

Government communication strategies for community recovery following the ACT Bushfires, January 2003

Annabel Beckenham, Dr Susan Nicholls

Peer-reviewed Article

Archived Article


On 18 January, 2003, a bushfire that swept over the ACT was responsible for four deaths and destroyed large areas of rural and suburban ACT, including more than 500 homes and other buildings. From the evening of 18 January, the ACT Government undertook an extensive response and recovery effort. A major part of this was to establish, maintain and improve communication between the ACT Government and the affected community to support recovery needs. This project, focusing on the recovery phase following the bushfire, examines a unique episode in government-community communication. It attempts to describe and evaluate the effectiveness of the ACT Government’s communication initiatives, and proposes a preliminary model for government community recovery communication.