The current bushfire crisis that is impacting large parts of Australia has devastated individuals and communities. The Australian Government is taking action on this significant public health problem.
The medium-term health effects of the recent bushfires will be studied under two major research streams commissioned by the Government.
The Government will provide $5 million in total from the Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF) under an open and competitive grant round.
- $3 million for research into the physiological impacts of prolonged bushfire smoke exposure.
- $2 million for research into the mental health impacts of bushfires on affected communities.
This research will collect information on the biological, psychological and behavioural impacts of prolonged exposure to bushfire smoke.
The data and evidence gathered will help to understand the lived experiences and coping strategies of people and communities heavily affected by bushfires.
Measures undertaken to reduce exposure to smoke and the effectiveness of the exposure reduction methods will also be studied.
Outcomes of this research will support the development of individual and community resilience strategies into bush fire preparedness planning.
It will also inform policies for preparing and responding to future bushfire events.
The mental health research funding will support long term tracking of individuals, communities, and in particular emergency service personal who have been in the fire effected areas.
This announcement follows the Government’s comprehensive $76 million mental health support package for those impacted by the current bushfire disaster.
The grant round will open Friday, 17 January 2020 and closes Friday, 31 January 2020.