Kate Cotter

Kate Cotter

Kate Cotter

Chief Executive Officer | Bushfire Building Council of Australia

Kate Cotter established the Bushfire Building Council of Australia (BBCA) in 2015 to reduce the impacts of bushfire disasters on communities by strengthening the built environment.  Applying a systems based approach to risk mitigation, the BBCA provides independent expertise for governments, industry and communities regarding; public safety policy, building design, legacy property upgrades, community-wide preparedness, new building standards, resilience certification and financing.

The BBCA is an independent, not-for-profit network of; bushfire research scientists, architects, land use planners, engineers, firefighters and public safety policy experts.

Prior to establishing the BBCA, Kate successfully advocated on behalf of bushfire prone communities for planning policy reform after regulatory failure led to land sterilisation and poor safety outcomes.

Kate holds an MBA (Executive) from RMIT.


Community & Property Bushfire Resilience Star Rating Project – a certification system to enable financing for equitable disaster resilience.

110 years of bushfire life and building loss data (CSIRO, 2012) has led to improved planning and building regulations for new developments.  However, buildings built to bushfire building standards are the minority of homes in high bushfire risk communities; Black Saturday 2009: 5.4% of 2,131 buildings surveyed, Wye River 2015: 14% of buildings in the fire footprint

The Bushfire Resilience Star Rating is a best-practice certification system for bushfire resilience, which can be applied to any building; old, new, public or private.  Financial beneficiaries of improved resilience, such as; governments, insurers, mortgage holders and investors can identify resilient assets to generate profit, thus creating opportunities to fund retro-fitting and whole of community preparedness measures.

Presenting our research results and cost-benefit analysis, we discuss a new approach for engaging and empowering all residents in high risk communities.  Natural market incentives and government incentives can drive bushfire adaption and provide positive return on investment based on historical bushfire return periods, and even greater return on investment for increased bushfire impacts due to climate change.