I've been told that the reason the grant was rejected was that, "as the VIC Emergency Services do not yet have a Social Media Policy, they did not 'feel comfortable with' being seen to 'endorse' Emergency Management Social Media projects by providing them with grants."
All three social media projects vying for a grant were rejected.
Reportedly, they are still working to get their heads around the use of social media in emergency management.
I wonder how many other social media initiatives across Australia have been knocked back due to government officials (at any level) not yet having their heads around the area as yet.
BushfireConnect was established in May 2010 and has been run by volunteers with no formal support from government.
They are currently seeking volunteers to help manage the service once the official bushfire season starts on 1 October.
As they said about the grant result,
We could probably spend hours chewing the fat on the why and the how, but this is the landscape we're all working in. In the mean time, the fire season is starting as early as September this year, so we have stuff to do :) Hopefully we can get sufficient traction this season so that we cannot be ignored in the future.To learn more, watch the video below of Maurits van der Vlugt, one of the founders, speaking about Bushfire Connect and emergency management assisted by social media at Ignite Sydney 6.
Below this are Maurits's slides from an earlier conference (which seem to be very similar to those used for Ignite).