Dr Barnes is a research fellow in disaster resilience and coordinates UNSW’s Resilient Futures Collective. He has more than 25 years experience in government service and in academic in the fields of emergency and operational risk management.
He was the inaugural manager of the State Community Safety Unit of the Queensland Fire & Rescue Authority (QFRA) where he coordinated policy support on emergency response planning and oversaw the provision of legislative support for regulatory fire safety and fire prevention. During this period, he chaired the National Community Education Sub-Group of the Australasian Fire Authorities Council.
He led the infrastructure research program within the Centre for Emergency & Disaster Management (CEDM) at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) and was an active researcher in risk and crisis management issues. This included serving as co-lead researcher: Emergency Management Capability Cluster & Chief Investigator: Capability Needs for Emergency & Disaster Management Organisations Project – Bushfire & Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre. (BNHCRC) (2014–15).
Before joining UNSW, he led the risk and resilience program at Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), Canberra, from 2015 to 2020. While at ASPI, he wrote extensively and advised on disaster and resilience building issues.