Perth Cities Project to find out the what, where and who of natural hazards
25 July 2001
The Perth Cities Project, which aims to provide better information about the natural hazards that pose a risk to the Perth community, was launched by Julie Bishop MP on behalf of the Federal Government today.
The project is a collaborative venture between the Australian Geological Survey Organisation (AGSO), the Western Australian Fire and Emergency Services Authority, the WA Ministry of Planning, and the Bureau of Meteorology, as well as with researchers in CSIRO, academic centres, and several private sector agencies.
"Natural hazards in Australia are estimated to cost $1.25 billion annually on average. The costs of individual hazards can be much greater though - for example, the 1989 Newcastle earthquake cost the community an estimated $4.5 billion," Ms Bishop said.
"These hazards include earthquakes, landslides, floods, storm surge, severe winds, bushfires, and tsunamis. They can cause loss of life and produce damage to buildings and to water, power, transport, and communication services. They can seriously affect employment, industry, commerce, and public administration."
"While natural hazards cannot be prevented, governments can reduce disasters by identifying the potential risk from hazards; finding out which areas are most vulnerable; and recommending disaster-mitigation measures, including the improvement of building codes. "
"This is what AGSO's Cities Project is all about. It helps to identify the what, where and who of hazard impact and consequently helps us to make our communities more sustainable and prosperous.
"It has also led to the development of new Geographic Information System tools and hazard models that are at the cutting edge in terms of their use of modern Information Technology," she said.
Established in 1996 as part of Australia's contribution to the 1990s International Decade for Natural Disaster eduction, AGSO's Cities Project has already had a major impact on the east coast of Australia. Ms Bishop said risk assessments undertaken in Cairns and Mackay were very
well received and have helped state and local planners and people involved in emergency management to develop effective and efficient risk management strategies.
The Perth Cities Project will produce information about the areas likely to be affected by each hazard, the likely magnitude of the hazard in affected areas, expected damage levels to buildings and infrastructure, and predictions of the flow-on effects to food, goods, and energy distribution.
The launch will take place on Wednesday 25 July 2001 at 8am at the City West Functions Centre, West Perth.
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