Reducing the cost of natural hazards in Perth

8 June 2005

Cover of Cities Project Perth report: Natural hazard risk in Perth, WA. © Geoscience Australia.

Cover of Cities Project Perth report:
Natural hazard risk in Perth, WA.
© Geoscience Australia

While the world recovers from the worst natural disaster to strike our region in modern history, a positive step has been taken in Australia's fourth largest city revealing how to reduce the impact of natural hazards on its community - Perth.

Releasing the report, Natural hazard risk in Perth, Western Australia, Federal Industry Parliamentary Secretary Warren Entsch, said it was the most comprehensive natural hazard risk assessment ever undertaken of any city in Australia.

Produced by Geoscience Australia in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology and Western Australian state and local agencies, the report assesses the possibility of natural hazards such as flood, severe wind, coastal erosion, earthquake and tsunami, affecting Perth in the future and recommends a number of strategies to minimise the damage from them.

"We can't prevent natural hazards from taking place, but we can be better prepared for them," Mr Entsch said. "The results from this four-year government project will be of great assistance to local and regional emergency managers in the recovery process should a natural disaster occur in the future.

"For example, the severe wind storm that hit Bunbury and Perth recently, with winds up to 142kph, cost around $25m in insurance losses alone. The findings in this report provide evidence that more appropriate application of the building code in exposed areas would be expected to reduce such costs in future," said Mr Entsch.

The study area covering greater metropolitan Perth includes eight different virtual flood scenarios that could affect the Swan River and its tributaries and also highlights the earthquake hazard for communities up to 200 kilometres from Perth.

The whole-of-government project also investigated socio-economic factors that affect the capacity of Perth citizens to recover from natural disasters, and found Perths strong community network to be a positive source of support in managing recovery from natural disasters.

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