Natural Hazards in Australia Report

Analysing the risk of natural hazards is a vital step in reducing the loss and suffering to Australian's caused by natural disasters. The report Natural Hazards in Australia: Identifying Risk Analysis Requirements provides a centralised source of information on the process involved in analysing natural hazard risk, with a particular focus on likelihood and consequence, as well as highlighting the gaps in information required to more rigorously analyse risk.

The report focuses on rapid-onset natural hazards, including tropical cyclone, flood, severe storm, bushfire, landslide, earthquake and tsunami.

About the report

The chapters at the beginning of the report highlight the impact of natural disasters in Australia and introduce the concept of risk. These chapters emphasise the importance in being able to analyse risk and provide baseline information for each hazard chapter. The report also examines:

  • the economic and social impact of natural disasters
  • the distribution of natural hazards in Australia
  • the role that human activities play in creating and mitigating disasters.

The report highlights the benefits of a long-term data collection system and explains how integral it is to the risk assessment process.

Information gaps that restrict the ability to analyse risk more rigorously for each hazard are also highlighted and common themes that emerge include the need for ongoing research:

  • into the vulnerability of buildings and infrastructure to natural hazards
  • the potential impacts of climate change.

An overview of the roles and responsibilities at all levels of government, as well as industry, coordinating groups, professional bodies and research institutions is outlined for each hazard. In addition, the role of the courts, legal institutions, property developers, the media, and the general community is also explained where relevant.

The report emphasises the benefits in close links between policy makers, researchers, practitioners and the community in improving community resilience and reducing risk.

Who should read the report?

This report is of value to those who have an interest in, or a responsibility for, the management of natural hazards and the reduction of their impacts. This may include policy makers, emergency managers, land use planners, researchers and members of the general community.

Benefits to the reader

The report raises awareness of natural hazards in Australia and provides information to enable better prepared communities. Accurately modelling the likely impacts of natural hazards provides decision makers with the tools to make more informed decisions in reducing the impact of natural hazards. This report represents a significant step towards the development of systematic and rigorous risk assessments, and in providing guidance on areas in need of further research.

A Collaborative Effort

Natural Hazards in Australia was developed in response to recommendations made by the Council of Australian Governments to develop systematic and rigorous risk assessments and establish a nationally consistent system of data collection, research and analysis (COAG 2004). The report contributes to the National Risk Assessment Framework prepared by all levels of government, which identified the need to produce consistent information on risk, so that risks can be compared for different locations and for different hazards.

Geoscience Australia worked closely with the then Department of Transport and Regional Services, the Bureau of Meteorology External site link and CSIRO External site link in the report's development. Contributions were sought from a range of technical experts and jurisdictional representatives to ensure a report of relevance for emergency managers, policy officers and other decision makers involved in the management of natural hazards was developed.


Topic contact: Last updated: July 10, 2013