Timothy McNaught

Timothy McNaught

Lead end user

The 2015 Productivity Commission’s report on natural disaster funding arrangements in Australia found that governments overinvest in post-disaster reconstruction and underinvest in mitigation activities that would limit the impact of natural disasters. Given the multitude of natural hazards that require mitigation and response from government agencies and the tighter budgets at both state and national levels, natural hazards managers are increasingly under pressure to justify the use and allocation of resources for mitigation efforts.
Research team:

What if an earthquake hit central Adelaide? A major flood on the Yarra River through Melbourne? A bushfire on the slopes of Mount Wellington over Hobart?

‘What if?’ scenario modelling through this project is helping government, planning authorities and emergency service agencies think through the costs and consequences of various options on preparing for major disasters on their infrastructure and natural environments and how these might change into the future.

The research is based on the premise that to reduce both the risk and cost of natural disasters, an integrated approach is needed to consider multiple hazards and a range of mitigation options.

Understanding the economic resilience of disaster-hit communities can help build more sustainable natural disaster recovery models that direct funding towards the most vulnerable individuals and groups. This is important because the immediate focus in the wake of natural hazards is typically placed on the emergency response, and it takes time to realise the economic effects of the disasters. This research project combines real life case studies, confidential ABS Longitudinal Census data, advanced disaster mapping, and empirical economic modelling to illustrate how recent natural disasters have impacted and rippled through communities and the broader economy over time. By exploring both sector-disaggregated and demographic-specific impacts, it helps policymakers better understand the socioeconomics of natural disasters and formulate public policies in a way that better distributes scarce budgets and resources towards vulnerable socio-economic groups and sectors of employment. This will help overcome the lack of estimates of the full economic impact of natural hazards covering all the affected sectors of the economy.
Research team:

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