Research leader

Melissa Parsons
Dr Melissa Parsons Research Leader

Research team

Dr Sonya Glavac Research Team
Associate Professor Graham Marshall
A/Prof Graham Marshall Research Team
Dr James McGregor Research Team
Dr Richard Stayner Research Team
Dr Peter Hastings
Dr Peter Hastings Research Team
Ian Reeve
Dr Ian Reeve Research Team
Judith McNeill
Dr Judith McNeill Research Team

End User representatives

Suellen Flint
Suellen Flint End-User
Trent Curtin End-User
Karen Enbom
Karen Enbom End-User
Gwynne Brennan
Gwynne Brennan End-User
Tony Jarrett End-User
Paul Fletcher End-User
Andrew Richards
Andrew Richards End-User
Chris Lewis End-User
Holly Foster
Holly Foster End-User
Sandra Barber
Sandra Barber End-User
Tamara Beckett End-User
Colleen Ridge
Colleen Ridge End-User

Resilience is the capacity of individuals and communities to cope with disturbances or changes and to maintain adaptive behaviours. Australia’s National Strategy for Disaster Resilience (NSDR) takes an internationally progressive approach in the application of a disaster resilience paradigm. This strategy gives communities greater options and diversity in managing natural hazards, and places natural hazard preparation, prevention, response and recovery in the context of societies learning from and adapting to change.

The NSDR recognises four characteristics of disaster resilient communities: 1) they function well while under stress 2) they adapt successfully 3) they are self-reliant and 4) they have strong social capacity. Building these characteristics of disaster-resilient communities is seen as a shared responsibility among individuals, households, businesses, governments and communities. Yet how could progress towards the development of these characteristics be assessed? Where are the areas of high and low disaster resilience in Australia? How could investments to develop disaster resilience be prioritised, evaluated and reported?

This project is developing an index of the current state of disaster resilience in Australian communities – the Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index.

The Index is a tool for assessing the resilience of communities to natural hazards at a large scale and is designed to provide input into macro-level policy, strategic planning and community engagement activities at national, state and local government levels.

First, it is a snapshot of the current state of natural hazard resilience at a national scale. Second, it is a layer of information for use in strategic policy development and planning. Third, it provides a benchmark against which to assess future change in resilience to natural hazards. Understanding resilience strengths and weaknesses will help communities, governments and organisations to build the capacities needed for living with natural hazards.

Deliverables will include development of disaster resilience indicators, maps of disaster resilience at multiples scales, a State of Disaster Resilience Report, and examples that use the Index in a natural hazard resilience planning context.

The Index has application across local (e.g. local emergency management committees, local councils), state (e.g. emergency service organisations) and national (e.g. Attorney-General’s Department, Red Cross, ANZEMC, AFAC) levels.

The project team is working with end-users to align the results and outputs from the Index with agency policy and programs. The researchers will work with agencies to develop fact sheets that agencies can use in community profiling and community engagement tools. The Index results can also be included in risk assessments. The maps provide quantitative spatial information about resilience for community planning and community engagement activities.

Year Type Citation
2018 Journal Article Parsons, M. & Thoms, M. From academic to applied: operationalising resilience in river systems. Geomorphology 305, 242-251 (2018).
2017 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2017 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Conference Paper Parsons, M. & Lykins, A. Cultural worldviews and natural hazard risk perception: a pilot study of Australian adults. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Conference Paper Parsons, M. et al. The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: assessing Australia's disaster resilience at a national scale. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Report Parsons, M. et al. The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Journal Article Parsons, M. et al. Top-down assessment of disaster resilience: A conceptual framework using coping and adaptive capacities. International Journal of Disaster Risk Reduction 19, (2016).
2016 Report Parsons, M. et al. The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Overview of Indicators. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Report Parsons, M. et al. The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Report Parsons, M. et al. The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Conceptual framework and indicator approach. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Report Morley, P. et al. The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Report Morley, P. & Parsons, M. The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index Annual Report 2014. (2015).
The Australian natural disaster resilience index: A system for assessing the resilience of Australian communities to natural hazards
25 Aug 2014
Resilient communities will be better able to anticipate hazards, withstand adversity, reduce losses and adapt...
The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index: Assessing the Resilience of Australian Communities to Natural Hazards
18 Aug 2015
Resilient communities are better able to anticipate hazards, withstand adversity, reduce losses and recover...
Melissa Parsons Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016
The Australian natural disaster resilience index (ANDRI) will assess the state of disaster resilience in...
The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index
30 Jun 2017
Australia faces increasing losses from natural hazard events. Resilient communities will be better able to...
Virtually Resolute: Influencing Decision-Making to Promote Mental Health and Reduce Flood Driving
18 Sep 2018
Flood driving fatalities are on the rise despite appeals to the general public. While much is known about the...
The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index
19 Sep 2018
The Australian Natural Disaster Resilience Index will assess and report the resilience of Australian...