Research leader

Lawson Cole Research Leader

Research team

Stephen Dovers
Prof Stephen Dovers Research Team
Michael Eburn
A/Prof Michael Eburn Research Team

End User representatives

Stuart Ellis
Stuart Ellis End-User

This research project was completed using funding from the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC's Tactical Research Fund. Find out more about the Fund.

Natural disasters and emergencies in Australia have been followed by formal, complex, post-event inquiries and reviews literally hundreds of times. These inquires vary in form and focus, however, their common objective is to identify the causes of disasters and their consequences and to identify better future practices. 

The outcomes of major inquiries in one jurisdiction sometimes have ramifications and lead to  reform  action  in  other  states  and  territories.  While  this  may  be  true  of  larger,  higher profile  events  and  inquiries,  there  is  a  foregone  opportunity  if  the  same  process  is  not systematically undertaken for the outcomes of less prominent reviews and inquiries. 

Commissioned by AFAC, the purpose of this project was to generate a high level and comprehensive description of the major recurrent categories of recommendations across multiple post-event reviews conducted since 2009.  The  negative  hypothesis tested,  provided  to  the  review team, was:

‘There  are  no  common  themes  to  be  identified  when  comparing  and contrasting  major  post-incident  reviews  of  emergency  incidents,  and  the outcomes of those incidents and consequent recommendations turn on their own particular facts.’ 

In testing this hypothesis, the project sought to understand whether there is ongoing value for state and territory emergency services to consider the lessons from major reviews and inquiries  from  other  jurisdictions  within  their  own  context,  or  whether  lessons  are  too specific and lack broader import. 

A core element of this project was the development of a comprehensive and user-friendly database  of  recommendations  from  post-event  reviews  and  inquiries  that  can  inform agencies own lessons identification practise now and into the future. 

Year Type Citation
2018 Conference Paper Bates, J. Research proceedings from the 2018 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2017 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2017 Report Cole, L., Dovers, S., Eburn, M. & Gough, M. Major post-event inquiries and reviews: review of recommendations. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
Restorative inquiries and natural disasters
18 Sep 2018
The Policies, Institutions and Governance (PIGs) in Natural Disasters project recommended finding a new way...