Research leader

Holger Maier
Prof Holger Maier Research Leader

End User representatives

Ed Pikusa End-Users
Alen Slijepcevic
Alen Slijepcevic End-Users
Murray Carter End-Users
Rolf Fenner End-Users
Liz Connell
Liz Connell End-Users
Mal Cronstedt End-Users
Timothy McNaught End-Users
Mike Wouters
Mike Wouters End-Users
Graeme Wynwood End-Users
Liam Fogarty
Liam Fogarty End-Users
Luke Roberts End-Users
Andrew Sanders End-Users
Sandra Whight
Sandra Whight End-Users

Research team

Aaron Zecchin Research Team
Jeff Newman
Jeff Newman Research Team
Graeme Dandy Research Team
Andreas Schafer Research Team
James Daniell Research Team
Roel Vanhout Research Team
Dr Sofanit Araya Research Team

Student researchers

Charles Newland
Charles Newland Student Reseachers
Graeme Riddell
Graeme Riddell Student Reseachers

This project is seeking a 2 year postdoctoral fellow in spatial analysis and modelling working on disaster risk reduction planning. For information and to apply, please click here.

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.

A case study for Adelaide and surrounding regions is now complete, while case studies for Melbourne and surrounding regions, along with Tasmania, are well developed. An additional case study in Western Australia is in the process of being scoped out.

Taking into account future changes in demographics, land use, economics and climate, the modelling will be able to analyse areas of risk both now and into the future, test risk reduction options, identify mitigation portfolios that provide the best outcomes for a given budget, and consider single or multiple types of risk reduction options, such as land use planning, structural measures and community education.

The results for greater Adelaide highlighted the variability in regional risk based on variability of the drivers into the future. They also showed the importance of effective planning of new regional developments to ensure a safer future. It is hoped that more integration of this scenario work can build strategic capacity across agencies in the understanding of future risk.

CRC partners, along with local governments, have been engaged in the entire process, from direction on the hazards to include and feedback on process, to advice on how the modelling will be used when complete and by whom.

The approach taken through this project is the only study that compares different natural hazards and their mitigation options, while also taking into account long term planning. The ultimate aim is to develop a decision support framework and software system that is sufficiently flexible to be applied to large and small cities around Australia, helping planners from local councils through to state treasury departments answer the vital question on mitigation options that balance cost and impact: ‘what is the best option for us?’ Training materials will be developed, along with courses for end-users to enable ongoing use of the system.

This project is an outstanding example of the collaborative process that the CRC is all about, and incorporates findings from other CRC work on recognising non-financial benefits of management and policy for natural hazards, for example, the economic, social and environmental benefits of prescribed burning, the vulnerability of buildings to hazards, such as how they can be made more resilient through cost-effective retro-fitting for improved safety, and the benefits and understanding of community resilience efforts like improved warnings, community engagement, education, volunteering and community resilience.

Year Type Citation
2018 Conference Paper Riddell, G. et al. Applying unharmed for risk reduction planning – comparing strategies and long-term effectiveness. AFAC18 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
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 Conference Paper Riddell, G. et al. Multi-hazard mitigation planning, combining modelling, scenarios and optimisation: results from South Australia. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
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 Journal Article Newman, J. et al. Review of literature on decision support systems for natural hazard risk reduction: current status and future research directions. Environmental Modelling & Software 96, 378-409 (2017).
2017 Report Riddell, G. et al. Futures Greater Adelaide 2050: An exploration of disaster risk and the future. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Report Maier, H. et al. Improved decision support for natural hazard risk reduction: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2016 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2016 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Conference Paper Riddell, G. et al. A spatial decision support system for natural hazard risk reduction policy assessment and planning. AFAC16 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Journal Article Maier, H. et al. An uncertain future, deep uncertainty, scenarios, robustness and adaptation: How do they fit together?. Environmental Modelling & Software 81, 154-164 (2016).
2016 Report Maier, H. et al. Natural hazard mitigation decision support system: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Rumsewicz, M. Research proceedings from the 2015 Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC conference. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC & AFAC annual conference 2015 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Conference Paper Newman, J. et al. A decision support framework for multi-hazard mitigation planning - non peer reviewed extended abstract. Adelaide Conference 2015 (2015).
2015 Conference Paper Newman, J. et al. Integrated Disaster Decision Support System Conference Paper 2014. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014 (2015).
2015 Report Maier, H. et al. Natural hazard mitigation decision support system: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Report Newman, J., Maier, H., van Delden, H., Zecchin, A. & Dandy, G. Natural Hazard Mitigation Decision Support System Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2014 Report Newman, J. et al. Literature Review on Decision Support Systems for Optimising Long-term Natural Hazard Mitigation Policy and Project Portfolios. (2014).
Understanding How Dynamic Exposure Affects Risk by Using a Land Use Model
18 Aug 2015

Building on the evaluation of risk: incorporating the evolution of hazard risk over time with dynamic modelling of exposure.

Key Topics
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Including Land Value in Hazard Mitigation Planning
18 Aug 2015

Land use policies hold the greatest long-term risk reduction potential but are under-utilised.

Hedwig van Delden Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

We have developed a decision support system with potential to transform planning for risk reduction in Australia.

Tomorrow’s disasters - foresight principles, risk assessment and treatment
29 Jun 2017

When plans have an over-reliance on what happened in the past, the risk is that one misses the potential for a future that is different, unseen, and unimaginable. Hindsight, learning the lessons of the past, is necessary, but planning should be driven also by imagination and foresight. Are we planning for the next fire? Or are we planning for the next 'firestorm'? What do we think that will look like? In this setting, the greatest failure may well be the failure to imagine.

UNHaRMED: Unified Natural Hazard Risk Mitigation Exploratory Decision Support System
29 Jun 2017

UNHaRMED is a spatial decision support system (DSS) for planners and policy makers to assist in the reduction of risk from multiple natural hazards, transforming planning risk reduction in Australia.

Developing a Decision Support System for Western Australia
18 Sep 2018

UNHaRMED (Unified Natural Hazard Risk Mitigation Exploratory Decision support system) is an interactive modelling platform helping to assist decision making, focussed on improving thinking about risk into the future; better managing and reducing risk; and positioning organisations and communities to best achieve this.

Linked Projects