Policy and Economics of Hazards

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BNH CRC launch Parliament House Canberra 10 December 2013_2
BNH CRC launch Parliament House Canberra 10 December 2013_2

Project Status:

Building community resilience to natural disasters is a complex challenge that spans many policy areas. This project, which has transitioned to its utilisation phase, tackled this intricate problem by delivering policy options that could help governments and emergency services to strengthen resilience in communities. The research identified barriers to community resilience and potential policy solutions that could be factored into the preparation, response and post-event phases of emergency management.

Building community resilience to natural disasters is a complex challenge that spans many policy areas. This project, which has transitioned to its utilisation phase, tackled this intricate problem by delivering policy options that could help governments and emergency services to strengthen resilience in communities. The research identified barriers to community resilience and potential policy solutions that could be factored into the preparation, response and post-event phases of emergency management.

Three research themes were covered:

  1. What is ‘community’ and how can governments share responsibility with both communities and individuals?
  2. How can insurers play a more active role in communicating risk and encouraging hazard mitigation?
  3. Is there a better process or institution for effective lesson sharing after natural hazard events?

Findings revealed significant tensions in the shared responsibilities between governments exercising power and community empowerment; between the conflicting needs of insurers and their clients; and within traditional models of post-disaster inquiries.

In regards to effectively sharing lessons after an event, the team has proposed the trialling of restorative practices as a powerful alternative to adversarial post-event inquiries. Having identified these inherent tensions across the three themes, the researchers propose new policies are needed that could resolve or ease the tensions identified, or, in the case of disaster insurance, highlight the need to develop better models.

This could be applied in various contexts, including the selection of appropriate policy choices to encourage communities to share responsibility for emergency management with government. It could also help agencies to be better informed about how policy options can be tailored to encourage or facilitate desired outcomes.

Australia could trial restorative practices for post-disaster events by starting locally, such as for internal inquiries into accidents and near misses. If the system is effective and fosters learning without harm, then the practice could be applied to larger inquiries involving the emergency agencies and broader community interests.

While active research has concluded, further outputs are expected, including a book on disaster justice and promotion of the concept of restorative practices in post-disaster inquiries.

19 April, 2017
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
17 March, 2017
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
Earthquake house
15 November, 2016
An update from the project team with information for end-users and those interested in the latest news.
Kinglake, Victoria after the 2009 Black Saturday bushfires
21 October, 2016
If you've been involved in a post disaster inquiry, you can help our research.
14 September, 2016
New journal articles and reports on CRC research are available online.
End-users and researchers engaged in technical discussions during breakout sessions at the 2016 Research Advisory Forum in Hobart.
19 May, 2016
The recent Research Advisory Forum in Hobart provided an excellent opportunity to check progress and (where necessary) refocus directions heading into the final stages of some work.
Caroline Wenger giving her three minute thesis presentation in September. Photo by ANU.
14 October, 2015
Three CRC PhD students have shown off their communications skills by making it to their three minute thesis university finals.
26 May, 2015
I have recently returned from a study tour to the US, where I undertook a number of key tasks for our CRC project.
Flooded house Victoria
13 February, 2015
The key issues facing emergency managers and the public were highlighted by researchers in a media briefing on 12 February.
Year Type Citation
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 Dovers, S. Emergency management and policy: research impact and utilisation. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Journal Article Lukasiewicz, A., Dovers, S. & Eburn, M. Shared responsibility: the who, what and how. Environmental Hazards (2017). at <http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/17477891.2017.1298510>
2017 Journal Article Steele, W. E., Hussey, K. & Dovers, S. What's critical about critical infrastructure?. Urban Policy and Research 1-13 (2017). doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/08111146.2017.1282857
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 Eburn, M. & Cary, G. J. You own the fuel but who owns the fire?. AFAC16 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Report Eburn, M. & Dovers, S. Discussion paper: Learning for emergency services, looking for a new approach. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2016 Report Eburn, M. Policies, institutions and governance of natural hazards: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Hussey, K. & Dovers, S. Managing Critical Infrastructure in a Changing Climate: Risk, Roles, Responsibilities and Politics Conference Paper 2014. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014 (2015).
2015 Conference Paper Eburn, M., Hudson, D., Cha, I. & Dovers, S. Learning from Adversity: What Has 75 Years of Bushfire Inquiries Taught Us? Conference Paper 2014. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Eburn, M. Are fire brigades liable for poor decisions?. Bulletin (Law Society of South Australia) 37, 8-11 (2015).
2015 Journal Article McLennan, B. J. & Eburn, M. Exposing hidden-value trade-offs: sharing wildfire management responsibility between government and citizens. International Journal of Wildland Fire 24, 162-169 (2015).
2015 Journal Article Eburn, M. & Dovers, S. Learning Lessons from Disasters: Alternatives to Royal Commissions and Other Quasi-Judicial Inquiries. Australian Journal of Public Administration 74, 495-508 (2015).
2015 Report Eburn, M. Policies, institutions and governance of natural hazards: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
2015 Report Eburn, M. Policies, Institutions and Governance (PIGS) of Natural Hazards Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2014 Journal Article Eburn, M. & Dovers, S. Risk Management from a Legal and Governance Perspective. Journal of Integrated Disaster Risk Management 4, 61-72 (2014).
2014 Journal Article McLennan, B. J. & Eburn, M. Exposing hidden value trade-offs: sharing wildfire management responsibility between government and citizens. International Journal of Wildland Fire 24, 162-169 (2014).
Eburn poster
25 Aug 2014

This research will identify legal, policy and governance barriers to more active community (including the business community) involvement in emergency management. The research will identify solutions whether in reform of policy and governance structures and processes or how they are applied in practice.

Key Topics:
Insuring Agaisnt Disasters: Minimising Perverse Incentives and Promoting Mitigation
18 Aug 2015

Encouraging insurers to share and communicate bushfire risk with policy holders.

Key Topics:
Anna Lukasiewicz Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016

Community resilience is dependent on more than just engineering and preperation

Policy reforms should ease shared disaster onus
30 Jun 2017

Building community resilience to natural disasters is a complex challenge that spans many policy areas. This project tackles it by delivering policy options that could help governments and emergency services to strenthen resilience in communities.

Key Topics:

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