Research leader

Michael Eburn
A/Prof Michael Eburn Research Leader

End User representatives

John Schauble
John Schauble End-Users
Monique Blason End-Users
Ed Pikusa End-Users
Chris Irvine
Chris Irvine End-Users
Christine Roach
Christine Roach End-Users
Sandra Whight
Sandra Whight End-Users
Jen Chan End-Users
David Cook End-Users

Research team

Karen Hussey
A/Prof Karen Hussey Research Team
James Pittock
Dr James Pittock Research Team
Dr Anna Lukasiewicz Research Team

Student researchers

Sue Hunt Student Reseachers
Caroline Wenger
Dr Caroline Wenger Student Reseachers

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.

Year Type Citation
2017 Book Chapter McDonald, F., Eburn, M. & Smith, E. Disaster Health Management: A Primer for Students and Practitioners (Routledge, 2017). at <https://www.routledge.com/Disaster-Health-Management-A-Primer-for-Students-and-Practitioners/FitzGerald-Tarrant-Aitken-Fredriksen/p/book/9781138911185>
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 Eburn, M. & Cary, G. J. You own the fuel, but who owns the fire?. International Journal of Wildland Fire 26, 999-1008 (2017).
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
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 Eburn, M. & Dovers, S. Reviewing high-risk and high-consequence decisions: finding a safer way. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 32, (2017).
2017 Report Eburn, M. & Dovers, S. Learning for emergency services: looking for a new approach. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Report Eburn, M. Policies, instutions and governance of natural hazards: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Book Chapter Eburn, M. Research Handbook on Disasters and International Law (Edward Elgar, 2016). at <http://www.e-elgar.com/shop/research-handbook-on-disasters-and-international-law>
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 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).
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).
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