Research leader

Andrew Gissing Research Leader

Research team

Michael Eburn
A/Prof Michael Eburn Research Team
Dr Katharine Haynes Research Team
Dr Gavin Smith Research Team
Dr Matalena Tofa Research Team
Andrew Gissing Research Team

End User representatives

Steve Yorke End-User
Nicole Hogan End-User
Heather Stuart
Heather Stuart End-User
Andrew Andreou End-User
Greg Nettleton End-User
Ed Pikusa End-User
Roger Mentha End-User
Liz Connell
Liz Connell End-User
Brenton Keen End-User
Jillian Edwards End-User
John Rolfe End-User
Barry Gray End-User
Geoff Kaandorp End-User
Richard Pieper End-User
James Henry End-User
Melanie Mills End-User
David Baker End-User

This project focussed on the research questions:

  • What is the nature of catastrophic disasters and how are they conceptualised in the Australian context?
  • What has been the historical frequency of compound disasters in Australia?
  • What are the most appropriate practices to plan and prepare for catastrophic disasters?
  • How can businesses and community organisations best be incorporated into planning and preparedness arrangements for catastrophic disasters?

The research was based on literature reviews; interviews with representatives from emergency management organisations, businesses and community organisations; analysis of historical disaster loss data and content analysis of previous business contributions to disaster responses.

The project adopted a collaborative approach with end-users assisting to define research questions and utilisation outputs. A key utilisation output from the research has been an emergency management capability maturity assessment tool that can be utilised by jurisdictions and organisations to better understand potential capability gaps in the context of severe-to-catastrophic disaster scenarios. Through utilisation funding provided by the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, this tool will be promoted for use across all jurisdictions.

Following analysis of emergency management legislation, a model Commonwealth Emergency Management Act was drafted for consideration by end-users.

Outcomes of the research were presented as evidence to the 2020 Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

Read the final report here.

Watch Andrew talk about the frameworks which are being developed to assist emergency managers to better deal with catastrophic disasters.

Year Type Citation
2021 Report Gissing, A. Capability Maturity Assessment facilitators guide. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2021).
2021 Report Gissing, A. & George, S. Community organisation involvement in disaster management. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2021).
2020 Report Gissing, A. et al. Planning and capability requirements for catastrophic and cascading disasters - final project report. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2020 Report Gissing, A. et al. Compound natural disasters in Australia: a historical analysis. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2020 Report Gissing, A., Eburn, M. & McAneney, J. Planning and capability requirements for catastrophic and cascading disasters. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2019 Conference Paper Van Leeuwen, J. & Gissing, A. Business involvement in natural disasters in Australia and New Zealand . Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Day AFAC19 (2019). at <https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/australian-journal-of-emergency-management-monograph-series/>
2019 Report Eburn, M., Moore, C. & Gissing, A. The potential role of the commonwealth in responding to catastrophic disasters. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2019).
2019 Report Gissing, A. Catastrophic and cascading events: planning and capability. Annual Report 2018 1-16 (2019).
2018 Conference Paper Gissing, A. & Avci, A. The Hawaii nuclear alert: how did people respond?. AFAC18 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2018 Conference Paper Gissing, A., Eburn, M. & McAneney, J. Planning and capability requirements for catastrophic and cascading events. 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).
2018 Conference Paper Van Leeuwen, J., Gissing, A. & Avci, A. Responses to the Lombok earthquake, 2018 – Rapid assessment study. AFAC18 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2018 Journal Article Gissing, A., Van Leeuwen, J., Tofa, M. & Haynes, K. Flood levee influences on community preparedness: a paradox?. Australian Journal of Emergency Management 33, 5 (2018).
2018 Report Gissing, A., Eburn, M. & McAneney, J. Shaping future catastrophic disasters. (Bushfire & Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
2018 Report Gissing, A. Increasing emergency management capacity through business sector involvement . (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
Date Title Download Key Topics
18 Apr 2017 Planning and Capability Requirements for Catastrophic and Cascading Events PDF icon 1005.5 KB (1005.5 KB) capability, emergency management, multi-hazard
07 Jul 2017 Lightning presentation: planning and capability requirements for catastrophic and cascading events PDF icon 1021.56 KB (1021.56 KB) capability, emergency management, multi-hazard
31 Aug 2017 Fire Australia Issue Three 2017 PDF icon 5.22 MB (5.22 MB) child-centred, prescribed burning, severe weather
25 Oct 2017 Planning and capability requirements for catastrophic and cascading events PDF icon 1.07 MB (1.07 MB) capability, multi-hazard, risk management
16 Mar 2018 Fire Australia Issue One 2018 PDF icon 5.37 MB (5.37 MB) coastal, emergency management, fire severity
05 Apr 2018 Catastrophic and cascading events - project overview File 0 bytes (0 bytes) capability, emergency management, planning
16 Apr 2018 Planning and Capability Requirements for Catastrophic and Cascading Events PDF icon 1.22 MB (1.22 MB) capability, emergency management, planning
18 Sep 2018 Tourist responses to the Lombok Earthquake, 2018 – Rapid Assessment Study PDF icon 1.91 MB (1.91 MB) earthquake, response
18 Sep 2018 Transformative culture of disaster risk management as an enabler to resilience PDF icon 3.74 MB (3.74 MB) multi-hazard, resilience
19 Sep 2018 Adoption of a strengths-based approach to address catastrophic disasters PDF icon 1.73 MB (1.73 MB) emergency management, planning
19 Sep 2018 The Hawaii Nuclear Alert:How did people respond? PDF icon 964.71 KB (964.71 KB) planning, response
08 May 2019 Evidenced based capability maturity assessment for severe to catastrophic events RAF May 2019 PDF icon 1.3 MB (1.3 MB) capability
20 Jun 2019 Evidenced based capability maturity assessment for severe to catastrophic events PDF icon 1.96 MB (1.96 MB) capability, planning
27 Aug 2019 Whole of Community Approach to Planning and Capability for Catastrophic Disasters PDF icon 1.6 MB (1.6 MB) capability, planning
31 Jul 2020 Readiness for the next major bushfire emergency emergency management, fire, fire impacts
29 Jul 2021 Capability Maturity Assessment Tool File 1.14 MB (1.14 MB) capability, emergency management, policy
12 Aug 2021 What can we improve now to prepare for future catastrophic and cascading disasters? PDF icon 615.37 KB (615.37 KB) capability, emergency management, policy
Increasing Emergency Management Capacity Through Business Sector Involvement
19 Sep 2018
The resource capacities of emergency management organisations are geared around managing relatively frequent...
Influence of Road Characteristics on Flood Rescues in Australia
19 Sep 2018
Vehicle-related flood fatalities and rescues are a significant emergency management and road safety problem. ...
19 Sep 2018
It is important to consider how future catastrophic disasters might be shaped by choices we make as a society...
27 Aug 2019
The connection between disaster planning, capability and capacity are essential, but often overlooked. In...