Research leader

Mehmet Ulubasoglu
Prof Mehmet Ulubasoglu Research Leader

Research team

Farah Beaini Research Team

End User representatives

Ed Pikusa End-User
Mark Drew End-User
Julie Hoy End-User
Holly Foster
Dr Holly Foster End-User

Australians are all too familiar with disasters arising from natural hazards, such as bushfires, cyclones, and floods. With climate change, we face the possibility of more frequent and intense natural hazards where they occur as in new and unexpected places.

This project has estimated the impact of four disasters in recent Australian history on income of individuals residing in disaster-hit areas. By defining individuals’ ability to return to their pre-disaster income levels as economic resilience, the research team focused on the following case studies: The 2009 Victorian Black Saturday bushfires, the 2009 Toodyay bushfires, the 2013 Tropical Cyclone Oswald, and the 2010-11 Queensland floods. Through real-life case studies, this research helps illustrate how these events—of different types, localities, and scales—impact and ripple through communities and the broader economy over time. 

The research has found that the extent of the economic impact of disasters on individuals’ income depends on the type, intensity, and location of the disaster. This finding departs from most policy assumptions, which tend to put all the disasters into the same basket when designing relief and recovery programs.

An additional clear insight obtained in this research is that ‘economic smallness’ is a point of vulnerability. In particular, low income earners, small-business owners and part-time workers are more likely to lose income following a disaster. Middle and high-income earners, full-time workers and owners of larger businesses are far less likely to lose income; indeed, they might even earn more.

Overall, this research has revealed disaster costs that would not normally be identified by the direct damage estimates. This research has also demonstrated that the burden of lost income due to the disasters is not borne equally. That is, the income gap routinely increased after disasters. This research suggests that policymakers need to better understand the socioeconomics of disasters and formulate public policies to better distribute scarce budgets and resources towards vulnerable socioeconomic groups and employment sectors that are more sensitive to disasters.

Read the final report here.

Download key case study research reports and policy briefs

Year Type Citation
2021 Report Ulubasoglu, M. Guidance note for replication of case studies - Black Saturday, Tropical Cyclone Oswald, Queensland floods and Toodyay bushfire. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2021).
2021 Report Ulubasoglu, M. Optimising post-disaster recovery interventions in Australia - final project report. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2021).
2020 Report Ulubasoglu, M. Disasters and economic resilience in small regional communities: the case of Toodyay. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2020 Report Ulubasoglu, M. Disasters and economic resilience: the income effects of the Cyclone Oswald 2013 on small business owners. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2020 Report Ulubasoglu, M. & Onder, Y. Disasters and economic resilience: the effects of the Black Saturday bushfires on individual income. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2020 Report Ulubasoglu, M. & Beaini, F. Disasters and economic resilience: the effects of the Queensland Floods 2010-11 on individual income: a case study on the Brisbane River catchment area. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2020).
2019 Conference Paper Ulubasoglu, M. & Beaini, F. Disasters and economic resilience in small regional communities: the case of Toodyay. AFAC19 powered by INTERSCHUTZ - Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Forum (Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience, 2019). at <https://knowledge.aidr.org.au/resources/australian-journal-of-emergency-management-monograph-series/>
2019 Report Beaini, F. & Ulubasoglu, M. Demographic profiling: Queensland floods 2010-11 Brisbane River catchment area case study. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2019).
2019 Report Beaini, F. & Ulubasoglu, M. Demographic profiling: Western Australia Toodyay bushfires 2009 case study. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2019).
2019 Report Ulubasoglu, M. Optimising post-disaster recovery interventions in Australia: annual project report 2018-19. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC , 2019).
2019 Report Ulubasoglu, M. Optimising post-disaster recovery interventions in Australia Annual Report 2017-18. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2019).
2018 Conference Paper Ulubasoglu, M. Disasters and economic resilience: income effects of the Black Saturday bushfires on disaster-hit individuals. 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 Journal Article Rahman, H. Earthquakes don’t kill, built environment does: evidence from cross-country data. Economic Modelling 70, 458-468 (2018).
2018 Journal Article Ulubasoglu, M., Rahman, M., Onder, Y., Chen, Y. & Rajabifard, A. Floods, bushfires and sectoral economic output in Australia, 1978-2014. Economic Record 95, 58-80 (2018).
2018 Report Beaini, F. & Ulubasoglu, M. Demographic profiling: Victorian bushfires 2009 case study. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2018).
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 Ulubasoglu, M. & Rahman, M. Unpacking the sectoral income effects of natural disasters: evidence from the 2010-11 Queensland floods. AFAC17 (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2017 Report Ulubasoglu, M. Pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model: annual project report 2016-17. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2017).
2016 Report Ulubasoglu, M. & Rajabifard, A. Pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model: Annual project report 2015-2016. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2016).
2015 Conference Paper Rajabifard, A. et al. A Pre-Disaster Multi-Hazard Damage and Economic Loss Estimation Model Conference Paper 2014. Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC and AFAC Wellington Conference 2014 (2015).
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 Rahman, M. et al. Bringing hazard and economic modellers together: a spatial platform for damage and losses visualisation - peer viewed. Adelaide Conference 2015 (2015).
2015 Report Rajabifard, A. Pre-Disaster Multi-Hazard and Economic Loss Estimation Model Annual Report 2014. (2015).
2015 Report Rajabifard, A. Pre-disaster multihazard damage and economic loss estimation model: Annual project report 2014-2015. (Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC, 2015).
Date Title Download Key Topics
19 Mar 2014 Pre-disaster damage and economic loss estimation model PDF icon 319.22 KB (319.22 KB) economics, emergency management, multi-hazard
08 Sep 2014 Pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model PDF icon 1.7 MB (1.7 MB) economics, modelling, multi-hazard
27 Oct 2014 A pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model economics, multi-hazard
10 Apr 2015 Damage and Economic Loss Estimation Model 2015 NSW RAF Presentation PDF icon 2.54 MB (2.54 MB) economics, modelling, multi-hazard
11 Sep 2015 Bringing hazard and economic modellers together: A spatial platform for damage and losses visualisation PDF icon 1.28 MB (1.28 MB) economics
31 Aug 2016 Natural disasters and sectoral economic development: evidence from Australia - Muhammad Habibur Rahman PDF icon 6.52 MB (6.52 MB) economics, multi-hazard, recovery
27 Oct 2016 Economics and strategic decisions - cluster overview File 0 bytes (0 bytes) decision making, economics, policy
27 Oct 2016 Pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model - project overview File 0 bytes (0 bytes) economics, flood, policy
15 Dec 2016 What can economics offer emergency services? PDF icon 891.78 KB (891.78 KB) decision making, economics, policy
05 Apr 2017 Optimising Post-Disaster Recovery Interventions in Australia PDF icon 5.73 MB (5.73 MB) economics, modelling, multi-hazard
07 Jul 2017 Understanding the value and challenges of risk mitigation PDF icon 4.17 MB (4.17 MB) economics, mitigation, resilience
07 Sep 2017 Unpacking the sectoral income effects of natural disasters: evidence from the 2010-11 Queensland floods PDF icon 3.54 MB (3.54 MB) economics, flood, modelling
16 Apr 2018 Utilising Census Data to Inform Public Policy PDF icon 1016.35 KB (1016.35 KB) emergency management, recovery, response
18 Sep 2018 Disasters and economic resilience: Income effects of the Black Saturday bushfires on disaster-hit individuals PDF icon 1.94 MB (1.94 MB) economics, fire impacts
15 May 2019 Black Saturday bushfires: counting the cost communities, economics, fire
18 Jun 2019 Optimising post disaster - recovery interventions in Australia PDF icon 408.22 KB (408.22 KB) economics, recovery
09 Jul 2019 Disaster and economic resilience in Small Regional Communities: The case of Toodyay PDF icon 607.65 KB (607.65 KB) economics, planning, policy
27 Aug 2019 Disaster and economic resilience in Small Regional Communities: The case of Toodyay PDF icon 387.39 KB (387.39 KB) economics, recovery
11 Aug 2020 Disasters and economic resilience: the effects of the Black Saturday bushfires on individual income PDF icon 5.21 MB (5.21 MB)
11 Aug 2020 Disasters and economic resilience: the income effects of 2013 Tropical Cyclone Oswald on small business owners PDF icon 2.3 MB (2.3 MB)
11 Aug 2020 Disasters and economic resilience: the effects of the 2010-11 Queensland floods on individual income PDF icon 2.26 MB (2.26 MB)
11 Aug 2020 Disasters and economic resilience in small regional communities: the case of Toodyay PDF icon 1.22 MB (1.22 MB)
11 Aug 2020 Economics in disaster recovery: Optimising post-disaster recovery interventions in Australia PDF icon 3.09 MB (3.09 MB) communities, recovery, risk analysis
11 Aug 2020 Download key case study research reports and policy briefs economics, modelling, multi-hazard
12 Aug 2020 Economics in disaster recovery - webinar File 0 bytes (0 bytes) economics, modelling, multi-hazard
01 Nov 2020 The unequal burden of disasters in Australia communities, economics, multi-hazard
A pre-disaster multi-hazard damage and economic loss estimation model for Australia
25 Aug 2014
Australia has experienced a number of natural disasters throughout history that have significantly impacted...
Seismic Vulnerability Assessment of Buildings in Australia
18 Aug 2015
This poster present research activities undertaken in the University of Melbourne and Swinburne University of...
Design & Implementation of pre-disaster hazard loss estimation platform
11 Sep 2015
The platform developed and utilised for this work is the Pre-disaster Hazard Loss Estimation Platform (PHiLEP...
Effects of natural disasters on sectoral economic development: Evidence from Australia
11 Sep 2015
 Using a unique dataset observed over 1990-2014, we estimate the impact of natural disasters on sector-...
 Bringing hazard and economic modellers together
11 Sep 2015
 A paper on the use of a spatial platform for damage and loss visualization to bring together hazard and...
 Reviewing past hazard events in Australia and Victoria
11 Sep 2015
In order to better understand the history of natural disasters in Australia as a whole, and also solely in...
Mehmet Ulubasoglu Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016
This project is investigating, at the national level, the economic impact of natural disasters on sectoral...
Elisa Lumantarna Conference Poster 2016
12 Aug 2016
This poster introduces a rapid seismic assessment method for reinforced concrete buildings in regions of low...
Disasters and economic resilience: Income effects of the Black Saturday Bushfires on disaster-hit individuals
18 Sep 2018
We explore the impact of the most destructive bushfire disaster ever to hit Australia on the disaster-hit...
27 Aug 2019
We explore the effects of a small bushfire on the income trajectory of employed residents of Toodyay, a...