The challenge

Our Papers

Read our reports and recommendations for action.

Facts at a glance

Our four major reports summarised


Adaptation: Adjustments that aim to reduce the vulnerability of communities to the negative impacts of natural disasters.

Disaster: A serious disruption to community life which threatens or causes death or injury and/or damage to property which is beyond the day to day capacity of the statutory authorities. It therefore requires special mobilisation and organisation of resources other than those normally available to those authorities.

Emergency management: Involves the plans, structures and arrangements which are established to bring together the normal endeavours of government, voluntary and private agencies in a comprehensive and coordinated way to deal with the whole spectrum of emergency needs including prevention, response and recovery.

Emergency service: An agency responsible for the protection and preservation of life and property from harm resulting from incidents and emergencies.

Hazard: A source of potential harm or a situation with a potential to cause harm to people or damage to property or the environment.

Mitigation: Measures taken in advance of a disaster aimed at decreasing or eliminating its impact on society and environment.

Natural Disaster: A natural disaster is a serious disruption to a community or region caused by the impact of a naturally occurring rapid onset event that threatens or causes death, injury or damage to property or the environment and which requires significant and coordinated multi-agency and community response. Such serious disruption can be caused by bushfire, earthquake, flood, storm, cyclone, storm surge, landslide, tsunami, meteorite strike, or tornado.

Preparedness: Measures to ensure that, should an emergency occur, communities, resources and services are capable of coping with the effects; the state of being prepared.

Prevention: Measures to eliminate or reduce the incidence or severity of emergencies.

Recovery: The coordinated process of supporting emergency-affected communities in reconstruction of the physical infrastructure and restoration of emotional, social, economic and physical wellbeing.

Resilience: Resilience is the ability of a system, community or society exposed to hazards to resist, absorb, accommodate and recover from the effects of a hazard in a timely and efficient manner, including through the preservation and restoration of its essential basic structures and functions.

Response: Actions taken in anticipation of, during, and immediately after an emergency to ensure that its effects are minimised, and that people affected are given immediate relief and support.

Risk: The likelihood of harmful consequences arising from the interaction of hazards, communities and the environment.

Vulnerable infrastructure: Poorly constructed buildings and infrastructure, including roads and other transportation channels, industrial and commercial developments, and certain types of housing located in close proximity to sources of hazards.

Source: Adapted from National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.  

Brian Hartzer

Westpac Group

“Our work to support customers and communities after recent natural disasters has really highlighted to me the economic and social challenges they face, in many cases long after the event itself. I am pleased to be involved in this Roundtable to support action from business, community and government to prevent and reduce the impacts of natural disasters and build safer communities”

Ralph Ronnenberg

Munich Re

“By sharing our extensive global experience, Munich Re hopes to work with all levels of government, along with like-minded organisations in the commercial sector, to ensure that Australian Communities are better positioned to plan for, and respond to the ever present threat of natural catastrophes.  

“We believe that damage prevention and mitigation are the best and most cost effective means to protect and lift the living standard of the community on a sustainable basis.”

Paul O'Sullivan


“We are strong believers in offering constructive public policy solutions to government in areas where we think there is both social and commercial benefit.

“Our services are critical in disaster response, and we deliver them across infrastructure that must be highly resilient against the impact of natural disasters.

“This initiative will allow all stakeholders to work better together in both planning for the effects of natural hazards and responding to them.”  

Peter Harmer


"Recent natural disasters have illustrated our vulnerability to natural hazards. In just the last five years, the damage caused to private property and public infrastructure has reached well into the billions of dollars.

"We firmly believe we, as a nation, can do much more to adapt our communities to better withstand natural hazards – from stronger codes to ensure buildings are better protected, to more appropriate land use reflecting risk, to more hazard mitigation infrastructure."

Jonathan Callaghan

Investa Office

“Investa joined the Roundtable to support the development of cost-effective solutions to mitigate the adverse consequences of disasters for humans, communities and businesses. We will continue to work with our partners and government to develop more prepared and resilient Australian communities.”

Judy Slatyer

Australian Red Cross

“Red Cross is well aware of the long term devastation wrought by disasters on individuals, households, businesses and communities, on an all too regular basis.  

“As the world’s leading provider of humanitarian support to individuals and communities impacted by these increasingly frequent events, we strongly support efforts to promote and build more resilient communities. We recognise efforts need to be focused not only on tangibles such as bricks and mortar, but also on supporting people to better prepare, respond and recover through information, advice, education, and engagement.”  

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