Natural disasters a problem

natural disaster, roundtable



Australia’s prominent disaster resilience organisation warns that Australia remains among the most vulnerable nations to natural disaster, despite being one of the world’s most developed.

The Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience & Safer Communities called for further action to raise awareness of Australia’s increasing vulnerability on the United Nations International Day for Disaster Reduction.

The annual cost of destruction from natural disasters is projected to rise from $6.3 billion to $23 billion by the year 2050 due to material growth and urbanisation.

IAG Managing Director and CEO Mike Wilkins says Australia has a lot to achieve before fully protecting its citizens and economy from natural disasters.

“While the UN Day for Disaster Reduction is about celebrating how people and communities are reducing their exposure to disasters, we need to acknowledge just how far we have to go to better protect our communities,” Wilkins says.

“We need to continue to champion the issue of natural disaster resilience to ensure the impact of the recent events that have made us a nation known for natural disasters is lessened.

“With the Roundtable’s evidence based policy and the Productivity Commission’s Inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements, we have a real opportunity to implement a long term approach that will save lives and reduce the unsustainable impact on our economy.”

Australian Red Cross Emergency Services National Manager Andrew Coghlan says that mitigation is key to achieving a safer, more sustainable approach to natural disasters.

“As we enter storm, cyclone and bushfire season we may yet again see national attention on communities who are impacted by disastrous weather events,” Coghlan says.

“But we need to act before these disasters occur, to continue to reduce the social and economic impacts of natural disasters through a collaborative national approach.

“We need to invest more in mitigation to save lives, protect our communities and strengthen our economies. Prevention is always better than the cure.”

The Insurance Council of Australia have recently released its Third Way proposal, outlining a investment of $361.2 million over seven years, as an alternative to state backing of the North Australian insurance market.

The Northern Australia Insurance Premium Taskforce’s proposal for a state-backed reinsurance facility has been rejected by many leading insurers that instead suggest long-term mitigation finding.