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Natural disasters

Building Australia's resilience

Building Australia's resilience

Following an unprecedented number of natural disasters in recent years - and their impacts on people, communities, businesses and economies - the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities was formed in December 2012 by the Chief Executive Officers of Australian Red Cross, Insurance Australia Group, Investa Property Group, Munich Re, Optus and Westpac Group.

As part of its commitment to contributing expertise, research and resources to address the challenge of building resilient communities that can adapt to extreme weather events, Deloitte Access Economics was commissioned by the group to prepare a paper in response to the call in the Australian Government’s National Strategy for Disaster Resilience for greater collaboration between government, business and community to reduce Australia’s vulnerability to natural disasters.

In 2012 alone, for example, the total economic cost of natural disasters in Australia is estimated to have exceeded $6 billion - costs expected to double by 2030 and to rise to an average of $23 billion per year by 2050, even without any consideration of the potential impact of climate change.

Each year an estimated $560 million is spent on post-disaster relief and recovery by the Australian Government compared with an estimated consistent annual expenditure of $50 million on pre-disaster resilience.

The task of building more resilient communities is complex and requires greater collaboration between government, business and community.

Deloitte Access Economics’ paper – Building our nation’s resilience to natural disasters - offers three key recommendations:

  1. Improve co-ordination of pre-disaster resilience by appointing a National Resilience Advisor and establishing a Business and Community Advisory Group

  2. Commit to long term annual consolidated funding for pre-disaster resilience

  3. Identify and prioritise pre-disaster investment activities that deliver a positive net impact on future budget outlays.

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