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QUT expert to join disaster risk management roundtable

20th June 2014

QUT disaster risk management expert Dr Paul Barnes will take part in a roundtable discussion on effective risk management for natural disasters held by the Productivity Commission as part of the Australian Government's Inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements.

The roundtable will explore the principles and policy frameworks required for effective risk management and will be held in Canberra in July.

Dr Barnes, who is deputy director of QUT's Centre for Emergency and Disaster Management (CEDM), is also co-research leader of the Bushfire and Natural Disaster CRC's Emergency Management Capability theme.

Dr Barnes said key issues for the roundtable will be options to better align policy considerations with the complexity of disaster events that, while occurring regularly, can have very different effects depending on where they occur.

"My research indicates that risk assessment practices that emphasise examination of consequences based on the nature of destructive events and existing vulnerability, particularly to essential services infrastructure, can provide important benefits.

"Rather than investing significants amount of time and effort considering the possibility or frequency of a cyclone, flood or other event, we should consider where damage and destruction is likely to occur which can inform and enhance preparation and prevention activities, especially at local and regional levels," Dr Barnes said.

"To overcome these problems we must ensure risk assessment and management practices applied to natural hazards and resulting impacts are used in logical and practical ways that emphasise the nature of an event, and the size and location of possible destruction.

"When applied in this manner risk management can enhance rapid and effective decision making pre-disaster and support effective real-time decision making as well as post-disaster recovery and remediation efforts."

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