Significant natural disasters and emergencies in Australia are typically followed by formal post-event inquiries and reviews. The outcomes of these processes in one jurisdiction sometimes have ramifications and lead to reform action in other states and territories, such as the Victorian Bushfire Royal Commission following the Black Saturday fires of 2009.
Aither and partners Steve Dovers and Michael Eburn undertook research on this topic for the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC) and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) in 2017. The purpose of the study was to understand if recommendations across multiple recent post-event reviews have led to recurring recommendations, and thus whether there is value in taking an aggregate approach to identifying ways to improve emergency management reform.
The public report is available online at the BNHCRC website and is also featured on the United Nation's Disaster Risk Reduction knowledge sharing platform, PreventionWeb. The database will be publicly hosted during 2018.
The project revealed a number of recurring recommendations covering topics ranging from the doctrine, plans, and standards adopted by the emergency management sector to occupational health and safety.
The report and database are a substantial improvement on the sector’s previous capability to manage lessons from across multiple jurisdictions, emergency types and years.
Significant disaster and emergency management events are invariably followed by formal post-event inquiries and reviews. Such reviews identify lessons to improve future capacities and thus set the agenda for policy and management reform for emergency management organisations concerned with that event. However, whether there is any coherence or core lessons emerging for the Australian sector from the totality of post-event inquiries is unknown.