Disaster resilience in Australia: our efforts

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Stand by your country – together for more disaster resilience in Australia

Recognising that governments acting alone cannot address the challenge of natural disaster management, the Australian Business Roundtable aims to support the development of a more sustainable, coordinated national approach to making communities more resilient and the Australian people safer. Munich Re is among the founding members.

The Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience & Safer Communities (ABR) was formed in December 2012 by the Chief Executive Officers of the Australian Red Cross, Insurance Australia Group, Investa Property Group, Munich Re, Optus and Westpac Group. The CEOs created the Roundtable because they all consider having resilient communities that can adapt to extreme weather events to be of national importance. This is the first time such a broad spectrum of organisations has come together to champion this issue.

New approaches to disaster mitigation and pre-disaster investment urgently needed in Australia

This remarkable coalition is helping shape Australia’s future by releasing evidence-based reports to government, industry and the media that highlight the unsustainable cost of natural disasters to life, property and the economy and outline a new approach to pre-disaster investments in Australia.

By pursuing key recommendations put forward in the Roundtable’s commissioned papers, economic costs can be materially reduced to take long-term pressure off government budgets. More importantly, a safer Australia can be created by building resilience against the trauma and loss of life that all too frequently confront many of our communities when a natural disaster strikes.

Costs of natural disasters on the economy will skyrocket in the next years

The Roundtable’s first 2013 White Paper ‘Building our Nation’s Resilience to Natural Disasters’ estimated that natural disasters cost the Australian economy $6.3bn per year, and forecast costs to rise to $23bn annually by 2050. The research also demonstrated that carefully targeted disaster resilience investments of $250m per annum have the potential to generate budget savings of $12.2bn for all levels of government and would reduce natural disaster costs by more than 50% by 2050.

The second report released in 2014 - ‘Building an Open Platform for Natural Disaster Research Decisions’ - examined the criticality of natural disaster data to disaster mitigation investments and demonstrated that by providing improved access to accurate relevant data and research, additional savings of $2.4bn could be generated.

Tremendous relief through disaster mitigation investments in Australia

In total, the two reports of the Australian Business Roundtable highlight potential savings to the Australian economy of up to $14.6bn by 2050 through regular well-planned mitigation investments. This series of reports will be continued by further papers, e.g. covering the issues of building disaster resilient infrastructure and compiling social resilience guidelines.

Efforts of Australian Business Roundtable earn international recognition

Based on its work since 2012, the Australian Business Roundtable has been awarded the Australian Government’s 2013 National Resilient Australia Award, as well as the Certificate of Distinction at the prestigious 2015 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction. The Australian Business Roundtable is the first private sector organisation to win in the 30-year history of these awards.

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