Tasmanian Disaster Resilience Strategy

Module Intentions

  1. Gain an understanding of Disaster Resilience and how we can become more Disaster Resilient
  2. Gain an awareness of the Tasmanian Disaster Resilience Strategy 2020-2025 content
  3. Gain knowledge of how we are working towards a Disaster Resilient Tasmania.

Why do you need to know about the Tasmanian Disaster Resilience Strategy 202-2025?

The knowledge acquired from completing this module will enable you to gain an understanding of the contents in the Tasmanian Disaster Resilience Strategy 2020-2025, plus it’s Background and supporting information document. It provides stakeholders with an awareness of the importance of reducing risks and preparing for disasters.

When will I apply the knowledge gained from completing this module?

The information is for everyone in the Emergency Management sector that has a responsibility for contributing to, promoting, preventing or reducing disaster risks and preparing for response and recovery in and across the Tasmanian community.

“Disaster resilience is the ability of communities and individuals to survive, adapt and thrive in the face of turbulent change or acute stresses”.

(Tasmanian Disaster Resilience Strategy 2020-2025, P2.)


Disaster resilience is about ensuring people’s safety and well-being through reducing disaster risk and being prepared. Disasters will impact Tasmanian communities– we just do not know when or precisely how. Recent bushfires, the pandemic and extreme weather events show that disasters happen unexpectedly anywhere. Collectively we have enough experience and knowledge to understand our disaster risks so we can plan and act to reduce and prepare for events when they do occur.

Tasmanians are exposed and vulnerable to disaster hazards and threats, but they are also capable of adapting and coping. Tasmanians can address disaster risks proactively to

  • Mitigate those risks so disasters are less likely to occur
  • When disasters do occur, they have less of an impact.

While the focus of disaster resilience is on reducing disaster risks, we cannot eliminate disaster risks completely. Disaster resilience is also about being prepared for disasters when they occur, as well as aiming to reduce the likelihood and impacts of those disasters. Reducing disaster risks means:

  • Fewer deaths, injuries and illness, health and well-being benefits
  • Less economic impacts for individuals, businesses, communities and the state
  • Fewer homes, business and public buildings and other assets and infrastructure destroyed or damaged
  • Fewer disruptions to the normal services and government processes that support Tasmanian communities, businesses and individuals
  • Less community dislocation and damage to irreplaceable and valued cultural or heritage assets.

Disasters will happen

Tasmania has experienced:

  • Natural disasters such as major fires and floods
  • Human-caused events, such as the Tasman Bridge collapse and the Port Arthur massacre.

Tasmanians have always responded with tenacity and generosity. We support one another in times of need. Our emergency services, volunteers, community organisations, governments and businesses work tirelessly to respond and to help communities to recover. The reality of climate change is that extreme weather events are becoming more common. There are more hot days and intense rainfall. Bushfires, floods and storms continue to put people at risk, destroy property and impact communities, businesses, and the economy.


Key Messages

Disaster resilience is about reducing the risks to what Tasmanians value and need. It is about helping Tasmanians collaborate to be able to cope and adapt to disaster events.This module provides information for those in Tasmania’s EM sector for them to support disaster resilience in the broader Tasmanian community. There are three key messages:

There is a major shift from managing emergencies when they happen to proactively managing disaster risk.

Individuals, households, businesses and organisations need to manage their own risks. Those in the EM sector have a role in supporting others to reduce risk and prepare.


Disaster resilience actions have benefits even before disasters occur.

Why focus on Disaster Resilience?

We need to focus on disaster resilience because:

Such as;

  • Deaths
  • Injury and illness
  • The number of people affected
  • Economic loss
  • Damage to property, or important services and assets.

Severe disasters can include;

  • Compounding events
  • Have widespread or prolonged impacts
  • Climate change means there is increasing risk of disasters
  • Responses to such disasters rely on a cross-sector and whole-of-society approach.

In 2017 Australia’s disaster costs were $13.2 billion;

  • Experts predict this will increase by 3.4 per cent a year
  • This means disaster costs could triple by 2050
  • These estimates do not include intangible social, health, employment and economic impacts.

Investing in reducing disaster risk can be more cost effective than spending on response and recovery;

  • Disaster risk management can reduce response and recovery costs by 50 per cent
  • Resilient communities can recover better and often.

A focus on post-disaster funding may:

  • Create a disincentive for people to reduce their disaster risks and result in higher risk behaviours
  • Divert funds from other public programs, such as other health and wellbeing programs that support resilience
  • Impact on investment and economic growth.

Reducing risks has benefits even if a disaster does not occur. It can:

  • Instil investor confidence, innovation, investment and economic growth
  • Help reduce poverty and inequality
  • Contribute to the stability of Tasmania’s economy.

Reducing disaster risks can leverage other everyday benefits. For example:

  • Building for disaster resilience can mean lower maintenance costs
  • Tree planting to stabilise slopes can help the environment in other ways
  • Flood mitigation measures, such as levees or dams, can provide stable and cleaner water supplies
  • Disaster resilient communities can better cope with other stresses, such as industry closures and household level crises.

Proactively managing disaster risks, not just managing disasters

There is a major shift from reacting to emergencies when they happen to proactively managing disaster risk.  This is the core of disaster resilience: working together to reduce disaster risk and prepare using the best available information and evidence to guide decisions and actions. Like many other nations, Australia still relies largely on post-disaster funding. While there are many initiatives that focus on increasing disaster resilience, relying on post-disaster funding and focusing on response and recovery:

  • Encourages high risk behaviour and limits incentives for reducing risk exposure
  • Can cause further economic harm by diverting funds from other public programs, including ones that might underpin resilience
  • Affects credit worthiness and investment.

Key definitions include the following:

A serious disruption of the functioning of a community or a society at any scale due to hazardous events interacting with conditions of exposure, vulnerability and capacity, leading to one or more of the following:

  • Human, material, economic and environmental losses and impacts
  • Emergency is sometimes used interchangeably with the term disaster, as, for example, in the context of biological and technological hazards or health emergencies.

Disaster resilience is the ability of all sectors of society and individuals to survive, adapt and thrive in the face of turbulent change or acute stresses.

Tasmania’s EM sector includes specialist individuals and organisations with accountabilities and/or formally defined roles relating to:

  • Response and/or relief and recovery support
  • Enabling and supporting prevention and preparedness actions.

The sector includes management authorities and support agencies in line with the TEMA. While everyone in Tasmania has roles and responsibilities relating to disaster resilience, those in the EM sector have specialist skills and formal roles to support others in disaster prevention, preparation, response and recovery.

The potential loss of life, injury, or destroyed or damaged assets which could occur to a system, society or a community in a specific period of time, determined probabilistically as a function of hazard, exposure, vulnerability and capacity.

The situation of people, infrastructure, housing, production capacities and other tangible human assets located in hazard-prone areas.

The conditions determined by physical, social, economic and environmental factors or processes which increase the susceptibility of an individual, a community, assets or systems to the impacts of hazards.

A process, phenomenon or human activity that may cause loss of life, injury or other health impacts, property damage, social and economic disruption or environmental degradation.

Activities and measures to avoid existing and new disaster risks.

The lessening or minimizing of the adverse impacts of a hazardous event.

For further definitions, see the Tasmanian Disaster Resilience Background and Supporting Information. These definitions are in line with the terms used internationally – see https://www.unisdr.org/we/inform/terminology