Australian and New Zealand communities are continually facing heart-breaking losses caused by the increasing severity and frequency of natural disasters. The impacts of bushfires, floods, cyclones, earthquakes, storms and a host of other natural hazards not only affect communities but also both nations’ economies, the infrastructure and the environment.
The scale of the challenge is huge. According to research carried out by Deloitte Access Economics for the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities, without action, the forecast annual cost in real terms of natural disasters (across government, business and communities) in Australia is expected to reach A$23 billion by 2050. This highlights the need for investment further in resilience measures. Currently, each year an estimated A$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.
Associate Professor, Brett Aimers, Chief Nurse with St John Ambulance Australia, says: “While progress has been made working in partnership with communities to make them more resilient, the emergency management sector, irrespective of the state and territory boundaries, face and will continue to face similar and emerging challenges. We must be focused on not only planning and preparing for the known emergencies of today but also the unknown emergencies of tomorrow.”
These challenges will be addressed at this year’s Australian & New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference that is being held at the QT Hotel Gold Coast from the 5th to 7th May 2014. The conference is a joint initiative of three ‘not-for-profit’ organisations: the Australian Institute of Emergency Services; Australian & New Zealand Mental Health Organisation; and the Association for Sustainability in Business.
The conference committee has created a comprehensive forum that shines a spotlight on resilience and offers professionals (and future professionals) an opportunity to advance and improve approaches, thoughts and opinions and develop expertise, competencies and aptitudes relating to information and facts surrounding preparedness for future disasters, emergencies and hazards, and the ability to recover from them quickly and efficiently.
Acknowledging that a ‘whole-of-nation’ resilience-based approach to disaster management and a national, coordinated and cooperative effort is needed to enhance our capacity to withstand and recover from emergencies and disasters, this conference will examine the issues surrounding natural and man-made hazards and incorporate keynote addresses, concurrent sessions and workshops covering a vast array of subjects. These will include: emergency management; public safety; security; community resilience; business continuity; data protection and much more.
The line-up of renowned national and international speakers will include: Associate Professor Brett Aimers, Chief Nurse, St John Ambulance Australia; Dr Penny Lynn Burns, Department of General Practice, University of Western Sydney; Mr Neil Comrie, Bushfires Royal Commission Implementation Monitor; Mark Crosweller Director General, Emergency Management Australia; Dr John Durkin, Director, BeTr Foundation, UK; Dr Ljubica Mamula-Seadon, Senior Research Fellow, University of Auckland, NZ and Major General S.L. SMITH, Commander 1st Division / Deployable Joint Forces Headquarters.
There will be a number of streams and informative workshops, as well as an all-encompassing exhibition showcasing equipment, products, services and solutions. The conference is an outstanding platform for education and to initiate new business relationships. The event is not to be missed by anyone involved in emergency management and disaster response and recovery. Registration to attend the three-day event can be mad online at www.anzdmc.com.au or via emailing the secretariat for the conference at [email protected]