Leading debate on disaster management

Anne Tiernan

Innovative research by Griffith’s School of Government and International Relations on disaster and crisis management was presented last month at the Next Generation Disaster Management Forum, held in Canberra.

The intimate forum saw Australia’s leading practitioners and researchers come together to discuss new technologies, processes, and approaches that will help to improve disaster management over the next decade.

Associate Professor Anne Tiernan’s (pictured) presentation focussed on bridging the policy gap: integrating lessons learned from response and recovery into policy processes.

A/Prof Tiernan said the event showcased Griffith University as a leader in the field of disaster management and policy research.

“Events such as Hurricane Katrina and the Queensland floods have heightened the awareness of the critical importance of coordination in crisis and disaster management,” she said. “Our research focuses on the capacity to coordinate and deliver across the three tier of government in Australia’s federal system. We also seek to identify barriers and impediments to building greater individual and community resilience in times of disaster.”

“Australia’s disaster management system is far from perfect, but it has shown itself to be flexible, responsive, capable of learning, and adaptive to new information and circumstances. However, despite Australia’s success, a lack of policy and funding framework has meant that lessons learned in response and recovery efforts are not being effectively integrated back into prevention and preparedness.”

A/Prof Tiernan said that in order to bridge this policy gap in Australia, urgent attention and action by government is required.

“Developing an integrated policy framework that shifts the allocation of effort and resources will be difficult, but it is necessary to achieve our goals,” she said. “Collaboration between researchers and policy-makers, the sustained commitment of all levels of government, and creative policy thinking can transcend existing programs and funding frameworks.”

Presenters at the forum also discussed disaster management issues, including post-disaster management, enhancing commonwealth leadership, disaster project management training, and lessons from the United States national preparedness policy.

For further information on disaster and crisis management research in the School of Government and International Relations, visit griffith.edu.au/research/disaster-crisis-management.

This story was contributed by Janna Mallon