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Surviving the Era of Disasters

By Robert Glasser

Public address by Dr Robert Glasser, ASPI Visiting Fellow & former Assistant Secretary-General and Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction, United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).

Australia is on the cusp of a new Era of Disasters that will have profound implications for how we organise ourselves to defend Australian lives, economic interests and our way of life. The early warning of this new era is arriving almost daily in news reports from around the world of record-setting droughts, bushfires, floods and storms.

In this address, Dr Glasser describes the main features of this emerging Era of Disasters. He argues that it is becoming increasingly problematic for Australia to base its disaster management strategies, policy assumptions, operational arrangements and funding on our historical experience of disasters in a stable climate.

He proposes suggested changes required at Commonwealth, State and local levels to address the scale of the emerging threat and describes some specific, practical steps to initiate the required transformation.