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Hazards research group puts focus on mitigation

Mitigation is a priority for natural hazards research over the next decade, according to a report based on consultation with experts.

The Bushfire and Natural Hazards Co-operative Research Centre priorities paper aims to focus research efforts and funding in key areas over the next decade, and promote collaboration.

Centre CEO Richard Thornton says better quantification of the long-term costs and benefits of mitigation is needed, as various infrastructure projects fight for funding from stretched government budgets.

An analysis of benefits from mitigation projects in Launceston is under way, but Dr Thornton says similar post-event studies in Australia have been largely missing.

“We need more effort in understanding that,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“From a government perspective, we are asking them to find money to do something today that they may not see a benefit from for quite some time, whereas they are still paying out response and recovery money.”

Other priority areas include climate change impacts, predictive services and warnings, and promoting shared responsibility and community engagement.

Dr Thornton says more accurate prediction of events will reduce loss of life and improve responses and preventative actions.

“The disasters we face today, although natural at the core, are really man-made and reflect the culmination of our decisions of where and how we live,” Dr Thornton says in the report.

“In most cases we cannot tame these natural hazards. What we need to do is change the ways in which we live with the hazards on the Australian continent.”

The report is the first of its type by the research centre, and follows a series of workshops.

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