Supporting development of a natural disaster impact forecasting capability
In 2018–19 PEAN worked to develop a stronger evidence base on the impacts of natural disasters like storms and floods. This pilot project was of limited success. The project explored opportunities to add value to the richness of data in the National Exposure Information System (NEXIS) by adding other Australian Government data on access to services and benefits. NEXIS combines national and jurisdictional data holdings to characterise Australia’s buildings, businesses, demographics, infrastructure, essential services, agricultural commodities and environmental exposure. Information about the exposure to natural hazards is crucial for informing disaster related decisions.
PEAN used transactional data from the Multi-Agency Data Integration Project (MADIP), the Business Longitudinal Analysis Data Environment (BLADE) and other Australian Government data holdings to better understand community and business responses to historical disaster events. This enabled the exploration of data to compare disaster relief, recovery and mitigation activities for past natural disasters in a local government area, the Rockhampton Regional Council area in Queensland.
Analysis across the project’s datasets was not able to provide the level of visibility expected on the cost of disasters to the Australian Government. It was difficult to adequately compare the project datasets as each dataset was provided in different scales of space and time. Analysis results were aggregated to a level where it made it difficult to draw inferences. The community and business impacts and outcomes observed using this model could have been influenced by a range of factors unrelated to natural disaster events.
The methods developed for the project may enable subsequent work exploring how to best develop broad scale information from available data to deepen the understanding of potential impacts of natural disasters. There is a potential opportunity in the future to expand the PEAN forecasting capability to access and integrate data from other sources in a manner suited to emergency management needs. This could then provide a more complete picture to inform decision makers and enable the implementation of evidence based recovery assistance measures.
The project lead for PEAN was Geoscience Australia, with support from the Australian Bureau of Statistics.