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Disaster Management Expert Heads Review Of Disaster Governance

10 July 2023

An Independent Review of National Natural Disaster Governance Arrangements has been commissioned by Australia’s emergency management ministers, to better prepare governments for the demands of increasing future natural disasters.

The Review will examine how national governance arrangements could more effectively serve national natural disaster preparedness, response, recovery, resilience and long-term policy requirements.

Due for completion by 30 November 2023, the Review has been commissioned to complement the Independent Review into Commonwealth Disaster FundingExternal Link , which is being led by Mr Andrew Colvin, APM OAM.

The Governance Review is being led by climate change and disaster management expert Dr Robert Glasser from the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI).

As part of the Review, Dr Glasser will also consider establishing an authoritative disaster advisory body and expanding the remit of the National Emergency Management Ministers' Meeting (NEMMM) - a Ministerial Council reporting to National Cabinet.

The NEMMM brings together emergency management portfolio ministers across jurisdictions to drive national cooperation and consistency on enduring strategic issues in emergency and disaster management, and resilience.

Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, who chairs the NEMMM, said ensuring the disaster response was fit for purpose across jurisdictions will deliver the best results for disaster-prone communities.

“All Ministers responsible for disaster response understand that we do better through strong cooperation and by planning ahead, not waiting for disasters to strike,” Minister Watt said.

“If we are as prepared as possible at a government level, we can ensure communities get help fast.

“The Albanese Government is committed to looking at what can be done better, to build a better prepared, more resilient Australia.

"Dr Glasser has the right skills and experience to lead the Review, and will ensure the views of all state and territory governments and key stakeholders are taken into account.”

Victorian Acting Minister for Emergency Services Anthony Carbines said the Review highlighted the importance of strengthening national coordination and cooperation for disaster management, by ensuring all states and territories had a say on the effectiveness of governance processes.

“We’ve said all along that locals know best when it comes to what they need to recover – as communities experience more frequent and severe emergencies governments must work together to support those on the front line.” Minister Carbines said.

“Councils have told us that the less red tape, the better when it comes to disaster response – it’s our hope that this Review helps cut some of that down and ensures decisions are made quickly, clearly and informed by local knowledge.”

All levels of government, the community and private sector will be engaged to provide input, with further desktop reviews and research to inform the final report.

A Working Group consisting of representatives from the Australian and state and territory governments and the Australian Local Government Association is being established to support Dr Glasser.

The Review is being conducted in response to recommendations from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.


Dr Glasser is the Head of the ASPI Climate and Security Policy Centre and Honorary Professor at the Australian National University Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions.

Previously Dr Glasser held the role of the United Nations Secretary General’s Special Representative for Disaster Risk Reduction and a member of the United Nations Secretary General’s Senior Management Group, and was also the Secretary General of CARE International, which employed over 10,000 staff and is active in 80 countries.

Reviewed 10 July 2023

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