The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements has provided a comprehensive critique of the major issues facing Australia as the effects of climate change-influenced natural hazards increase in intensity and frequency across the nation.

The Commission’s final report bookends most of the significant issues facing not only governments, but all sectors of society as we collectively continue to experience the devastating consequences of these hazards.

Key themes emerging from the inquiry findings include the need for a clearer role for the Australian Government, more clearly defined roles for the Australian Defence Force, and improved decision making and coordination capacity between and across all sectors of society.

The importance of essential services and the critical infrastructure that supports them is of particular focus as is the need for improved emergency information and warnings, evacuation planning, and public and private land management. Public health, air quality, wildlife and heritage, and indigenous land management along with improved relief and recovery services, coordination and financial assistance are also given significant focus.

The need for improved assurance and accountability concomitant with research and emerging technology was also given attention. And finally, the need for improvements in data, information, intelligence and knowledge underpins almost every aspect of the report’s recommendations and is foundational to positioning the nation in preparation for future disasters that, in all likelihood, will be even more intense.

This report provides a perspective into which of the government recommendations should be adopted, as well as exploring the essence of business resilience. Irrespective of what hazards, threats, or perils that we face, reducing vulnerability and increasing adaptive capacity to build effective resilience that in turn needs to be negotiated through democratic processes of inclusivity will offer effective resilience to any aspect of a community, society, business sector, or marketplace, whether it be seeking to achieve social, cultural, economic, or environmental resilience.

Adopting this principled approach to resilience opens up genuine possibilities for ensuring that entities are well positioned to sustain a resilience posture within a world of increasing ambiguity, complexity, and uncertainty.

Successful resilience starts by realising that without exception, we all share to greater or lesser degrees in our capacity to be vulnerable to the effects of hazards, threats and perils. It is this shared vulnerability and our desire to reduce our susceptibility to harm while increasing our individual and collective ability to cope and adapt that binds us to a unifying purpose, for no reasonable person ever genuinely wishes suffering upon oneself or another. Therefore, we must bring to bear all of our collective knowledge, power, wealth and resources to create the circumstances for each of us individually and collectively to successfully navigate the complexities of disasters and emerge as wiser, more complete human beings that desire brighter futures for all.

Mark Crosweller AFSM
Former Head of the National Resilience Taskforce
Senior Advisor to KPMG

KPMG's resilience self-assessment tool

In addition to this report, KPMG has developed a resilience self-assessment tool, introducing the breadth of resilience considerations to our clients and comparing anonymously across sectors.