Australia has a national resilience-based approach to disaster management designed to enhance its capacity to withstand and recover from emergencies and disasters The National Strategy for Disaster Resilience.
The South Australian Government is investing in effective disaster resilience measures targeted at a local level that will provide a foundation for government, businesses, and community to work together to survive, adapt and grow, no matter what happens Disaster Resilience Strategy.
South Australia’s disaster resilience strategy is informed by global best practice and community consultation and aligns to the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, and is supported through various legislation including The Fire and Emergency Services Act 2005 and The Emergency Management Act 2004
Whilst climate impacts are happening globally, South Australia faces some unique challenges. It has a population of 1.67 million (7.25% of Australia’s) and is one of the least densely populated states in the world. The landscape includes desert that is some of the most arid parts of the Australian continent, mountain ranges and a coastline stretching more than 3,700 kilometres. South Australia has less sudden impact disasters compared to the rest of Australia, but it has the highest number of heat related deaths per capita.
"South Australia is the driest state in the driest inhabited continent on earth."
The summer of 2019-20 brought bushfires that burned across Australia. The fires in South Australia burnt 278,603 hectares of land, and resulted in more than 1180 homes and buildings being destroyed or damaged. Sadly, three people died.
The emergency response was immediate and within months more than $79 million had been invested by the State in grant programs and other initiatives to help fire-affected communities recover and rebuild.
An interim report that tells the story, including recovery efforts to date, can be found at South Australia 2019-20 Bushfire Recovery Report.
The South Australian Government has also released its comprehensive response to the Independent Bushfire Review. A total of 68 findings and 15 recommendations were identified as part of this Review and five key themes highlighted:
- Additional support and resources for volunteers, including extra staff and equipment
- Better protection for critical assets
- Enhanced communications and technology
- Improved information before, during and after bushfires
- Improved mental health support for Emergency Services Sector
The State is continuing to build upon its Disaster Resilience Strategy through:
- reform under the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016 that will make significant changes to planning regulations, policies, and processes for planning approvals
- Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plans developed by councils across SA that identify opportunities to mitigate the impact of climate change risks through adapting and building resilience
- Local Government Council Ready programs that provide a coordinated approach to local government emergency management planning
- The Lifelines Capability Plan for access to emergency support such as cash, fuel and food