The extent to which governments learn from recommendations from reviews into natural disasters and emergencies in Australia is not always clear. However, reviews from a specific jurisdiction or agency may have valuable lessons for other agencies, states and territories.

Recommendations from formal post-event inquiries and reviews are only useful if they are easily accessible for emergency management practitioners to refer to over time. Recognising this, the Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC (BNHCRC) recently published the Disaster Inquiries Database that captures outcomes from over 300 inquiries and reviews into emergency management and natural hazards across all jurisdictions in Australia between 1886 and 2017.

Aither’s Martijn Gough and Lawson Cole with partners Steve Dovers and Michael Eburn lead an investigation of post-event reviews that occurred between 2009 and 2017 for the BNHCRC and the Australasian Fire and Emergency Service Authorities Council (AFAC) in 2017 that helped to inform the development of the database.

Aither’s project revealed a number of recurring recommendations covering topics ranging from the doctrine, plans, and standards adopted by the emergency management sector to occupational health and safety.

BNHCRC’s Disaster Inquiries Database will enable more extensive analysis, providing the capability for emergency management practitioners to learn from over 130 years of inquiries and reviews in emergency management across Australia. The database is a substantial improvement in the sector’s previous capability to manage lessons from across multiple jurisdictions, emergency types and years.