Impact Assessments – A Whole of Government Approach

The 6th Australian and New Zealand Disaster and Emergency Management Conference will be held this month over 22 – 23 May at The Star Gold Coast (previously Jupiter’s), Queensland.

Ms Nadine Hulme, A/Director Response and Recovery at the Office of Emergency Management, joins us to discuss ‘Impact Assessments – A Whole of Government Approach’.

Understanding the impacts a disaster has on a community is crucial for effective recovery operations. Historically, impact assessments have been ineffective for the two reasons, minimal or low quality data that limits useability and resource intensive processes that result in untimely and obsolete outputs.

NSW has reformed its processes to provide accurate and comprehensive impact assessments that can inform recovery operations in a timely fashion. Three products have been developed, each achieving a specific purpose within a varied timeframe.

Damage assessments provide spatial maps detailing damage to properties, businesses and infrastructure. The assessments are crucial to the recovery process by providing multiple agencies with information they require to inform their own operations. For example, Disaster Welfare Services used the damage assessments in the June 2016 NSW East Coast Low Storms to identify where outreach services should be provided.

NSW has revised its Emergency Operations Centre Impact Assessment template to facilitate comprehensive analysis of impacts to the local community. The assessment requires local agencies to provide interpretations of what the damages mean to the community. This assists with identifying what recovery arrangements are required.

The Whole of Government Impact Assessment Report synthesises information from all government data sources into a single report. The Report enables Recovery Coordinators, Recovery Committees and the executive recovery team to make operational decisions from a trusted authoritative and up to date source. The report provides maps, analysis and graphs to assist decision making.

The presentation at ANZDMC will describe the process undertaken, the learnings along the way and the results to date. Key to the project’s success was the Continuous Improvement Cycle, where new ideas were trialled during disaster events to identify what works and what can be improved.

For more information on the 2017 Australian & New Zealand Disaster & Emergency Management Conference and to secure your spot, visit