This report looks at the costs and long-term social impacts of natural disasters in Australia, including those on health and wellbeing, education, employment and community network. This report uses three case studies from different regions and periods - the 2010–2011 Queensland floods, the 2009 Victoria Black Saturday bushfires and the 1989 Newcastle earthquake - and assesses the tangible and intangible costs of the most recent two events.
The report finds the social costs of natural disasters in 2015 were at least equal to the physical costs, and it makes four key recommendations:
- pre-and-post-disaster funding should better reflect the long-term nature of social impacts;
- a collaborative approach involving government, business, not-for-profits and community is needed to address the medium- and long-term economic costs of the social impacts of natural disasters;
- governments, businesses and communities need to further invest in community resilience programs that drive learning and sustained behaviour change;
- further research must be done into ways of quantifying the medium- and long-term costs of the social impacts of natural diasters.