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Flood Risk in Australia: Whose Responsibility Is It, Anyway?
Department of Environment and Geography, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia
Stockholm Environment Institute, Bangkok 10330, Thailand
Risk Frontiers, Macquarie University, Sydney 2109, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 5 August 2013; in revised form: 27 August 2013 / Accepted: 18 September 2013 / Published: 7 October 2013
Abstract: This paper presents research into four key stakeholders in flood risk management in Australia: local councils, the insurance industry, the State Emergency Service (SES), and local residents; examining the perception of their own roles and responsibilities, and those of the other stakeholders. Key informant interviews were conducted in four locations—Brisbane and Emerald, in Queensland, Dora Creek, in New South Wales, and Benalla, in Victoria. We find that understanding of the roles and responsibilities of each stakeholder varied considerably between research participants. Insurance representatives felt their concerns about increasing flood risk costs were unheeded until the 2010–2011 floods made them the “canary in the coal mine”. Councils felt they had limited options for reducing flood risk. SES representatives felt they were too relied upon for event response, with requests for assistance outstripping their capacity to assist, and many residents were uncertain how to prepare for flood, relying on emergency agencies and the local council to protect them. Key lessons for flood risk management in Australia are (a) an urgent need for all stakeholders to better understand each others’ roles and responsibilities; and (b) residents must take greater responsibility for their own personal protection. Only then can the vision of shared responsibility presented by the 2009 National Strategy for Disaster Resilience be achieved.
Keywords: flood risk management; responsibility; stakeholders; perception; 2010–2011 floods; Australia
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MDPI and ACS Style
Box, P.; Thomalla, F.; van den Honert, R. Flood Risk in Australia: Whose Responsibility Is It, Anyway? Water 2013, 5, 1580-1597.
Box P, Thomalla F, van den Honert R. Flood Risk in Australia: Whose Responsibility Is It, Anyway? Water. 2013; 5(4):1580-1597.
Box, Pamela; Thomalla, Frank; van den Honert, Robin. 2013. "Flood Risk in Australia: Whose Responsibility Is It, Anyway?" Water 5, no. 4: 1580-1597.