Ensuring Australia's Community Safety


Natural hazards, particularly cyclones, bushfires, floods, and earthquakes, have a significant impact on the economy, environment and society. The direct costs of property and infrastructure damage and business losses are significant, as are governments' outlays in relief and recovery payments.

Australia's ability to effectively mitigate the impacts of natural hazards and disasters is contingent upon the availability of information on the incidence and impact of specific hazards and on early warning and advice.

Our Role

Support Australia's capability to manage the impact of natural hazards.

Desired outcomes

  • Australia has a national capability to reduce the economic, social and environmental impacts of hazard events.
  • Informed decisions can be made in preparation for and in response to hazard events.
  • Ongoing monitoring, alerting and early warning systems provide critical inputs to reducing the impacts of hazard events.

Work Activities and Capability

Community Safety

To enable governments, businesses and the community to better understand the impacts of hazard events and make informed decisions to develop more resilient communities, Geoscience Australia delivers authoritative, nationally consistent data and information.

Geoscience Australia supports all levels of government in implementing key initiatives of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience and the national mitigation reform agenda. Geoscience Australia will undertake national scale hazard assessments, develop an understanding of the impact of natural hazards on the built environment and provide advice and information to support hazard impact mitigation.

Geoscience Australia will also support the Australian Government in implementing their international policy commitments for disaster risk reduction, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region, and continue to provide ongoing support to the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation.

Seismic Alerts

Geoscience Australia operates extensive networks of observatories and geophysical monitoring stations that are monitored 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Combining seismological expertise with current technology enables Geoscience Australia to provide real-time seismic information and analysis.

This capability underpins:

  • the delivery of rapid earthquake bulletins for tsunami warning and earthquake emergency response, including the provision of information and advice to support national and local emergency management planning, coordination and response, and to inform the media and the public
  • the production and management of the Australian earthquake catalogue, that supports seismology research
  • the provision of rapid and robust advice to government in response to suspected nuclear events, including post-event, forensic analysis.

Situational Awareness Information Framework

Natural hazards can have a significant impact on Australian communities, and requires a coordinated approach to preparedness, mitigation, response and recovery. Informed decision making by government, business and the community depends upon access to accurate, reliable and relevant location information, delivered at the right time and in forms easy to consume.

Geoscience Australia delivers relevant location information on the nature, extent and potential impacts of natural hazards to the Australian Government. This 'situational awareness' information is used by our stakeholders to minimise the threat of hazards on our infrastructure and community, provide effective response to and recovery from disasters, and make navigation safe.

Geoscience Australia leads the curation of and connection to location information products which support Australian Government community safety policies and operations. These products are derived from Australia's foundation spatial datasets and include the National Exposure Information System, location information products for Airservices Australia and the Sentinel Hotspots bushfire monitoring system.

Strategic Priorities and Performance Criteria

Geoscience Australia's work program is delivered through six key strategic priority areas. Each priority area outlines the role of the organisation, the desired outcomes to be achieved, and the core work activities and capabilities.

Geoscience Australia's performance will be assessed using a number of qualitative and quantitative measures to communicate a comprehensive view of performance that will be presented in the organisation's annual performance statement. Performance measures will include assessment against key work deliverables, key performance indicators and case studies.

Deliverables 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Community Safety        
Release hazard assessments for: Australian Tsunami, National Seismic and Tropical Cyclone      
Provide information, advice, data and tools to prepare for and respond to hazards events and threats
Deliver on hazard mitigation strategies and impact forecasting projects through the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre program      
Deliver the technical Disaster Risk Reduction work program in Papua New Guinea as part of the Australian Government's international policy commitments      
Deliver portfolio analysis and Central Business District models for the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation
Seismic Alerts        
Provide ongoing monitoring of specified regions for detection of suspected nuclear tests
Provide 24 hour, 7 days per week earthquake monitoring and alerts
Situational Awareness Information Framework        
Provide spatial support and advice to strengthen disaster and emergency management capabilities for the Australian Government
Deliver updated information products to Airservices Australia to support air safety
Develop and deliver updated information exposure information to support Australian Government programs
Key Performance Indicators 2018-2019 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022
Number of flood study entries accessible to the public through the Australian Flood Risk Information Portal 1300 1400 1500 1600
All significant earthquakes detected, analysed and reported within agreed timeframes, with alerts issued for potentially tsunamigenic earthquakes 100% 100% 100% 100%
All suspected nuclear events detected, analysed and reported within agreed timeframes 100% 100% 100% 100%
Availability of the national bushfire monitoring system, Sentinel Hotspots, between October and March each year 95% 95% 95% 95%
Respond to requests to activate the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters and Copernicus Emergency Management System within 72 hours 100% 100% 100% 100%
Respond to requests for geospatial information to the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre within 24 hours between October and March and within 48 hours during steady state periods 95% 95% 95% 95%
National vertical obstacle products comply with Civil Aviation Regulations and are delivered monthly, or as specified, to Airservices Australia 100% 100% 100% 100%
Availability of the national catalogue of emergency management web services, EM-LINK 95% 95% 95% 95%