Supporting Australia's Community Safety


The impact of disasters on Australia’s economy, environment and society can be significant and includes loss of life, loss of property and infrastructure, disruption to business and disruption to our livelihoods. Our cities and regional centres, and their supporting infrastructure, are expanding as populations grow. This increases our exposure and vulnerability to hazards. The forecast cost of disasters is expected to increase with our growing population and valuable assets expanding into areas vulnerable to hazards and a changing climate.

To be better prepared, and to make informed decisions to reduce disaster risk, Australia depends on availability of hazard, vulnerability and exposure information.

Our Role

Geoscience Australia provides disaster risk information to help Australians understand the consequences of hazard events, contributing to more resilient communities now and in the future.

10 Year Targets

  • We will reduce the impact of disasters for all Australians
  • We will provide nationally consistent data, information and advice to enable informed decisions on preparedness and response to the impact of hazards
  • We will advance our understanding of Australia’s hazards and vulnerability of the built environment to support mitigation and reduce the cost of disasters
  • We will provide ongoing real-time monitoring, analysis and advice on significant earthquakes and potentially tsunamigenic earthquakes to help safeguard Australian and Indian Ocean communities

Work Activities and Capability

Community Safety

The Community Safety program develops and delivers authoritative nationally consistent disaster risk data and information to support evidence-based decision making to prepare for hazard events and to better manage their impact.

This program supports all levels of government in implementing key initiatives of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework and the development of the National Disaster Risk Information Services Capability.

The program also contributes to the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation established by the Australian Government through our predictive modelling of insured losses in the event of a suspected terrorist incident.

This work also supports the implementation of international commitments under the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction through working with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in delivering their international strategies and policies for Disaster Risk Reduction, particularly in the Indo-Pacific region.

Seismic Alerts

The Seismic Alerts program provides 24/7 monitoring, analysis and notification of earthquakes and suspected nuclear weapons test explosions to the Australian Government.

The program delivers information to the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre regarding earthquakes that have the potential to damage Australian and regional interests. The real-time earthquake advice provided supports emergency managers making decisions about resource deployment in the immediate aftermath of an earthquake.

We partner with the Bureau of Meteorology to provide the Joint Australian Tsunami Warning Centre that is used to forecast potential tsunami impacts on the Australian coastline and in issuing alerts. This information is a key contribution to the Indian Ocean Tsunami Warning and Mitigation System, and contributes to providing tsunami information for the South West Pacific.

Information on nuclear weapon test explosions is provided to the Australian Government for incorporation into national response to suspected breaches of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.

Exposure and Topographic Information

The Exposure and Topographic Information program delivers access to trusted information on Australia’s geography, and the exposure of businesses and infrastructure to disasters, for the purposes of disaster mitigation, recovery, response and preparation. This information is used by Australian Government entities, businesses and the general public. The program also informs and educates policy makers, operational officers and business owners to make better use of digital mapping tools and technology to lessen the impact of future disasters on business and the community.

Strategic Priorities and Performance Criteria

Geoscience Australia’s work program impacts six key areas of society. For each area, the environmental context, the role of the organisation, the long-term targets, and the work program activities and capabilities are described.

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.

Performance Measures 2019-2020 2020-2021 2021-2022 2022-2023
Community Safety        
Program deliverables        
Deliver nationally consistent data, information and advice to enable informed decisions on preparedness and response to the impact of hazards    
Deliver improved understanding of Australia’s hazards and vulnerability of the built environment to support mitigation and reduction in cost of disasters
Deliver the technical Disaster Risk Reduction work program in Papua New Guinea and the wider Pacific community as part of the Australian Government's international aid policy commitments  
Deliver modelling capability on estimated losses from suspected terrorism events to the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation    
Seismic Alerts        
Program deliverables        
Provide ongoing monitoring of specified regions for detection of suspected nuclear tests
Provide 24 hour, 7 days per week earthquake monitoring and alerts
Program key performance indicators        
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%
Exposure and topographic information        
Program deliverables        
Provide advice on the best use of digital mapping tools and technology to strengthen disaster and emergency management capabilities for the Australian Government    
Modernise the supply chains and delivery mechanisms for topographic information to the Department of Defence    
Improve the timeliness and reliability of the National Exposure Information System and the Australian Exposure Information Platform      
Program key performance indicators        
Availability of the national bushfire monitoring system, Digital Earth Australia Hotspots, between October and March each year 95% 95% 95% 95%
Response to requests to activate the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters and Copernicus Emergency Management System within 72 hours 100% 100% 100% 100%
Response to requests for location information from 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%
Availability of exposure reports from the Australian Exposure Information Platform 100% 100% 100% 100%
Availability of the national catalogue of emergency management web services, EM-LINK 95% 95% 95% 95%
Case Study
Use of openly available, authoritative information to reduce effort in disaster mitigation
This case study will use examples from some of Geoscience Australia's spatial data infrastructure to demonstrate how businesses, emergency management authorities and Australian Government entities have minimised the impact of disasters on assets and communities
Information would be drawn from the Australian Exposure Information Platform and case studies from other government entities including the Australian Government Crisis Coordination Centre and the North Queensland Livestock Industry Recovery Agency.