Preparing for the unprecedented: implementation of the Report of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements

The Black Summer bushfires were the most destructive fire season in Australia in 20 years, and grasped international attention.

Following this fire season, The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements was formed to examine how prepared Australia is to respond to bushfires and other natural disasters.

The Commission presented its report in October 2020, outlining its recommendations. These included looking to the future to consider national disaster arrangements, not just for bushfires, but for all naturally occurring, rapid onset events that seriously disrupt Australian communities.

The next important step to consider is how will government, industry and society go about the challenge of implementing the Commission’s wide-ranging recommendations?

This expert panel brings together academics from across the ANU to discuss this question, and the recommendations of the latest Royal Commission, focusing on the barriers, opportunities, and practicalities of implementation. The panel will focus on four key areas – national arrangements, the role of the defence forces, health and land management.

This event has been organised by the Disaster Risk Science Institute, the Fenner School of Environment & Society, and the Climate Change Institute at The Australian National University.



  • Hon A/Prof Michael Eburn (College of Law): National Disaster Arrangements
  • Prof Brendan Sargent (Coral Bell School of Asia Pacific Affairs): The role of the Australian Defence Force
  • Dr Arnagretta Hunter (ANU Medical School): Health
  • Prof Peter Kanowski (Fenner School of Environment and Society): Land Management


This public event will be followed up by targeted, sector-focused workshops scheduled for 2021. If you would like to be informed about these workshops, please register your interest by emailing