Review of Australian Disaster Resilience Handbooks

Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience is commencing a Strategic Alignment Review of the Australian Disaster Resilience Handbooks

The original Australian Emergency Manual Series (‘Manual Series’) were first produced in 1989. Since 2016, AIDR, on behalf of the Australian Government, has been the curator and custodian of the handbooks and manuals, providing guidance on the national principles and practices in disaster risk reduction and resilience in Australia. The Handbooks:

  • provide an authoritative, trusted and freely available source of knowledge about disaster resilience principles and key areas of disaster risk reduction and resilience practice in Australia
  • align national disaster resilience strategy and policy with practice, by guiding and supporting jurisdictions, agencies and other organisations and individuals in their implementation and adoption of knowledge
  • highlight and promote the adoption of good practice in reducing risk and building disaster resilience in Australia
  • build interoperability between jurisdictions, agencies, the private sector, local businesses, and community groups by promoting use of a common language and coordinated, nationally agreed principles and approaches.

The Handbook Collection is developed and reviewed by national consultative working groups and/or steering committees representing a range of state and territory agencies, governments, organisations, and individuals involved in disaster resilience. There are currently 19 handbooks and 48 companion documents. The handbooks are reviewed on a 5 yearly cycle.

At a time of significant national policy activity with the creation of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), the imminent release of the 2nd National Action Plan for the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework, and an increasingly complex hazard and disasterscape, it is timely to review the current handbook topics to ensure that:

  1. They are relevant for the current policy environment and mapped against the relevant national disaster management frameworks, including the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework, the Australian Disaster Preparedness Framework and the Australian Disaster Recovery Principles.
  2. Any overlaps, gaps or inconsistencies in handbooks purpose and content is identified.
  3. The context for the handbooks is informed by a systemic risk approach and issues relating to intersectionality are addressed.
  4. Any gaps are identified and prioritised for action.
  5. The program of work is feasible within the current resourcing arrangements.

The review commences now, and it is anticipated that it will conclude in October 2023, to inform the handbooks program of work. Further information on how to participate in the review will be forthcoming. If you want to know more about what we are doing, please contact John Richardson, Manager, Knowledge Development (