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Resilience planning is essential for future infrastructure


According to the Academy of Technology Sciences and Engineering (ATSE), resilience measures must be incorporated into the planning of all Australian infrastructure to prevent climate risks.

When releasing his Sustainability Position StatementATSE called for measures to deal with the expected increase in natural disasters such as floods, heat waves and tropical cyclones.

ATSE president Professor Hugh Bradlow said “the location, timing and severity of bushfires, cyclones, storms, floods and heatwaves are highly uncertain – and the degrees of uncertainty and severity will increase due to climate change”.

To reduce these risks, ATSE wants to take urgent planning action in the transport, energy, water, social, waste management and digital infrastructure sectors to ensure future-proof supply chains, national security, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

“We cannot overlook the importance of sustainability in everything we design and implement. This deserves significant consideration if we are to address the high likelihood of climate change impacts on our vulnerable country,” said Professor Bradlow.

“Our goal should be to create sustainable systems. Therefore, a more comprehensive approach to the adaptation of the infrastructure system is needed, and the best chances for this are at the design stage of infrastructure projects.”

Professor Bradlow pointed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine as examples of how events can quickly leave Australia vulnerable to supply chain disruptions.

“These extreme events highlight the need to adopt and use more evidence-based decision-making tools so that resilience can be built into planning systems and we can plan for an uncertain future with greater confidence,” he said.

“Thanks to advances in technology, risk assessment monitoring and modeling is now easier to do. Such risk assessments allow infrastructure to be future-ready and should be central to system design.”

ATSE’s position statement notes that achieving resilience depends on infrastructure that must be designed with the four ‘Rs’ in mind: resilience, redundancy, resourcefulness and rapid recovery.

“This comprehensive approach is fundamental to enhancing the resilience of Australia’s future planning processes and helps infrastructure owners, designers and operators create resilient infrastructure that is suitable for hazardous events,” Professor Bradlow said.

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