Dr Michael Rumsewicz,Editor-in-Chief, Australian Journal of Emergency Management

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Heatwave deaths outnumber the combined total of deaths from all other natural hazards across Australia. With the Australian severe weather season rapidly approaching, it is timely to publish two papers in this edition of the Australian Journal of Emergency Management that discuss advances in characterising heatwaves and attempts to forecast their potential impacts.

This heatwave focus introduces a selection of papers from the recent Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Forum of the AFAC16 annual conference. The conference theme, ‘Mitigation – Response – Recovery: Getting the Balance Right’ highlights the need to better understand how the interactions between community, business and government affect disaster resilience, and, ultimately, the long-term social and financial cost of disasters.

Robert Glasser’s opinion piece provides an excellent overview to the theme, highlighting the estimated $9 billion annual social and economic cost of disasters in Australia and why the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction includes specific targets for reducing damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services and economic losses.

Research articles in this edition span the mitigation, response and recovery spectrum, examining issues such as risk ownership and public-private partnerships, understanding and evaluating resilience, enhancing community engagement, improving decision-making during disasters, and re-building after major bushfires.

The full range of Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC Research Forum papers from AFAC16 is online at Papers from the AFAC16 conference ‘Mitigation – Response – Recovery: Getting the balance right’ are available at

And finally, a reminder that this will be the last edition of the Journal to be distributed free of charge as a printed version. Online access to the Journal will continue to be provided at no cost to email subscribers and through the website. To continue to receive printed copies of the Journal you can subscribe to future print issues through the AJEM website ( If you would prefer to receive the free email alert for the online edition so that you don’t miss out, you can subscribe to email alerts at

Dr Michael Rumsewicz

Australian Journal of Emergency Management
Australian Institute for Disaster Resilience
Bushfire and Natural Hazards CRC