About environmental incidents and disasters

Australian landscapes and ecosystems have been shaped by adaptation and evolution through millennia of natural phenomena, including flood, drought, fire and cyclones.

Our environment is affected by a mix of complex human-caused threats (such as invasive species, land clearing, urbanisation and natural resource use), which have reduced the state’s natural resilience to large-scale natural events and man-made disasters.

This, coupled with the anticipated increased number of extreme events in future years, means that our environment and natural resources are more vulnerable to environmental incidents and disasters.

What is the difference between an incident and a disaster?

An environmental incident is any incident that has the capacity to threaten or cause environmental harm. Environmental harm being any adverse effect, or potential adverse effect (whether temporary or permanent and of whatever magnitude, duration or frequency) on an environmental value, and includes environmental nuisance.

A disaster is a serious disruption in a community, caused by the impact of an event that requires a significant coordinated response by the State and other entities to help the community to recover from the disruption.