Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Engineers calls for built-in resilience in infrastructure planning

The Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has called for resilience to be built into the planning for all future Australian infrastructure, as International Disaster Reduction Day is marked globally today.

The Academy, which is comprised of over 900 of Australia’s leading engineers, applied scientists and technologists, says urgent planning across transport, energy, water, social, waste and digital infrastructure is needed to future-proof supply chains, national security, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.

ATSE President, Professor Hugh Bradlow FTSE said, “the location, timing and severity of bushfires, cyclones, storms, floods and heat waves are highly uncertain – and the degrees of uncertainty and severity are set to increase due to climate change.”

ATSE President, Professor Hugh Bradlow.

“The importance of resilience in everything we design, and implement cannot be overlooked. It warrants far great attention if we are to confront the high probability of climate change impacts across our vulnerable nation,” he said.

“Our goal must be to establish resilient systems. Therefore, a more comprehensive approach to infrastructure system adaptation is necessary and the best chances for doing so are at the design stages of infrastructure projects.

“COVID-19 and the war on Ukraine have also starkly illuminated Australia’s vulnerability to supply chain issues. These extreme events underscore the need for the uptake and use of more evidence-based decision-making tools so resilience can be built into planning systems, and we can plan with greater confidence for an uncertain future.

“With advances in technology, monitoring and modelling of risk assessments are now easier to undertake. Such risk assessments allow infrastructure to be future-ready and should be central in system design,” said Professor Bradlow.

The Academy’s position statement notes that achieving resilience relies on infrastructure to be designed to include robustness, redundancy, resourcefulness, and rapid recovery.

“This comprehensive approach is fundamental for building resilience into Australia’s future planning processes and supports infrastructure owners, designers and operators to create sustainable infrastructure fit to whether hazardous events,” said Professor Bradlow.

Link to download the ATSE Resilience Position Statement

ATSE Explainer on Probabilistic Risk Assessment

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