Developing ‘resilient communities’ that ‘share responsibility’ – issues for law.
DrMichael EburnANU College of LawThe Australian National UniversityCANBERRA ACT 0200P: + 61 2 6125 6424E: [email protected]
Adelaide, 18 July2013
The National Strategy
This presentation will consider two questions:Who can ‘share responsibility’? andWhat’s the ultimate goal?
These questions are important to law
Law can be used to assign or allocate responsibility before the event, but to who?Law can attribute responsibility after the event, but needs to have a standard by which to measure the outcome.
Who can share responsibility?
Only those with legal standing:Natural persons (you and I);Corporations;Governments;Not‘communities’.
“Group responsibility is “collective” in the sense that it falls on the group as an abstract entity [but] … there can be no such thing as collective responsibility as there can be no abstract entities”(Cane, P, 2002,Responsibilityin law andmorality,(Hart: Portland,Oregon) p.171).
Doesthe shareof responsibility reflect
Capacity:“… thereare some areas in which the state… willbe more capable thanindividuals...the state should therefore assume greater responsibility for working to minimise those risks.’’(2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission,Final Report).Or, trust?
What’s the aim? What’s the ‘measure of success’?
A safe community?An informed community?No-one dies?Death’s are minimised?“cost-effective, evidence-based disaster mitigation…”(COAG, 2003,NaturalDisasters in Australia: Reforming mitigation, relief andrecovery).
The aims are political
“While some…see politics as expediency, it is integral to the process of securing defensible outcomes.Weare unable to combine values,interestsand resources in wayswhichare notpolitical”.(Davis, Glyn et al., 1993,Public policy in Australia(2nded, Allen andUnwin, Sydney), p 257)
The aims are political
“While some…see politics as expediency, it is integral to the process of securing defensible outcomes.Weare unable to combinevalues, interestsandresourcesin ways which are notpolitical”.(Davis, Glyn et al., 1993,Public policy in Australia(2nded, Allen andUnwin, Sydney), p 257)
The 1:100 year flood standard(seeWenger, C, Hussey, K,PittockJ, 2013,Living with floods: key lessons from Australiaand abroad, National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, GoldCoast,pp193-197).
‘Costsblow out more than $40m…’
“FLOOD mitigation plans for the Brown Hill Creek catchment area have … ballooned from $105 million to $147 million … while the five catchment councils continue to debate whether a dam is the best option to protect 7000 homes from flooding.”(That’s $21000 per house).EmmaAltschwager‘Costs blow out more than $40m forBrownhillCreek floodmitigation plan’ Eastern Courier Messenger4 September 2012.
Was this the appropriate reaction to Black Saturday?
“Whatcan be done toensurethat so many lives are not lost, that so muchdevastationis not caused, in such bushfires in the future.”(2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission,Chairman’s Opening Remarks, 20 April2009; emphasis added).
To use law to give effect to the National Strategy we need to:Understand what we mean and intend by ‘community’; andUnderstand that the preferred outcomes to any risk is political.
Michael EburnP:02 6125 6424E:[email protected]