Black swan in the engine room: Australia’s ability to manage catastrophic disaster in the Pilbara.

5 Oct 2012

Australia is experiencing an unprecedented expansion of its minerals and energy sectors. The Pilbara region of northwest Western Australia is a significant part of this outcome.
Much of this involves on- and off-shore facilities that are vulnerable to natural disasters, industrial accidents and, potentially, acts of sabotage and other forms of violence and destruction.
A relatively minor disruption may result in a significant and costly loss of production. Nor is the cost restricted to export earnings: loss of employment, environmental damage and the impact on local, regional and national economies cannot be under-estimated. To help prevent and alleviate such disasters, Australia requires a national capability. This capability must be able to plan for such disasters. It must have an analytical and research capacity, the ability to develop the necessary doctrine and capabilities and the authority to deploy and direct assets.

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