Natural hazards impact on every Australian State and Territory. These hazards include bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods, landslides, severe weather, tsunami, and volcanoes. The phenomena threaten lives and damage private and public assets as well as disrupt water, power, transport, and communication services. These hazards and their associated impacts also can seriously affect employment and incomes to industry, agriculture, commerce and public administration.

In Australia, natural hazards are estimated to cost an average of A$1.25 billion annually (BTE, 2001), but the cost of individual hazards can be much greater. For example, in 1989 an earthquake cost the community in the New South Wales city of Newcastle an estimated A$4.5 billion.Natural hazards cannot be averted, but their consequences can be minimised by implementing mitigation strategies and reducing the potential impact to areas which are most vulnerable.As part of its extensive work on natural hazard risk research, Geoscience Australia monitors and assesses earth-surface processes which pose a risk to Australia. It gathers data and develops tools for use by governments and other authorities to help them make Australia as safe as possible from natural hazards.