Predictive technology and natural hazards: Risk for Australian planning authorities?

Stickley, Amanda, Christensen, Sharon, Duncan, William, & Buchbach, Jacinta (2016) Predictive technology and natural hazards: Risk for Australian planning authorities? International Journal of Law in the Built Environment, 8(1), pp. 42-55.

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  • The object of this paper is to examine whether the improvements in technology that enhance community understanding of the frequency and severity of natural hazards also increased the risk of potential liability of planning authorities in negligence. In Australia, the National Strategy imposes a resilience based approach to disaster management and stresses that responsible land use planning can reduce or prevent the impact of natural hazards upon communities.


  • This paper analyses how the principles of negligence allocate responsibility for loss suffered by a landowner in a hazard prone area between the landowner and local government.


  • The analysis in this paper concludes that despite being able to establish a causal link between the loss suffered by a landowner and the approval of a local authority to build in a hazard prone area, it would be in the rarest of circumstances a negligence action may be proven.

Research limitations/implications

  • The focus of this paper is on planning policies and land development, not on the negligent provision of advice or information by the local authority.

Practical implications

  • This paper identifies the issues a landowner may face when seeking compensation from a local authority for loss suffered due to the occurrence of a natural hazard known or predicted to be possible in the area.


  • The paper establishes that as risk managers, local authorities must place reliance upon scientific modelling and predictive technology when determining planning processes in order to fulfill their responsibilities under the National Strategy and to limit any possible liability in negligence.

Impact and interest:

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ID Code: 93730
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Natural hazards, Land use planning, Predictive technology, Negligence
DOI: 10.1108/IJLBE-12-2015-0020
ISSN: 1756-1450
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Property Law (excl. Intellectual Property Law) (180124)
Divisions: Current > Research Centres > Commercial & Property Law Research Centre
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2016 Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright Statement: This article is (c) Emerald Group Publishing and permission has been granted for this version to appear here ( Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from
Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Deposited On: 15 Mar 2016 01:55
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2016 03:45

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