Resilience must be built into all infrastructure to avert climate risks

As Australia grapples with widespread flooding and increased risks of tropical cyclones and heat waves, the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) has called for resilience to be built into the planning for all future Australian infrastructure.

In a statement launched today, the Academy has officially taken the position that 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.”

“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.”

“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 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.

The Academy, which is comprised of over 900 of Australia’s leading engineers, applied scientists and technologists looks forward to advising the Australian Government and industry on shaping a more comprehensive approach to planning for resilience in all facets of Australian infrastructure.

Media contact:

Edwyn Shiell
Director, Communications & Outreach
0402 254 968


The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is a Learned Academy of independent experts helping Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.