Hazard Hack 2021

MONDAY 24 MAY 2021


HAZARD HACK 2021 – Virtual Think Tank

Monday 24 May 2021
11:00-15:15 AEST

Planners. Hacking. Hazard. Solutions.

Hazard Hack 2021 seeks to bring together policy, research, strategic and statutory planners from across Australia and internationally, with a role in planning for hazards to workshop tangible pathways to a more resilient future. Whether operating full-time in the hazards world, or periodically on specific projects, we invite you to participate in this half-day workshop ahead of Planning Festival 2021.

Hazards can be climatalogical, meteorological, geophysical, biological or anthropogenic.

This ‘meeting of minds’ seeks to unpack the common challenges faced in planning for hazards resilience across the different states, to identify pragmatic, innovative and best-practice approaches. Across the country, we recognise the diversity of our planning systems, and respective approaches to planning for diverse hazards. Hazard Hack allows us to come together to collaborate on shared challenges to identify opportunities to solve some wicked challenges.

Key points:


This is not a professional development event. The Hack intends to bring together strong minds as part of a think tank approach to identify innovative planning pathways for disaster risk reduction and community resilience.


The Hack will consider a range of hazards but may not go into detail on each as such. Rather, this group conversation, assisted by a series of panels comprising experts in their fields, is a strategic conversation about the role of planning in tackling some of the most wicked challenges of our times. We will consider the nature of risks to communities and the built and natural environments, and to the economy.


The Hack will occur in online virtual workshop format, with the cohort divided into smaller groups to unpack wicked challenges and identify innovative solutions and our pathways to resilience – a process where everyone, regardless of level of experience, has a voice.


All persons who sign up to participate will contribute to the conversation. The conversations will be guided and supported from a grassroots participation level, by a number of industry-leading experts (to be announced).


The outputs of Hazard Hack 2021 will inform a national planning platform which is intended to assist those at the leading edge of these challenges, to navigate toward stronger, more resilient communities.

Hazard Hack will explore three key themes:

1. Incorporating the consideration of hazard and risk into planning activities and decision making

2. Cities and systems risks and resilience to natural and other hazards

3. Planning for stronger, more resilient communities (equipping planners to equip our communities)

partnered with

Laura Gannon MPIA

Meridian Urban

Laura is a leading Australian risk-based land use planning and community resilience specialist with 15 years of diversified industry experience across the public and private sectors. Laura specialises in the integration of natural hazard risk management into policy and strategy, with a particular emphasis on bushfire risk and resilience and floodplain risk management. Laura’s approach seeks to ‘think differently’ in reconciling the often complex challenges associated with integrating land use planning, governance, emergency management and disaster risk mitigation processes.

Joel Taggart RPIA

SA Country Fire Services

Joel Taggart is a qualified Urban & Regional Planner with over 15 years’ experience in the field. His background has primarily involved development assessment and policy work in local government. Over the last 3 years he has further developed his expertise as a leader in the field of land use planning and bushfire hazard management. He currently is the Manager – Development Assessment Service at the SA Country Fire Service, and has been heavily involved in shaping and implementing the various planning reforms occurring in South Australia in recent times. In addition he is working closely with the SA Attorney General’s Department presently in developing new hazard  mapping and planning  policy for bushfire hazard across South Australia. Joel is also studying a Graduate Diploma of Bushfire Protection through the University of Western Sydney. Joel is also one of the Vice Presidents of the South Australian PIA Divisional Committee, as well as being a Registered Planner, a Level 1 Accredited Planning Professional in South Australia, and outside of work he is the Acting Chairperson of the Gumeracha Main Street Project.

Keynote speaker – Andrew Gissing

Risk Frontiers

Andrew Gissing is General Manager, Resilience at Risk Frontiers. Andrew is a nationally recognised risk and resilience expert. He works with government, business and not-for-profits to make our communities safer.


Risk Frontiers specialises in the assessment and management of risk across the Asia-Pacific region. Risk Frontiers helps organisations ranging from the global insurance industry and infrastructure operators to government departments and emergency services. Its research and expertise covers major hazards affecting the region including floods, tropical cyclones, bushfires, hail, heatwaves, coastal erosion,  earthquakes, volcano, cyber and terrorism. We also work with communities to understand the human dimension of risk and policy implications.

Hazard Hack will feature a series of panels addressing these key themes. Our esteemed panelists include to date:


Brett Loughlin – Director, Preparedness Operations as South Australian Country Fire Service

Professor Alan March – Melbourne School of Design, Urban Planning Program at the University of Melbourne

Medina Handley – Integrated Planning Coordinator, SeqWater

Stephen Dredge – Director, Meridian Urban

Darrin Punchard – Principal, Punchard Consulting (based in Boston, USA)

Professor Barbara Norman – Chair and Professor of Urban and Regional Planning, University of Canberra

Michael Arman – Director Strategy, Local Government Association of South Australia

Professor Jason Byrne – School of Geography, Planning, and Spatial Sciences, University of Tasmania

Brett Ellis ESM, Director at Ellis Kent Consulting

Our panelists will be joined by experienced facilitators:


Shannon Haines – Director, Planning at Ethos Urban

Catherine Ryland – Director, CR Bushfire

Leah Bertholini – Bushfire Safety Officer, South Australian Country Fire Service

Tahlia Rossi – Planner, Water Technology

Julie Brook – Associate, Meridian Urban