Protecting human health and safety during severe and extreme heat events: A national framework

Heatwaves kill more Australians than any other natural disasters. They have received far less public attention than cyclones, floods or bushfires — they are private, silent deaths which only hit the media when morgues reach capacity or infrastructure fails.

There has never been a national study which uses a common definition of heatwaves and directly comparable mortality data. Australia has no national heatwave plan. This report remedies these deficiencies and recommends strategies for the national, state and local governments as well as for citizens. By 2050 an extreme heat event in Melbourne alone could typically kill over one thousand people in a few days if we don't improve the way we forecast, prepare for and manage these events.

This is the second report in PwC's thought leadership program which was prompted by the loss of life and property which resulted from the record temperatures recorded across southern Australia in February 2009. Our first report Effective Disaster Recovery was published in July 2010.