Evolution of a Disaster "Focal Point": Australia's Natural Disasters Organization

November 1990 (VOL. 8, NO. 3)

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In the study of government structures and processes, the idea of focal points has emerged particularly in relation to public trading or business enterprises. This paper looks briefly at this usage, and then seeks to translate it to the very different context of central government structures for disaster planning and coordination. The particular illustration used is the Australian Natural Disasters Organization (NDO), which emerged in the 1970s in the heat of Darwin's Cyclone Tracy experience and has been the nearest thing Australia has had to a disaster focal point over the ensuing decade and a half.