Keywords: cultural heritage, disaster management, New South Wales, NSW, heritage managers, Australia, attitudinal barriers, social impacts, emergency management, disaster planning
Heritage managers and their attitudes towards disaster management for cultural heritage resources in New South Wales, Australia
The study of disaster management has broadened its scope to include matters beyond the physical processes. Cultural heritage resources, which are particularly vulnerable to the effects of natural disasters, are inherently linked with our identity and can assist the community in achieving some sense of normalcy after a disaster. While protection of life and property will always be priority, items of heritage value are not even considered in most disaster management plans. This study was designed to investigate this current gap in our understanding of attitudinal barriers for disaster planning for cultural heritage. A self-administered postal survey was designed and distributed to heritage managers from each local government in New South Wales (NSW), providing a cross-sectional view of the current range of attitudes towards disaster planning for cultural heritage resources. Results generated by the study are significant as they provide empirical evidence of the extent of this problem. Although heritage managers acknowledged the threat of natural disasters in their shire, they were not considered a priority.