This paper examines post-disaster land-use planning practices for risk reduction using ‘build back better’ (BBB) principles. The 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami and the 2009 Victorian bushfires were chosen as case studies to explore to what extent BBB principles were implemented, as well as their implications and lessons learnt for future practice. Successes and challenges faced in both cases were similar, allowing the establishment of universally applicable BBBbased land-use planning recommendations. Ongoing multi-hazard assessments must be conducted and used to create risk zone maps, which should be employed to plan developments and enforce planning and building regulations. High-risk lands should be avoided for residential and commercial developments by using strategies such as buy-back schemes.
Consideration of social issues and community needs must be a priority during relocation. Keeping the community informed and educated is essential. Engineers and planners should use these principles in post-disaster as well as pre-disaster periods to reduce risks and build safe communities.