Initiative 5: Protect communities from the impacts of natural disasters

what is the issue?

Australia is profoundly impacted by natural disasters and communities need appropriate and adequate relief and support to recover from these events.

why is this important for communities?

Many communities are exposed to natural disasters on a recurring basis and experience repeated disruptions from flood, cyclone and fire events. Natural disasters around the country have claimed lives and impacted hundreds of thousands of people.

What do we know?

  • The Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) are vital in assisting councils and communities to recover from major natural disasters. It is critical that the costs of restoring government infrastructure are shared across all levels of government, and that the Commonwealth remains committed to meeting up to 75% of those costs.
  • The capacity of communities to identify, mitigate and respond to natural disasters is critical. In the face of an increase in extreme weather events, rebuilding infrastructure to its original specifications and condition is not sufficient. Betterment funding, or a small additional investment, will save millions of dollars in years to come by ensuring that infrastructure is rebuilt to withstand new climate-change realities.
  • In its 2014 inquiry into natural disaster funding, the Productivity Commission noted the value of disaster mitigation expenditure and raised the idea of a $200 million per annum mitigation program.
  • The value of investment in mitigation was also highlighted by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities in its 2013 White Paper.

Local government proposes:

Protect communities from the impacts of natural disasters by:

  • ensuring that local government is not worse off under current reforms of the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
  • investing in a targeted disaster mitigation program at a level of $200 million per annum for four years.

ECONOMIC BENEFIT: ALGA’s analysis indicates that this investment would have a cumulative Gross Domestic Product benefit of $620 million by the third year and create up to 1,500 new jobs.

Note however, the performance outcome of this initiative also depends on the cost of disaster avoided to expenditure ratio.

Councils across Australia have banded together to support ALGA’s call for ‘1% + Partnership Programs’. This calls for the next Federal Government to restore core local government funding of Financial Assistance Grants to at least 1% of Commonwealth taxation revenue and add funding for partnership programs where agreed.

Here's how councils would spend the additional funding to help their communities:

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