An Albanese Labor Government has pledged to boost Australia’s disaster readiness by investing up to $200 million per year on disaster prevention and resilience.
Member for Eden-Monaro Kristy McBain welcomed the announcement saying thousands of Eden-Monaro residents who have faced multiple bushfires and floods deserve to be protected by a Federal Government who plans ahead and invests to keep them safe.
Labor’s Disaster Ready Fund will curb the devastating impacts of natural disasters by investing in important disaster prevention projects like flood levees, evacuation centres, fire breaks and telecommunications improvements.
“Since 2016 there have been 35 declared natural disaster events in Eden-Monaro. These include the Black Summer Bushfires as well as multiple severe storms and floods,” Ms McBain said.
“Eden-Monaro communities continue to rally together to recover but they shouldn’t be forced to carry the burden of resilience and disaster preparedness alone.
“Our communities know that there will be more natural disasters in our future, they want to know the government is looking forward, planning, taking action, and preventing the worst.
“That’s what this funding is all about. These investments will literally save lives and livelihoods.
“We know weather events are on the horizon – we have the smarts and the resources to prepare and prevent. We just need a government with a plan.”
The Morrison Government set up a $4.7 billion Emergency Response Fund (ERF) in 2019, with the funds supposed to be spent on recovery and mitigation.
“Despite the Black Summer Bushfires occurring since this fund was set up, to this day the ERF has not spent a cent on disaster recovery and has not completed a single disaster prevention project,” Ms McBain said.
“It is absurd that this Government has had money sitting in a fund accumulating interest while people across the country and in Eden-Monaro have been suffering the effects of natural disasters.”
Labor will revamp the failed ERF so that it spends up to $200 million per year for disaster prevention and resilience.
If matched by State, Territory or local governments, it would provide up to $400 million annually for investment in disaster prevention and resilience - something called for by groups as broad as the Government’s own Productivity Commission, insurers, local governments and disaster relief bodies.
Labor’s Plan for Disaster Readiness will also:
- Continue to fully fund disaster recovery through the existing Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements
- Cut red tape so disaster resilience funding can get out the door faster
- Improve the efficiency of disaster recovery processes, to simplify and speed up payments to disaster victims and repairs to damaged infrastructure.
- Assist with spiralling insurance premiums in disaster-prone regions, by reducing the risk of expensive damage to homes and businesses.