A key focus of ALGA's Submission to the 2016-17 Federal Budget is strengthening resilience in local communities by greater investment in disaster mitigation through a targeted program funded at $200 million per annum. ALGA has long supported such a program and the Productivity Commission proposed greater investment in mitigation in its recent inquiry into natural disaster funding.
Further support came this week with the launch of two reports by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities. The reports estimate that the cost of natural disasters to Australia, put at $9 billion last year, is expected to reach $33 billion per year by 2050.
The report looks at a comprehensive analysis of the impact of natural disasters and for the first time places a value on the economic cost of social impacts of natural disasters such as chronic disease and mental health issues. The report also provides a set of principles and recommendations for all tiers of government and business aimed at greater integration of disaster resilience in infrastructure planning, appraisal and approval processes.
ALGA welcomes the contribution of the Business Roundtable in support for an improvement to disaster funding arrangements.
In addition to disaster mitigation, councils play a critical – but often unrecognised – role in responding to disaster events. They are there to assist during the disasters supporting emergency services by providing vital resources and local knowledge about vulnerable communities, property and infrastructure. They also establish relief centres for displaced and stressed members of the community and coordinate counselling and other personal support services. And when all of the others have left, it is councils that lead the community recovery effort, which, given the unprecedented scale of loss and damage in many communities, lasts for years.
With the right investment and partnerships between all levels of government, the business sector and the community, we can reduce and better manage future threats and ALGA will continue its advocacy for strengthened disaster funding arrangements in the lead up to the Budget and the approaching Federal election.
Mayor Troy Pickard