The severe weather season will be with us before we know it. This year it will be covered under the new and improved Disaster Recover Funding Arrangements which will formally come into operation on 1 November 2018, five months later than originally anticipated.
The new start date means all eligible events occurring up to and including 31 October 2018 will be governed by the current Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements Determination 2017.
The new arrangements introduce the new nationally-developed funding model for the rebuilding of essential public assets under Category B, and the new Category A measure allowing jurisdictions to engage a Community Recovery Officer early in the recovery effort to assist individuals, families and communities receiving emergency assistance.
Importantly, the new Category B funding model will afford greater autonomy for state and local governments to deliver practical reconstruction solutions, reduce red tape and assure appropriate fiscal support following an event. These are all part of a raft of changes ALGA has long advocated for on your behalf and it is good to see some of them come to fruition.
For many years ALGA has also called for higher and more targeted mitigation funding, with betterment funding as a core element, to assist local government in strengthening sea walls, lifting levee banks and upgrading roads and bridges before the storm arrives, and hopefully avoid or minimise any impacts and save lives.
ALGA and your state/territory associations were united in opposing the Commonwealth’s earlier proposal to tie mitigation funding to disaster funding, and strongly supported the view that the Commonwealth’s disaster mitigation provisions needed to be substantially increased, not decreased to fund mitigation works.
ALGA represented the sector through a series of nine national workshops, where relevant state and territory government agencies met to map out the detail of the new Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018 which can be found at https://www.disasterassist.gov.au/Pages/disaster-arrangements.aspx.
I understand that state and territory governments have been talking to the state and territory local government associations about transitioning to the new arrangements so that on 1 November, the new arrangements are clear and understood. If your council is at risk from severe weather events, I encourage you to talk to your state/territory associations about your questions or concerns prior to the commencement of the new arrangements.
As a footnote, I will be appearing on the ABC’s Q&A program this Monday as part of a panel to discuss the ABC’s upcoming War on Waste program. The program has ignited significant and largely positive debate in our communities and is encouraging many councils to take new steps in minimising waste, improving education, and targeting procurement towards products with recycled content to create markets for our kerbside collection services. Tune in and ask yourself if your council is part of the problem, or part of the solution.
All the best,
Mayor David O'Loughlin