94 billion reasons to invest in disaster mitigation

Australians can’t afford a lack of action from the next Federal Government on disaster mitigation.

ALGA President Linda Scott said natural disasters currently cost Australia $38 billion a year and are forecast to rise to as much as $94 billion by 2060.

“We know we can’t completely avoid future disaster events, but we can better protect our communities from their impacts,” Cr Scott said.

“It’s clear that our country is failing to plan for natural disasters and our communities are paying the price.”

“This year’s Federal Budget included approximately $6 billion for disaster recovery but minimal funding to protect against future fires and floods.”

“Way back in 2014 the Productivity Commission recommended that the Commonwealth invest $200 million a year in disaster mitigation.”

“It’s astounding that our communities are still waiting on disaster mitigation funding eight years later.”

“Councils are asking the next Federal Government to accept the Productivity Commission’s recommendation and invest $200 million per year in a new disaster mitigation fund that would help us protect our communities against future disaster events.”

Cr Scott said local government is also seeking a new four-year $200 million Local Government Climate Response Partnership Fund that would support councils to reduce carbon emissions at a community level.

“From supporting residents to install solar panels to building their own renewable energy plants, councils are leading the way in reducing emissions,” Cr Scott said.

“With funding to roll out more of these projects, we could help deliver on Australia’s national emissions targets, while protecting our communities from increasingly frequent and severe natural disasters.”

ALGA’s full list of Federal Election disaster mitigation, disaster recovery and climate change priorities includes:

  • $200 million per year for a new targeted disaster mitigation fund;
  • $200 million over four years for a new Local Government Climate Response Partnership Fund;
  • A commitment to ensuring betterment funding as a core element of Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements; and
  • A commitment to including local government and community infrastructure under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

These priorities have been independently assessed, and if funded would create 2,350 new jobs and add $353 million per year to Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.