The Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) has welcomed a pre-election commitment from Federal Labor to invest up to $200 million per year in disaster prevention and resilience.
President Linda Scott said that ALGA had asked all political parties to support such a program through its 2022 Federal Election Platform.
“Currently, less than five percent of our nation’s disaster funding goes towards mitigation and community resilience measures,” Cr Scott said.
“This needs to increase to make sure that our communities – particularly those where exposure to fires and floods is greatest – are better prepared for the increasing number of emergency events we’re seeing.”
“Aside from the spiralling human toll, the economic costs of natural disasters now far exceed insured losses.”
“However, independent analysis we’ve commissioned shows that a $200 million per year investment in disaster mitigation would create up to 1833 new jobs and add $280 million to our nation’s GDP.”
Cr Scott said that local governments around Australia would also welcome this pre-election funding commitment.
“We make a substantial contribution to disaster relief, recovery, and management, through investing in evacuation centres, fire breaks, and telecommunications improvements,” Cr Scott said.
“If local governments are to reduce and manage the impacts of future natural disaster events on our communities, we need increased support and certainty of funding.”
“Physical mitigation measures such as flood levees and stormwater catchments can be expensive, especially for small rural, coastal, and riverine councils with small ratepayer bases.”
“It is vitally important that we help our communities adapt to and address the impacts of climate change, and new disaster mitigation funding will help accelerate this work,” she said.