What are we asking for?
A commitment to ensuring betterment funding as a core element of disaster recovery funding arrangements.
Why is it important?
Increasingly, successful recovery has been recognised as an opportunity to prepare for, and build resilience to, future disasters – in effect, to “build back better”.
Under the current Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), the Commonwealth only provides funding equivalent to the reconstruction of an essential public asset to its pre-disaster function.
However, rebuilding disaster-impacted infrastructure to its original specifications and condition won’t provide communities with the level of resilience they need in the face of more frequent and increasingly severe weather events.
Betterment funding, or a relatively small additional investment in rebuilding, will save millions of dollars in years to come by making sure that infrastructure is rebuilt to withstand more extreme bushfires, cyclones, and floods.
The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended, among other things, that the principle of “build back better” should be incorporated more broadly into the DRFA.
Upfront investment in stronger infrastructure and more resilient communities can save money for all levels of government in the long-term.
How would it support our communities?
The small Queensland town of Gayndah has only one water supply – an intake station on the Burnett River – to support a population of approximately 2000, as well as local primary industries.
The water supply intake station was severely damaged in 2011 and rebuilt at a cost of $1.2 million, before being re-damaged in 2013.
To end the practice of replacing damaged infrastructure to the same standard, the Queensland government partnered with the North Burnett Regional Council to relocate the water intake above the Claude Wharton Weir and build a new submersible-style pumping station.
The station has since been impacted by four natural disaster events in 2015, 2016 and two in 2017 and has remained functional throughout.