ERF tapped to provide extra support for flood-impacted LGAs

The Federal Government will draw down on the Emergency Response Fund (ERF) to inject an additional $150 million into flood-ravaged areas of NSW and Queensland.

Queensland and NSW will each receive $75 million to spend where it is determined it is most needed, with the flood disaster affecting at least 81 local government areas across the two states.

Federal Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience Minister Bridget McKenzie said: “The scale and magnitude of these floods is exactly the type of event that the fund was designed to address,”

The ERF was established in 2019 and at the end of last December had a balance of $4.8 billion.

Under the fund’s enabling legislation, the federal government can access up to $200 million in any given year, beyond what is already available, to fund emergency responses ($150 million) and for long-term resilience projects ($50 million).

The yearly amount was originally set at $150 million, but continued advocacy by ALGA and other stakeholders saw the annual disbursement set at $200 million.

Minister McKenzie said the ERF spending is in top addition to other government commitments now totalling $1.5 billion allocated under joint Commonwealth-state disaster recovery funding arrangements (DRFA).

More than $923 million has been provided in direct payments supporting individuals and families.

Following pressure from local mayors and MPs, the Federal Government last week agreed to extend disaster funding to flood-hit parts of the NSW north coast, with residents of the Ballina, Byron and Tweed LGAs eligible to receive two extra $1,000 payments per adult.

In other related news, disaster recovery assistance has been available to communities in Shires of Corriginm Bruce Rock and Bridgetown-Greenbushes after bushfires on 5-6 February.

In NSW, disaster assistance is now available in two additional Local Government Areas (LGAs), Berrigan and Central Darling, following severe storms and flooding in November 2021. More than 62 LGAs in NSW have been impacted by severe weather and flooding in recent months.

In Queensland, the LGAs of Croydon and Etheridge have been declared eligible for DRFA funding after both were hit by severe thunderstorms and flooding in February.