Our hearts go out to the many NSW and Queensland communities impacted by intense rain and unprecedented flooding, and particularly to those who have lost homes, businesses and in some tragic cases family and friends.
The emergency isn’t over and many councils are still working overtime to save lives, properties and businesses.
We welcome the emergency funding being provided by the Federal, NSW and Queensland governments, particularly the $1 million grants to impacted councils to support urgent clean-up efforts.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has said this is “just the first phase of the financial support that will support communities in need” – which our councils will again applaud.
However, these floods – and before them the Black Summer Bushfires – have shown that Australia is failing to properly plan for natural disasters.
In 2014 the Productivity Commission recommended investing at least $200 million per year in disaster mitigation.
However, in 2022 less than 5 percent of disaster funding in Australia is spent on mitigation and community resilience, and this needs to change.
We owe it to our communities – particularly those that are vulnerable to fires and floods – to invest more in their protection, and last week I reiterated our call for a $200 million per year targeted disaster mitigation fund.
We’re also asking for $200 million over four years to support us to address the impacts of climate change at a local level, which would help reduce the frequency and severity of future events.
We need urgent action or we will see this scenario played out across our country time and time again. As these floods show, our lives and our futures depend on it.
Thank you to the Hon Jason Clare MP, Shadow Minister for Local Government, for joining us for an online Pre-Federal Election briefing earlier this week.
Jason outlined how Labor would work with local governments if it wins this year’s election while reaffirming their commitment to including local government on National Cabinet, and providing $200 million per year for disaster mitigation.
The online Pre-Federal Election Briefing with the Hon Kevin Hogan MP that was to be held next Tuesday has been postponed due to the ongoing flooding in NSW.
Our thoughts are with the Minister and his staff
We hope to announce a new date for this briefing in the coming weeks.
We will be launching our national “Don’t Leave Local Communities Behind” campaign in the coming weeks, highlighting 17 priorities that will support every Australian community.
Councils can get behind this campaign by endorsing it at their next meeting, and working with their state or territory Local Government Association.
A reminder that motions for this year’s NGA are due by 25 March, and early bird registrations are now open.
We are looking forward to releasing the program in the next few weeks, and I can’t wait to see you in Canberra this June.
For more information visit www.nga22.com.au.