What are we asking for?
In line with the Productivity Commission’s recommendations from 2014, a targeted disaster mitigation program of $200 million per annum for four years which will reduce the costs of response and recovery and strengthen community resilience.
Why is it important?
Australia has been profoundly impacted by natural disasters in the past few years, and the impacts of climate change will result in more frequent and more severe disasters in the future. In recent weeks alone we have seen severe flooding destroy communities across NSW and Queensland.
Communities need support to take preventative mitigation measures to limit the severity of future disasters, as well as appropriate and adequate support to recover from these events.
Currently less than five percent of disaster funding in Australia goes towards mitigation and community resilience measures. This figure needs to rise to ensure that communities – particularly those where exposure to fires and floods is greatest – are better prepared for climate change.
Protecting communities from the impacts of bushfires, floods, and sea-level rise – and helping them adapt to climate change – are priorities for local government, but we could do more with additional mitigation funding from the Commonwealth.
Not only does effective disaster mitigation reduce Commonwealth and state and territory expenditure on recovery after an event, but it is also important in reducing the risks faced by communities and preparing for increased future risks.
How would it support our communities?
Like many local governments around the country, the City of Port Lincoln is acutely aware of the threat posed by increasingly frequent extreme weather events, having experienced a severe thunderstorm in January 2020 that overwhelmed the city’s stormwater network and flooded the CBD and surrounding areas.
A Stormwater Management Plan (SMP) had been prepared the year before for just such a contingency.
But with funding from South Australia’s Stormwater Management Authority regularly over-subscribed by local governments, doubts remain as to whether the plan can be fully implemented ahead of the next severe storm.
Port Lincoln City Council CEO Matthew Morgan said council had allocated over $5 million for priority stormwater projects, but about $4.785 million worth of projects remain unfunded.
“Modelling undertaken in 2017 revealed that likely annual average damage from storm related flood events was estimated at $2.9 million. However, that figure is likely higher now with increased costs of insurance and repairs.”
“Therefore, Federal assistance to mitigate this risk is imperative.”