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A new agency will help disaster-prone areas like ours be better prepared for catastrophic weather events.
A new agency will help disaster-prone areas like ours be better prepared for catastrophic weather events.

Major boost for disaster recovery is on the way

A NEW agency will help disaster-prone areas like Townsville be better prepared for catastrophic weather events.

The federal government will pump $600m into the National Recovery and Resilience Agency which will become a peak body for mitigation, planning and post-event clean up.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will make the announcement in Townsville today at an industry breakfast hosted by the Townsville Chamber of Commerce. His last visit to Townsville was in October last year ahead of the state government election.

The National Recovery and Resilience Agency, which was first announced in November last year, will be responsible for advising the government on policies and programs to mitigate the impact of future natural disasters.

The new agency was flagged as part of the Commonwealth's response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.

This comes just days after the Prime Minister announced a reinsurance pool to help address skyrocketing insurance premiums.

"Immediate funding will support resilience projects across the community and for individuals' homes, such as bushfire and cyclone proofing houses, building levees and improving the resilience of telecommunications and essential supplies," Mr Morrison said.

"In the past two years Australians have faced floods, bushfires, cyclones, drought and now the COVID-19 pandemic and I'm determined to keep Australians safe and support the recovery of communities and regions right across Australia."

Coordinator-General Shane Stone will lead the new agency, with it taking responsibility for long-term recovery of communities rebuilding after the recent storms and floods in New South Wales, Queensland and the cyclone in Western Australia.

Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said Emergency Management Australia would also receive support to upgrade its National Situation Room to include a real time "common operating picture" for all natural disasters.

The Commonwealth will invest $4.5m in disaster recovery scenario training to help regional communities and provide accredited training for people working in disaster recovery and two pilot Resilience Hubs to co-ordinate regional training and capability development across all levels of government.

Mr Littleproud said the critically important part of the reforms would be the establishment of a world-class climate service with detailed climate and disaster information.

"Through the Australian Climate Service we will draw on the expertise of our best and brightest scientists to help us better anticipate, manage and adapt to climate impacts to inform the work of the National Disaster and Recovery Agency and Emergency Management Australia," he said.

Environment Minister Susan Ley said the Australian Climate Service would strengthen the country's position as a world leader in anticipating and adapting to the impacts of changing climates.

"We do face more extreme weather events due to changing climate and this is about being prepared, and being able to take steps to make our communities more resilient," Ms Ley said.

She said this would aid long-term planning for infrastructure, housing and basic services like power, telecommunications and water. 

 

caitlan.charles@news.com.au

Originally published as Major boost for disaster recovery



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