The Federal Government and Opposition have agreed to lift the Commonwealth’s proposed Emergency Response Fund to $200 million a year from $150m, with the extra funding dedicated to mitigation.
The decision acts on the proposals set out by a range of stakeholders in the Emergency Response Fund Bill Enquiry which emphasised that new legislation to create a natural disasters emergency response fund ought to focus on mitigation measures before a calamity occurs, rather than only on recovery efforts.
The Productivity Commission called for a $200 million per year mitigation fund in 2014.
The Productivity Commission’s study said 97 percent of disaster funding went into reconstruction and recovery, with three percent on mitigation and community resilience measures.
The Commonwealth will spend up to $200 million annually, beyond what is already available to fund emergency response and natural disaster recovery and preparedness, Natural Disaster and Emergency Management Minister, David Littleproud, and Finance Minister, Senator Mathias Cormann, said in a joint statement.
Types of support available will include pre-disaster and emergency preparedness initiatives, additional recovery grants, economic aid packages and support to affected communities or industry sectors to help respond to and build resilience to natural disasters, their statement added.
The Opposition agreed to support the Government’s Emergency Response Fund bills in the Senate after the Commonwealth’s commitment to increase funding for measures such as flood levees, sea walls or fire breaks.