Feds Plan Inquiry into Disaster Funding
7 January 2014 at 9:19 am
The Federal Government is set to establish a Productivity Commission Inquiry into national disaster funding arrangements.
As part of the Government’s plan, Treasurer Joe Hockey is writing to the Productivity Commission and requesting it examine the full scope of national expenditure on disasters, and the effectiveness of current mitigation support arrangements.
Hockey says he will also ask the Commission about the best ways to reduce the impact of natural disasters on communities and how they can recover in a sustainable way.
The Government has acknowledged that most existing disaster funding models were weighted towards response and recovery, with a focus on immediate humanitarian and economic relief and restoration of infrastructure to its previous standard – instead of longer-term resilience.
Deloitte Access Economics estimates that the total economic cost of natural disasters in 2012 exceeded $6 billion.
In the last five years, natural disasters around the country have claimed more than 200 lives and devastated hundreds of thousands of Australians.
The Federal Government provides financial support to States and Territories through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA); and directly to eligible individuals, through the Disaster Recovery Payment and the Disaster Recovery Allowance – totalling almost $13 billion for events since 2009.
The Natural Disaster Resilience Program (NDRP) already supports State and Territory work designed to enhance Australia’s resilience to natural disasters.
The Federal Government says it will consult with States and Territories on the terms of reference for the review. According to the Federal Government, Emergency Services Ministers across the country have already expressed their support for an inquiry into disaster expenditure.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott will write to State and Territory leaders requesting they sign a new partnership agreement for the NDRP that will contribute $52.2 million over the next two years.