New agency to manage natural disasters

Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Communities will get help rebuilding and recovering from natural disasters from a new national agency to be funded in next week’s federal budget.

The National Recovery and Resilience Agency was flagged last year in the government’s response to the natural disaster royal commission.

The agency will be given $600 million to fund projects such as bushfire and cyclone proofing houses, building levees and improving the resilience of telecommunications and essential supplies.

It will be led by former Northern Territory chief minister Shane Stone, and manage the former National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency and the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, including the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

Communities in NSW and Queensland hit by recent storms and floods and WA areas impacted by cyclones will benefit.

From July 1, the agency will incorporate the disaster risk reduction and recovery functions from the Department of Home Affairs, and its regional network will expand to include rural financial counsellors.

A new Australian Climate Service will be set up to generate new information and insights that will better inform policy and program design and better understand future climate and natural disaster risks.

“The new agency will help communities rebuild and recover from natural disasters, helping many Australians in their greatest time of need, while strengthening our defences against future major disasters,” 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.”

Emergency Management Australia will get funding to upgrade the national situation room to include a real time “common operating picture” for all natural disasters.

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