Australia will have a dedicated and ongoing source of funding for disaster resilience and risk reduction projects under the changes proposed by the Federal Government.
A proposal for a new Disaster Preparedness Fund, formerly known as the Emergency Response Fund, was presented to Parliament on Wednesday by Home Secretary Clare O’Neil.
The government will provide $200 million each year for the fund and will review the amount of the allocation at least every five years.
The fund will focus on building resilience to future natural disasters and honor a Labor campaign pledge, Ms O’Neil said.
“This Bill makes significant changes to ensure that Australia is appropriately funded for disaster resilience and risk reduction initiatives,” she said.
Ms O’Neil also criticized the former coalition government’s $4.8 billion emergency response fund which she said failed to release money for mitigation projects.
New measures to reduce emissions alone would not be enough to stop the inevitable climate-induced natural disasters, she said.
“We’re going to help our industries make this big shift to renewables, but we also have to deal with the stark reality that our beautiful country is going to be subject to more natural disasters,” Ms O’Neil said.
“My fervent hope as a parliamentarian, an Australian and a parent is that we can do better in the years to come.”
Australia’s new National Disaster Management Agency came into effect in early September.
The organization was created through a merger of Emergency Management Australia and the National Recovery and Resilience Agency.