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Lead the development nationally of research into the cost of natural disasters and the benefits of mitigation

Key strategy Performance indicators Achievement
Lead the development nationally of research into the cost of natural disasters and the benefits of mitigation.
(Contributing division: Territories and Local Government)
Governments agreeing to consistent approaches to reducing the impact of disasters on communities. Partially achieved

Key achievements

In 2002-03 the department worked to improve natural disaster management and disaster mitigation through reforms being developed under the aegis of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), as well as through contributions to bushfire appeals and through administered programmes including:

  • National Aerial Firefighting Strategy
  • Regional Flood Mitigation Programme
  • Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements, including the Natural Disaster Risk Management Studies Programme.

Council of Australian Governments

On 8 June 2001 COAG agreed to commission a wide-ranging review of natural disaster relief and mitigation arrangements in Australia. The secretary of the department chaired the high level group of senior Commonwealth, state, territory and local government officials that undertook the review.

The review report, entitled Natural Disasters in Australia: Reforming Mitigation, Relief and Recovery Arrangements, was completed in August 2002. COAG is expected to consider the recommendations of the report in the latter part of 2003.

In the 2003-04 Budget, the Commonwealth announced it would offer $68.5 million over five years as a new Disaster Mitigation Australia Package. This is part of the Commonwealth's commitment to the recommendations in the COAG review report and implementation of the package depends on COAG acceptance of the report.

National Aerial Firefighting Strategy

In September 2002, following consideration of a report from the Australasian Fire Authorities Council (AFAC) on aerial firefighting, the government announced it would provide $5.5 million to meet half the leasing and positioning costs of three Erickson Air-Crane helitankers. This funding was provided in recognition of the expected severity of the 2002-03 bushfire season.

At the same time the government announced it would work with the states and territories, through AFAC, to develop longer-term arrangements for a national aerial firefighting approach, including establishing joint management arrangements for sharing resources and costs.

In January 2003 the Prime Minister announced an additional $2.1 million in Commonwealth funding to meet half the leasing and positioning costs of two extra Erickson Air-Crane helitankers. The Prime Minister also announced funding of $550 000 to assist Western Australia and South Australia with costs for medium fixed-wing fire fighting aircraft for the 2002-03 season.

Regional Flood Mitigation Programme

Under the Regional Flood Mitigation Programme (RFMP), a further $9.6 million was allocated to new and ongoing projects for a variety of mitigation measures including the construction of levees and retarding basins, the voluntary purchase of flood prone properties and flood warning systems.

Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements

In 2002-03 the Commonwealth provided $87.5 million under the Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements to the states and territories to reimburse them for expenditure on natural disasters. A further $2.6 million in funding was provided to the states and territories to fund 64 projects under the Natural Disaster Risk Management Studies Programme.

Bushfire appeals

In recognition of the severity of the damage and loss of life resulting from bushfires in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory in the 2002-03 season, the Commonwealth provided a total of $2.5 million to bushfire appeals in these jurisdictions. The Commonwealth also announced the provision of $1 million to the ACT Government to assist sawmills in the region to recover from the bushfires.

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