Report on Performance

A A A

Regional outputs and programmes

Output 2.2.3: Natural Disaster Relief

(Territories and Local Government Business Division)

Effectiveness

Damage from natural disasters is ameliorated, along with trauma and associated costs to the community

Floods, bushfires and other natural disasters pose major challenges to Australia's communities.

While natural disaster management is a state and territory responsibility, the department provides policy advice to government, and delivers mitigation programmes to help communities recover from natural disasters.

Quality

Information on natural disaster events and risks is collected systematically for Australian communities

The department, in collaboration with Geoscience Australia and Emergency Management Australia, worked with its state and territory counterparts to implement the natural disaster risk assessment and data collection reforms approved in principle by COAG. Further collaborative work has resulted in the drafting of a risk assessment framework for consideration by senior Australian, state, territory and local government officials.

Other agencies and governments are assisted to evaluate and improve bushfire and natural disaster management

The department also provided leadership on land use planning and building code reforms to reduce avoidable natural disaster risks and damage, and to work with the Australasian Police Ministers' Council on natural disaster management.

Federal, state and territory governments provided a progress report on implementation of aspects of COAG bushfire recommendations through the Local Government and Planning Ministers' Council.

Grants and loans are administered which assist communities to mitigate against and recover from disasters

The department administered a range of grants and loans to help communities mitigate the effects of and recover from disasters (see Table 4.6). In 2005-06 these mainly related to:

  • the Bushfire Mitigation Programme
  • the Natural Disaster Mitigation Programme
  • National Aerial Firefighting
  • Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements.

Price

$4.0m

The actual price of this output in 2004-05 was $3.8 million.

Overall performance

Table 4.6 Trends in natural disaster mitigation and relief programmes

2001-02a

2002-03

2003-04

2004-05

2005-06

2006-07 Est.

Administered expense by type of disasterb

Flood mitigation

$11.0m

$8.8m

$7.3m

$17.1m

$22.2m

$10.4m

Bushfire mitigation/responsec

-

$8.2m

$6.7m

$13.0m

$12.7m

$10.5m

Other/not allocated by type

-

-

$1.7m

$2.2m

$1.6m

$12.0m

All mitigation

$11.0m

$17.0m

$15.7m

$32.3m

$36.5m

$32.9m

Flood relief

$4.4m

-

-

-

-

-

Bushfire relief

$16.9m

$2.5m

$1.0m

-

-

-

Other/not allocated by type

$72.4m

$83.0m

$46.9m

$67.7m

$70.1md

$89.5m

All relief

$93.7m

$85.5m

$47.9m

$67.7m

$70.1md

$89.5m

Natural Disaster Mitigation

New projects approved

n/a

n/a

128

211

119e

No set target

Total projects funded

n/a

n/a

141

225

200e

No set target

Total cost of programme

n/a

n/a

$5.5m

$10.5m

$26.0me

$22.4me

Regional Flood Mitigation

New projects approved

45

49

22

25

-

-

Total projects funded

70

81

78

61

-

-

Total cost of programme

$7.0m

$8.8m

$4.7m

$11.3m

-

Bushfire Mitigation

New projects approved

n/a

n/a

n/a

1,245f

407f

No set target

Total cost of programme

n/a

n/a

n/a

$5mf

$4.9mf

$5mf

Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (NDRA)

Disasters notified

13

27

39

29

51

n/a

Total cost of NDRA

$72.4m

$83.0m

$46.9m

$67.7m

$69.1m

$89.5m

Price of output

$1.1m

$3.2m

$3.4m

$3.6m

$3.8m

$3.9m

a Data for 2001-02 includes expenses incurred by other agencies before the NDRA and certain other programmes that were transferred to the department in late 2001.
b Historical estimates include programmes such as the Lismore Levee which have now wound up. The forward estimates for disaster mitigation and relief reflect current provisions and are subject to change.
c Bushfire mitigation estimates include the National Aerial Firefighting funding assistance as well as mitigation funding where allocated.
d Includes $1 million contribution to the Prime Minister's and Premier's Cyclone Larry Relief Appeal.
e Includes figures for the Regional Flood Mitigation Programme
f Includes Bushfire Mitigation Programme funding only, not National Area Firefighting funding assistance.

Administered programme-Natural Disaster Mitigation
(Territories and Local Government Business Division)

Effectiveness

Communities are assisted to identify and treat natural disaster risks

Australians again faced a number of natural disasters in 2005-06, including bushfires in Victoria, floods in South Australia, the Northern Territory and northern Tasmania, and tropical cyclones in Far North Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia. While natural disasters cannot be prevented, funding through the Natural Disaster Mitigation Programme assisted vulnerable communities to be better prepared for them.

In 2005-06 funding for the Regional Flood Mitigation Programme was incorporated into the Natural Disaster Mitigation Programme in preparation for the complete integration of the two programmes from 1 July 2007. Combined, the two programmes provided $26 million nationally, with costs generally shared one-third each by the Australian, state or territory and local governments.

Funds were used to help communities develop a clearer understanding of the natural disaster risks they face and implement a range of measures to minimise the impact of future events.

Projects to receive funding during the year included:

  • emergency risk management plans in regional NSW
  • fire trails and bushfire protection zones in the ACT
  • bushfire and flood education projects to improve public awareness and preparedness in Tasmania and Victoria
  • major flood mitigation schemes in Gawler, South Australia, and Carnarvon, Western Australia
  • storm tide mapping and cyclone shelter upgrades in Queensland.

While it is hard to assess the effectiveness of such activities in the short term, investment in natural disaster mitigation has been conservatively estimated to deliver a 15 per cent rate of return on investment.

Quality

Priority is given to proposals for research on or treatment of regions with a risk of natural disaster

Funds are allocated to states and territories based on data provided by the BTRE. Any funds not taken up are offered for reallocation to other jurisdictions. For details of the allocations and actual payments made in 2005-06, see Table 4.7.

Applications for funding are received annually. Proposals are assessed and prioritised by state and territory assessment committees. The Australian Government has observer status on these committees.

Payments are made in line with project progress

Fifty per cent of programme funds are paid up-front on approval of projects and the balance is paid out in instalments on satisfactory progress of the works.

Cost

$31.1m (down from $33.3m at Budget and includes $7.8m for the GawlerRiver Flood Mitigation Scheme provided through Supplementary Additional Estimates)

The actual cost of this programme in 2005-06 was $26.0 million. Unspent funds resulting from delays in the progress of works and expenditure of programme funds have been carried forward to 2006-07 and 2007-08.

Overall performance

Table 4.7 Distribution of Natural Disaster Mitigation Programme funds in 2005-06

State/territory

Allocationa ($,000)

Total payment ($,000)

New South Wales

6,054

4,039

Victoria

1,507

1,802

Queensland

5,545

8,001

Western Australia

2,657

1,868

South Australia

8 939

8 666

Tasmania

1,181

1,217

Australian Capital Territory

371

185

Northern Territory

450

225

Total

26,704

26,003

Note: Includes allocations and payments made under the Regional Flood Mitigation Programme.
a Represents funds approved for proposals submitted for consideration in the 2005-06 funding round.

Administered programme-Bushfire Mitigation
(Territories and Local Government Business Division)

Effectiveness

Fire trail networks are enhanced

This $15 million three-year programme was introduced in 2004-05 to facilitate the construction, maintenance and signage of fire trail networks across Australia. Costs are shared one-third each between the Australian, state/territory and local governments. 2005-06 was the second year of the programme.

A total of 407 projects received funding in 2005-06. The types of projects that received funding ranged from trail maintenance through to the construction of bridges and creek crossings.

Funding applications are assessed and prioritised by state or territory assessment committees, composed of key stakeholder representatives, before Australian Government consideration and approval.

Quality

Payments are made in line with project progress

Fifty per cent of programme funds are paid up-front on approval of projects and the balance is paid out in instalments on satisfactory progress of works


For details of the allocations and actual payments made in 2005-06, see Table 4.8.

Cost

$5.0m

The actual cost of this programme in 2005-06 was $4.9 million. In 2006-07, $5.0 million is available for approved projects. Applications closed on
30 June 2006.

Overall performance

Table 4.8 Distribution of Bushfire Mitigation Programme funds in 2005-06

State/territory

Allocation ($,000)

Total payment ($,000)

New South Wales

1,666

1,666

Victoria

974

974

Queensland

805

805

Western Australia

728

728

South Australia

459

459

Tasmania

165

165

Australian Capital Territory

148

148

Northern Territorya

-

-

Total

4,945

4,945

a The NT did not participate in the second year of the programme.

Administered programme-National Aerial Firefighting
(Territories and Local Government Business Division)

Effectiveness

The National Aerial Firefighting Centre is able to acquire and deploy firefighting aircraft around Australia

While bushfire fighting is largely a state responsibility, the Australian Government continues to contribute funding to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) to acquire and deploy firefighting aircraft around Australia.

The NAFC covers all states and territories except the Northern Territory, which decided not to participate in this national arrangement, but works with the NAFC to determine how it can benefit from the scheme.

Funding meets up to half of the lease costs of a range of firefighting aircraft, with the state or territory meeting the remaining lease and operating costs.

These arrangements allow resources to be redeployed to areas experiencing high fire risk and are an example of Australia's firefighting and land management agencies working cooperatively to provide greater community fire protection.

For more information about NAFC activities, visit www.nafc.org.au.

Quality

Payments are made in line with the Australian Government's obligations

The NAFC is required to provide the Australian Government with information on the acquisition, deployment, effectiveness and suitability of aircraft in meeting normal and crisis demand, as well as deliver value for money.

Cost

$5.5m

The actual cost of this programme in 2005-06 was $5.5 million, as planned. In 2006-07, $5.5 million is available.

Overall performance

Did you know?

Bushfire seasons vary across different parts of Australia:

  • for northern Australia it is its dry and sunny winter and spring
  • for NSW and southern Queensland, it is spring and early summer
  • for the rest of Australia, it is summer and autumn.

For more information about bushfire weather, visit www.bom.gov.au/inside/services_policy/fire_ag/bushfire

Administered programme-Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements
(Territories and Local Government Business Division)

Effectiveness

The cost of disaster recovery measures to state and territory governments is reduced

The Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements (NDRA), which were first formalised more than 30 years ago, provide partial reimbursement to states and territories for costs associated with relief and recovery following rapid-onset natural disasters.

In 2005-06 this programme reimbursed states and territories for costs associated with:

  • relief of personal hardship and distress, such as provision of emergency food, clothing, accommodation and house repairs ($41.4 million)
  • restoration or replacement of essential public assets damaged as a direct result of a disaster ($27.7 million)
  • concessional loans to farmers, small businesses, individuals and voluntary non-profit bodies to replace assets that have been significantly damaged ($0.2 million).

Quality

Funding is available in respect of all major rapid-onset natural disasters

Disasters covered by the programme include bushfires, cyclones, earthquakes, floods, storms, storm surges, landslides (resulting from an eligible disaster), tornadoes and meteorite strikes.

In 2005-06, 51 major disaster events were notified. Disasters included 6 cyclones, 21 bushfires, 13 storms, and 11 floods.

A review of the NDRA, in accordance with recommendations provided in the 2002 COAG report Natural disasters in Australia-reforming mitigation, relief and recovery arrangements, is being conducted in consultation with state and territory governments.

The Australian Government has already enacted changes to enable costs to be reimbursed for disaster events where arson was involved. This was considered to be important by COAG, as precluding such claims under the NDRA could deprive innocent individuals and communities of assistance.

State and territory governments are reimbursed for eligible expenses within 21 days of submitting a claim

Payments are made in response to claims from states and territories. In 2005-06 most funding went to Queensland ($52.5 million), followed by New South Wales ($14.8 million) and the Northern Territory ($1.1 million).

Cost

$89.5m

The actual cost of this programme in 2005-06 was $69.1 million. An amount of $89.5 million is available in 2006-07. This amount is subject to regular review in light of expected claims.

Overall performance