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New Agency To Manage Natural Disasters In Australia

New Budget will include AUD 600 m for a National Recovery and Resilience Agency to support local communities hit by disasters.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Australian Communities will help rebuild and recover 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 AUD 600 million ($463.82 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 AUD 2 billion ($1.55 billion) National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

Sharnie Moran and her 18 months old daughter Charlotte look on as thick smoke rises from bushfires near Nana Glen, near Coffs Harbour, November 12, 2019. (Dan Peled/AAP Image)

Communities in New South Wales 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 counselors.

A new Australian Climate Service will be set up to generate further 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 defenses against future major disasters,” Prime minister Scott Morrison said.

“This funding will provide accredited training for people working in disaster recovery and two pilot Resilience Hubs to coordinate regional training and capability development across all levels of government when responding to a natural disaster,” he said in a statement.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the initiatives in Townsville, which has faced cyclones and flooding in recent years. (Scott Radford-Chisholm/AAP Image)

Minister Littleproud said the final, critically important part of these national reforms was establishing a world-class climate service with detailed climate and disaster information.

“Through the Australian Climate Service, we will draw on the expertise of our best and brightest scientists to help us better anticipate, manage and adapt to climate impacts to inform the work of the National Recovery and Resilience Agency and Emergency Management Australia,” he said.

“I am proud of the reforms to our federal emergency management architecture that have been announced today, along with the ongoing work to implement all of the Royal Commission’s other recommendations.

“This national approach to policy reform will carry all the way through to peoples’ front doors.”

“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.

(Edited by Vaibhav Vishwanath Pawar and Ojaswin Kathuria)