Tuesday, 10 January 2023
Media release

First round of $200 million disaster ready fund now open

​​​The next step in making Australia a more disaster resilient nation will be made today as applications open for the Albanese Government’s signature Disaster Ready Fund (DRF).

After years of intense rain and devastating flooding this program will deliver on the Government’s election commitment to ensure Australia is better prepared for future natural disasters.

Up to $200 million is available next financial year to state and territory governments, in partnership with councils, for projects to support communities to reduce risks and better prepare for future floods, cyclones, bushfires, storm surges and other natural disasters.

Projects may include infrastructure like flood levees, drainage improvements, fire breaks and evacuation centres to help reduce the vulnerability of communities facing high levels of disaster risk, or initiatives that improve collection and sharing of data, improve land use planning or strengthen community capabilities.

It’s part of a long-term commitment to making Australia more resilient in the face of growing natural hazards, investing up to $1 billion over the next five years.

Emergency Management Minister, Murray Watt said opening applications was an important milestone in improving Australia’s disaster resilience.

“Australians have had a really tough couple of years with floods, fires, cyclones and more impacting our country,” Minister Watt said.

“We know that these natural disasters will only increase in intensity and frequency due to climate change.

“That’s why before the election we committed to overhaul Scott Morrison’s failed $4.8 billion Emergency Response Fund, which didn’t build a single disaster mitigation project in three years.

“We’ll now put this money to work, to protect Australians’ lives, their properties, and to save taxpayers some of the huge repair costs that are incurred after every natural disaster.

“The Albanese Government understands that by investing in ongoing disaster mitigation, we can proactively deliver meaningful projects that curb the devastating impacts of floods, fires and other types of disasters, rather than just react to events.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for all state and territory governments to take positive steps to safeguard essential infrastructure, communities, and industry.

“We expect them to work with local Councils and community groups when putting forward ideas for projects.”

“State, territory and local governments will be expected to match funding under the DRF, where possible, and will be able to submit project proposals for funding until March 6, 2023.

More information on the Disaster Ready Fund, including key dates, can be found on the National Emergency Management Agency’s website.

In the past six months, the Albanese Government has made big changes to disaster management to ensure communities are better prepared for and recover quicker from natural disasters, including:

  • Unifying the two arms of federal emergency management to create the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), to build a more coordinated approach to disaster management.
  • Legislating the Disaster Ready Fund to invest up to $200 million a year in mitigation projects like fire breaks, evacuation centres and flood levees.
  • Working collaboratively with the states to fast-track ADF support and recovery payments to help individuals, local councils, small businesses, primary producers and non-profit organisations get back on their feet faster after a disaster.
  • Getting money out the door for resilience and betterment projects in disaster-prone regions.
  • Investing in Disaster Relief Australia to provide recovery and clean up support after disasters.
  • Taking action on future building developments on floodplains, by working with the state and territory governments through the National Cabinet process.
  • Galvanising voluntary home buybacks in regions repeatedly impacted by floods.