Wednesday, 07 June 2023
Media release

Nearly $400 million for disaster preparedness announced under new Disaster Ready Fund

Australia will be better protected and prepared for future natural disasters following today’s announcement of 187 projects funded under Round One of the Albanese Government’s new Disaster Ready Fund.

Funding was matched for the majority of successful projects by state, territory or local government or other delivery partners, resulting in a combined investment of nearly $400 million to actively reduce the risks and impacts of disaster events and natural hazards, including climate change.

The funding includes building vital infrastructure like flood levees, seawalls and hazard warning systems that will help protect lives, homes, livelihoods and critical public infrastructure.

The Fund was an election commitment by the Albanese Government, and will deliver national long-term mitigation funding to help protect communities from natural disasters.

State and Territory governments submitted applications for a range of projects to improve mitigation and resilience, in collaboration with local Councils and community groups.

Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said close to 70 per cent of Australians were impacted by storms, floods, cyclones and bushfires in 2022 alone, signalling the urgent need to take decisive action.

“Australians face the threat of bushfires, floods and cyclone every year and natural disasters are becoming more common, and more dangerous due to climate change,” Minister Watt said.

“Through the Albanese Government’s new Disaster Ready Fund, we’re investing up to $1 billion in Commonwealth funding over five years to build critical projects that will reduce disaster risk, help to reduce recovery costs and strengthen community resilience.

“As we continue to fund disaster recovery and specific resilience programs in areas which have suffered disasters recently, it’s critical we do more to build defences right across Australia, to better protect communities and their regional economies.

“We know that every dollar spent on disaster resilience and mitigation delivers a return on investment to governments and households nine times over. But as a country we invest far more in recovering from disasters than we do defending against them, and that mentality has got to change.

“The Disaster Ready Fund replaces the former Government’s Emergency Response Fund, which failed to build a single disaster mitigation project in three years, while earning the Morrison Government over $800 million in interest.

“This is about more than just bricks and mortar. We are changing the way Australia deals with natural disasters by planning better for the future to ensure that communities all around the country are better prepared, less exposed and in the best possible position to recover when disasters strike.”

In the past 12 months the Albanese Government has paid out more than $2.7 billion in recovery and resilience programs and payments to support individuals and communities impacted by natural disasters.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will work with each jurisdiction to negotiate funding agreements with funds to be provided as soon as possible from July 2023. Projects must be completed within three years.

There were more than 300 applications submitted across all states and territories. Successful projects were selected following a rigorous merit based assessment process undertaken by NEMA.

The $200 million Commonwealth investment includes almost $65 million for 74 infrastructure projects, almost $84 million for 74 systemic risk reduction projects; and over $51 million for 39 projects that will deliver both infrastructure and systemic risk reduction outcomes.

Examples of funded projects include:

  • Flood levee design and upgrades (Vic, NSW, SA and Qld)
  • Sea wall design and cyclone shelter construction (Qld)
  • Improved data, analysis and monitoring systems for natural hazards (ACT, SA and NSW)
  • Development of standardised flood risk data (NT)
  • Building resilience capability of local governments (Tas)
  • Creek flood channel asset repair and replacement (Vic)
  • Improved fuel hazard mapping capability (WA)

A full list of projects is available here: https://nema.gov.au/programs/disaster-ready-fund/round-one

More information on the Disaster Ready Fund, including updates about Round Two of the Disaster Ready Fund, can be found on NEMA’s website.