The peak body representing Queensland’s 77 councils has welcomed the Federal Opposition’s election promise to spend up to $200 million a year on disaster prevention and resilience.
The Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) says many Queensland councils have millions of dollars worth of disaster resilience projects ready to proceed, but are being hamstrung by lack of adequate funding available.
LGAQ CEO Alison Smith said the Federal Opposition’s commitment was a big step in the right direction for communities in Australia’s most disaster-prone state.
“Spending that can help mitigate the impacts of events such as flooding, cyclone damage and bushfires is an absolute necessity,” Ms Smith said.
“The LGAQ has been advocating for some time for funds to start flowing from the Federal Government’s Emergency Response Fund (ERF) so that councils can get on with crucial work that will reduce the impact of natural disasters.
“We note this announcement would see up to $200 million a year from the national fund go towards prevention measures such as flood levees, sea walls, cyclone shelters, evacuation centres, fire breaks and telecommunications improvements.
“Councils know what needs to be done to reduce the disaster risks in their communities and have shovel-ready projects in place, but they simply can’t move without dedicated funding to get their projects off the ground.”
Ms Smith said a 2015 Productivity Commission report into natural disaster funding arrangements in Australia identified dedicated mitigation funding as the best means of building more resilient infrastructure in disaster prone communities.
“It has been estimated that the cost of disasters to Queensland will reach $18 billion a year by 2050,” she said.
“It’s in everybody’s interests for there to be long-term funding for mitigation projects in place to increase community resilience and reduce the disaster damages bill to the nation.”
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Michael Prain, Media