26 September 2023

Disaster funding aid prompts national review

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A decision by the Commonwealth Government to commission an independent review into Australia’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) to ensure it meets the expectations of Western Australians has been welcomed by the local Minister for Emergency Services, Stephen Dawson.

Mr Dawson said the review recommended by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements is to be led by former head of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, Andrew Colvin, to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the current system and help bolster WA’s resilience to hazards like bushfires, cyclones and/or floods.

Mr Dawson said communities recently impacted by disasters would be encouraged to have their say on what did and didn’t work in accessing recovery funding through the current arrangements.

He said DRFA provided a range of practical assistance measures to support communities through the challenging recovery period and while State Governments were responsible for administering the DRFA assistance measures, the Commonwealth repaid the State with up to 75 per cent of their expenses.

“Disaster recovery is a complex and challenging process,” Mr Dawson said, “everyone’s recovery journey is different.”

“This review is an important step forward in identifying what the State and Commonwealth can do to create a more efficient and simplified recovery funding model that works for all Australians,” he said.

“In many cases, the work has already started on several important projects that are set to have a major impact on the way our State manages disaster recovery.”

Mr Dawson said while the Royal Commission recommended DRFA help identify roadblocks slowing down recovery payments, the review would also examine the supporting of continual efforts to improve WA’s emergency management capabilities, as well as what was needed to build Australia’s resilience to an increasing number of extreme disaster events.

He said several WA-led projects were already underway to strengthen the State’s resilience including the establishment of a State Disaster Recovery working group, implementing a Community Disaster Resilience Strategy and developing an improvement plan for Local Emergency Management Arrangements.

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