26 September 2023

Disaster funding to be reviewed

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A review into the national Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) has been initiated by the Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator Bridget McKenzie.

Senator McKenzie said it was important for transparency, consistency and accountability to review the current arrangements where the Federal Government had provided money to State Governments following a disaster.

“The joint disaster funding arrangements are inherently complex,” Senator McKenzie said.

“But we need to ensure that taxpayers have confidence that the current arrangements ensure that those Australians in need are being assisted in a timely way,” she said.

“They also need to know how requests are made and for what purpose, with increased transparency.

“Most importantly, taxpayers need to know that the system works for people, not politicians.”

Senator McKenzie said the review would consider reporting requirements by the States about the money they spent and what support had been provided.

She said it would also examine whether the Commonwealth should withhold funding to States that failed to report.

“We need to make it clear what the Commonwealth’s responsibilities for funding are and what are the States’ responsibilities – and what costs should be shared,” she said.

“This review will also ensure we are more consistent in how recovery is delivered, so that whether you live in Queensland or South Australia, the help you get after a disaster that is funded by the Commonwealth is similar.”

Senator McKenzie said the review into DRFA complemented work underway on the second National Action Plan under the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.

She said progressing the priority areas of the Framework was currently driven through National Action Plans, and negotiations were underway with the States on the second Plan.

“We will use these negotiations to ensure there are clear obligations, not just on the Commonwealth, but on the states and territories, to building in resilience and consistency in all we do to respond to natural disasters.”

Senator McKenzie said any future National Action Plan under a Coalition Government would tie future funding for the States and Territories to “concrete action” on resilience and mitigation.

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