East Gippsland Shire Council will welcome the opportunity to provide input into an independent review into Australia’s disaster funding arrangements announced by the Albanese Government this week.
Andrew Colvin APM OAM, who led national recovery efforts after the 2019-20 Black Summer Bushfires, is heading up the review to ensure government investment in disaster funding is fit-for-purpose and effective in the face of increasingly frequent and more severe natural disasters.
East Gippsland Shire Mayor Cr Mark Reeves said the region has a long history with natural disasters.
“What we know is there is considerable lived experience that can contribute greatly to improvements in how disaster-prone areas of Australia, including East Gippsland, can be resilient in the face of natural disasters by being supported through preparation, response and recovery,” Cr Reeves said.
“The scope of the review is encouraging, and its success will bein a fit-for-purpose natural disaster model that is effective on-the-ground in natural disaster-exposed communities.”
Cr Reeves said Council and the broader East Gippsland community looks forward to being actively involved in the review by sharing our lived experiences, learnings, challenges and successes.
“Mr Colvin will bring considerable East Gippsland context to the review given his previous involvement with the 2019-20 fires and multiple visits to our shire. We look forward to working with Mr Colvin and his team again,” Cr Reeves said.
Cr Reeves said Council has several advocacy priorities that have a natural disaster preparedness, recovery and resilience focus, including:
“These are priorities that reflect East Gippsland’s natural disaster challenges. Our advocacy is for investment and/or policy change in these areas to support our community,” Cr Reeves said.
The review will take forward the work the Government is already doing with states and territories to review the jointly funded Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA).
“DRFA is an obstacle to community disaster recovery due to its narrow focus and complexity. Our experience of the 2019-20 fires and other natural disasters identified the need for significant change in policy and practice,” Cr Reeves said.
“What’s needed is a more streamlined evidence and claims process that better reflects the emergency context in which work is undertaken.
“Victoria’s approach also needs change to enable the reconstruction of public assets to a higher disaster resilient standard and reduce expenditure on asset restoration. Also, DRFA arrangements can more effectively provide for the compounding impacts of multiple disaster events in quick succession. Reforms need to allow for critical safety measures,such as hazardous debris clean up after natural disasters, to occur over time.”