Friday, June 21, 2024

$115m funding for NSW disaster recovery authority

The NSW Government has pledged $115 million to “properly” resource the NSW Reconstruction Authority and better ensure the state’s communities are prepared for natural disasters and can recover faster.

“We’ve all seen the devastating impacts of floods and fires across NSW, I am determined to take the action needed to save lives and ensure NSW has resilience in preparedness and response to natural disasters,” said Premier, Chris Minns.

“We know future natural disasters aren’t just a remote possibility – more are coming. It’s why we need to invest now to reduce the risk to communities, and then be ready and prepared to respond when disaster strikes.”

The NSW Reconstruction Authority was established in November last year after Resilience NSW was dissolved.

It was set up in line with recommendations from the independent 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry, led by Professor Mary O’Kane and Mick Fuller.

This $115 million commitment will see the NSW Reconstruction Authority become the first entity of its kind in NSW with the resources needed to proactively reduce the impact of future disasters before they happen, as well as respond effectively after, said Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Paul Scully.

“Being prepared doesn’t seem important or urgent until a disaster strikes, and then its value becomes very clear, very quickly,” the Minister said.

“This investment will allow the NSW Reconstruction Authority to be there for communities long before a disaster strikes and long after the disaster has passed.”

The investment will take the NSW Reconstruction Authority budget to $321.3 million over four years.

It means the agency can also start on a State Disaster Mitigation Plan and Disaster Adaptation Plans.

Other projects include:

  • supporting clean-ups and damage assessments
  • organising safe temporary housing
  • coordinating the repair and reestablishment of critical infrastructure such as schools and healthcare services
  • supporting councils and state agencies in rebuilding essential assets and infrastructure such as roads and bridges
  • public education and awareness campaigns
  • distributing state and Commonwealth disaster recovery funding.

Since 2019, NSW has seen more than 60 declared disasters, costing the state $5 billion, with 20,000 homes damaged in 2022 alone.

“The financial costs of responding to natural disasters is only increasing. That is why we are properly funding and resourcing the NSW Reconstruction Authority,” said Premier Minns.

“The NSW Government has made the careful and necessary decisions to address the holes left in the budget by the former government, including reprioritising funding to ensure the NSW Reconstruction Authority is properly resourced.

“We are setting out a long-term plan to repair the budget in a sustainable way, to rebuild the essential services we all rely on – and funding disaster preparedness and recovery is an essential service,” the Premier said.

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