Thursday, April 25, 2024

SA councils welcome cyclone recovery funding

South Australian Councils have welcomed an announcement by the State Government that disaster assistance is now available for 14 local councils impacted by severe weather events following tropical cyclone Tiffany.

SA LGA President, Mayor Angela Evans said the funding would be critical to the recovery of regional communities and allow councils to manage both short term and long-term disaster costs.

“It’s a big relief to have this decision recognise the very significant impacts being felt right across the north and centre of our state,” President Evans said.

“I want to thank the council staff who have worked tirelessly to support their communities in the immediate aftermath of these events, and also worked with us to gather the evidence needed to secure this joint Federal-State funding.”

She said impacted councils urgently required the funding to restore critical infrastructure and services for their communities, including transport and communication services and to address supply chain blockages.

“Up to 45 council areas were affected by the recent extreme weather and flooding, and most councils are still assessing the damage, so further councils may need to be added to this preliminary list.”

“We have been speaking with state agencies about the special circumstances involved, so we just need to
clarify what this decision means for those communities.

“The problem isn’t over because the bad weather has ended. Councils are still dealing with the disruption and secondary consequences that follow natural disasters, and we will continue to work with our members and state agencies to support councils and communities through this process.”

President Evans also welcomed the advice that the Federal Government is ready to provide additional assistance once longer-term recovery needs are identified, and said councils were looking forward to continuing that conversation.

“Separately, we also want to speak to the State Government about how recent events have highlighted the
outdated nature of the current Local Government Disaster Recovery Assistance Arrangements,” she said.

“In the hours and days after these events, councils are busy trying to meet the immediate health and safety
needs of their communities, by locating vulnerable and isolated residents and ensuring security of food and
medical supplies.

“Councils are looking for more certainty and consistency in accessing disaster funding, including clearer
definitions and eligibility thresholds, so councils can focus on supporting communities when they need it
most.

“We would like to see the current damage thresholds brought into line with other state jurisdictions –
currently South Australian councils are the least financially supported councils in Australia when it comes to
recovering costs related to a natural disaster.”

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