Senate debates

Thursday, 9 March 2023

Questions without Notice

Natural Disasters

3:02 pm

Photo of Murray WattMurray Watt (Queensland, Australian Labor Party, Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry) Share this | Hansard source

We have known for years that the federal government has needed to significantly increase its investment in protecting communities from natural disasters. All the way back in 2015, the Productivity Commission recommended that the federal government should invest $200 million every year in disaster mitigation and resilience across Australia, but what did the former coalition government do? Absolutely nothing, as we saw in so many other areas of policy. For years they ignored the advice of the Productivity Commission before eventually setting up the Emergency Response Fund, which failed to release a single cent in recovery funding and didn't complete a single mitigation project. In fact, when the legislation had been passed to create the then Emergency Response Fund, the only reason it even provided for mitigation funding was that Labor insisted on it as an amendment when we were still in opposition. So it's no wonder that we have such a big backlog of mitigation projects right around the country. We're starting to work through that backlog with the Disaster Ready Fund, and I look forward to working with states and territories to implement it.


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