$115 million to ensure disaster recovery and preparedness
The NSW Government is committing $115 million to properly resource the NSW Reconstruction Authority and better ensure NSW communities are prepared for natural disasters and can recover faster.
The NSW Reconstruction Authority was established with bipartisan support in November 2022 after Resilience NSW was dissolved.
It was established in line with recommendations from the independent 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry, led by Professor Mary O’Kane and Mick Fuller.
Despite the expanded responsibilities to include adaption, mitigation and preparedness for natural disasters, the former government left the NSW Reconstruction Authority as a shell – failing to fully fund and resource this vital agency.
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.
The investment will take the NSW Reconstruction Authority budget to $321.3 million over 4 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.
The authority currently facilitates more than $6.8 billion in state and Commonwealth grant programs offering support and practical help to those who need it most.
Natural disasters are becoming more frequent and more severe as we deal with the impacts of climate change.
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.
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.
Premier Chris Minns said:
“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.
“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."
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Paul Scully said:
“Being prepared doesn’t seem important or urgent until a disaster strikes, and then its value becomes very clear, very quickly.
“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.”
Minister for Emergency Services Jihad Dib said:
“We know we can’t stop natural disasters from occurring, but we can do more to prepare and prevent the worst of impacts.
“We’re lucky enough to have some of the country’s best and most experienced emergency service workers and this funding will make their jobs safer by reducing risks and better planning for the future.
“This is a smart, staged investment to make sure communities are better prepared for disasters, and so we can deliver cost-effective reconstruction programs and responsibly manage billions in state and Commonwealth disaster funding.”
Parliamentary Secretary for Disaster Recovery Janelle Saffin said:
“Preparedness in all its forms at all levels of community and government is key and with the NSWRA we now have the opportunity do this.
“The NSW Reconstruction Authority was needed to be the overarching agency that could take a whole-of- government planning approach to the preparation, response and recovery to disasters, so that recovery plans and packages are in place before the disaster and the work on local adaptation plans and state mitigation actions scales up.
“In the Northern Rivers there was a scramble to prepare the response and the recovery in the midst of the largest humanitarian and most costly natural disaster Australia has seen. The painful lessons learned are all being utilised in the consolidation of the NSWRA, as is the now 12-year successful experience of the Queensland Reconstruction Authority.
“Such groundwork ensures that agencies are ready to do the response and recovery work and that local communities who drive recovery can work in close collaboration with state and regional agencies.”