The New South Wales (NSW) Reconstruction Authority will secure $115 million in funding from the state government to boost its preparation for and response to natural calamities.
The additional funding will take the NSW Reconstruction Authority’s total budget to $321.3 million over four years. The funds will allow the agency to start on a state disaster mitigation plan and disaster adaptation plans.
‘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,” NSW Premier Chris Minns said on Sept. 4.
The funding will support the NSW Reconstruction Authority’s clean-ups, damage assessments, and efforts to organise safe temporary housing and coordinate repair and reestablishment of critical infrastructure such as schools and healthcare services.
It will also back councils and state agencies in rebuilding essential assets and infrastructure such as roads and bridges, public education and awareness campaigns, and the distribution of state and Commonwealth disaster recovery funding.
“Being prepared doesn’t seem important or urgent until a disaster strikes, and then its value becomes very clear, very quickly,” Planning and Public Spaces Minister Paul Scully 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.”
“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,” Emergency Services Minister Jihad Dib said.
The NSW Reconstruction Authority currently facilitates more than $6.8 billion in state and Commonwealth grant programs, providing support and practical help to those in need.
Agency Create In Response to Flooding Disasters
The NSW government established the agency in November 2022, following the dissolving of the Resilience NSW upon the recommendations of the independent 2022 NSW Flood Inquiry.
The inquiry came as the state suffered a flooding disaster from February to April and July 2022, which resulted in almost 15,000 damaged homes and nearly 8,000 people living in emergency accommodation.
The NSW floods, together with southeast Queensland’s flood from February to March 2022, were considered the costliest flooding events in Australian history, with a total of $5.87 billion in claims in insured damages, the Treasury said.
The inquiry found that the NSW State Emergency Services failed to use many of its available resources through direct assistance or other agencies, did not have the operational capability to coordinate multiple flood rescues, and that its overwhelmed local units allegedly turned off or ignored Beacon systems due to the large volume of calls for service, among other findings.
In addition, the inquiry found that Resilience NSW lacked readiness, engagement and communication about its role and functions, which led to confusion in emergency management arrangements during the operational response and recovery.
The inquiry recommended that Resilience NSW be reshaped and that the government reallocate specific disaster preparedness and response functions.
The Treasury said that a final report on the public consultations with communities in regions affected by the 2022 floods will be handed down during the third quarter of 2024.