The Insurance Council of Australia
(ICA) has welcomed the increase in funds allocated in the 2016 Federal Budget towards making Australian communities and infrastructure more resilient to natural disasters.
Among the raft of reforms included in Tuesday night’s budget was the news that federal funding for the National Partnership on Natural Disaster Resilience will rise from $13.4 million in 2015-16 to $52.2 million.
Rob Whelan, CEO of the Insurance Council of Australia
, said with state and territory governments typically committing to match federal funds delivered through the partnership, more than $100 million could be available next financial year for priority projects that can potentially reduce the impact of disasters such as bushfires, cyclones and floods.
“The ICA and its members will continue making their expertise available for state and local governments to ensure funds are spent in a manner which most effectively protects lives and properties, and helps to bring down insurance premiums,” he said.
“The ICA continues to strongly back the Productivity Commission Report into Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements’ recommendation that Australian governments markedly lift their spending on mitigation and resilience measures, to reduce the vast amount spent recovering from repeated natural disasters.”
Whelan said the Productivity Commission’s 2015 report urged the Commonwealth to increase annual mitigation funding provided to the states and territories to $200 million.
The total annual economic cost to Australia of natural disasters was recently estimated at more than $9 billion by Deloitte
Access Economics, and was tipped to reach $33 billion by 2030, he said.