LGNSW election priority focus: Resilience to natural disasters
Over the past three years, no local government area in NSW has escaped a natural disaster declaration.
In this same period, 70 local government areas have had more than five natural disaster declarations, while six have had more than 10. The sheer scale of these events demonstrates the need for a far greater emphasis on grassroots resilience and adaptation to ensure communities are better prepared for future disasters.
Rebuilding infrastructure to its original specifications and condition is simply insufficient to help communities survive and thrive in the face of more frequent and increasingly severe natural disasters. Betterment funding, a relatively small additional investment, will save billions of dollars in years to come by ensuring that infrastructure is rebuilt to a more resilient standard, and communities can be up and running rather than brought to their knees.
Funding for reconstruction and recovery consumes the vast majority of disaster funding in Australia, compared with mitigation and community resilience measures. The level of mitigation funding also needs to be significantly increased if it is to be effective.
Disaster recovery is a marathon, not a sprint. It requires a long-term commitment from all spheres of government to get a community back up and running. Council-embedded Community Recovery Officers are key to ensuring a deep understanding of each community, and a response specifically tailored to meet local needs.
LGNSW is calling for all candidates and parties in the March State election to commit to:
- Increased financial support and funding for restoration, remediation and betterment of local community infrastructure, including water and sewerage assets, both in advance of disasters where the risks are identified and in the recovery stage
- Permanently embedded State and Federal government-funded Community Recovery Officers in recognition of the increasing frequency, scale and long recovery timeframes of natural disasters
- Proactive strategies to respond to natural disasters and adapt to climate risks.
Download LGNSW’s 2023 State Election Priorities
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