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NSW budgets $120 million for disaster resilience

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The NSW Government has allocated $120 million to natural disaster mitigation and recovery programs.

The sum includes $30 million to fix state and council roads and bridges damaged by April’s storm in areas such as the Hunter Valley.

About $22.4 million will fund grants for community disaster mitigation works under the Natural Disaster Resilience Program, according to Emergency Services Minister David Elliott.

The figures were revealed in the state budget last week.

The State Emergency Service will receive $24.3 million under the Government’s Strategic Disaster Readiness Package, to help mitigate and respond to floods and storms.

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) spokesman Campbell Fuller says ICA welcomes the NSW budget allocations for disaster and resilience programs.

“Access to credible hazard data for property-owners and residents is the first step required in risk management. Community members will be in a better position to understand local natural hazards, which will lead to better decisions about what steps they can take to protect themselves and their property.”

Access to the same hazard information for the general insurance sector will also allow insurance products to be developed that respond to local hazard conditions, he says.

IAG has also welcomed disaster resilience measures funded in the budget, including $1.9 million over four years for the Flood Data Access Program, to inform consumers about floodplain risk management, emergency management and land use planning.

The Rural Fire Service (RFS) will receive $5.2 million to develop a web portal for landowners, featuring important information about bushfire risk and mitigation. 

“These new investments are a step in the right direction towards the NSW and local governments sharing more information about major flood and bushfire hazards with the community,” IAG Personal Insurance EGM Product and Underwriting Tracy Green said.

She says they will make homebuyers better informed of the risks from floods and bushfires.

The Flood Data Access Program builds on a collaboration between NSW councils, NRMA Insurance and the Floodplain Management Association aimed at improving access to flood risk information. 

The $5.2 million for the RFS will help it develop the Guardian technology system over two years, to replace the Bushfire Risk Information Management System.

Mr Elliott says the RFS will also receive $9.8 million to contract large air tankers to fight remote bushfires, $2 million to develop a fire trail network and $1 million to build four remote-area volunteer training centres.

“This budget builds on the Government’s commitment to ensure emergency services workers have the resources they need to protect communities and help increase our resilience against the impact of fires, floods and other emergencies,” Mr Elliott said.