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Emergency management and disaster resilience
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Across Australia local government plays an important role building resilient and sustainable communities, particularly when it comes to dealing with natural hazards and other threats. While managing and responding to emergencies is largely the responsibility of state and territory governments, local governments are increasingly playing crucial roles in preparing communities through various mitigation interventions, assisting in response and playing a key leadership role in rebuilding and recovery efforts.

ALGA’s policy work focuses on ensuring local government is recognised and supported in helping to build greater levels of resilience in Australia’s diverse communities and geographic regions. To do this ALGA is actively engaging with other levels of government on the continuation of appropriate Commonwealth funding to support councils and communities to mitigate and recover from natural disasters.

Emergency Management

The size, severity, timing, location and impacts of disasters are difficult to predict and our changing climate increases the uncertainty about future risks. Scientific modelling suggests that climate change will likely result in an increased frequency and severity of extreme weather events. Rising sea levels are increasing the likelihood of coastal erosion and severe inundation.

The key elements of emergency management at the national level are the mitigation of risk, the promotion of community safety and warning systems, engaging partners and communities, protecting built and natural environments and community resilience. These are undertaken through a whole-of-government, multi-agency, all hazards approach.

Natural Disaster Resilience

Disaster resilience is a shared responsibility for individuals, households, businesses and communities, as well as for governments.

The Australian Government invests a total of $26.1 million each year in the National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience to fund priority disaster resilience initiatives. These funds are matched by state and territory governments.

In 2018, following floods, cyclones and fires which greatly impacted communities across Australia, the Australian Government established a National Resilience Taskforce within the Home Affairs Department to lead nation-wide reforms to reduce the impact and financial burden of disasters on our communities and economy. The Taskforce's first priority is to develop a five-year national disaster mitigation framework to reduce the impact of disasters.

Communicable Diseases

The Emergency Response Plan for Communicable Disease Incidents of National Significance (CDPLAN) outlines the whole-of-government response for communicable disease incidents of national significance. The CDPLAN has been developed under the auspices of the National Health Emergency Response Arrangements (NatHealth Arrangements 2009). In Australia, state and territory governments have primary responsibility for the management of communicable disease emergencies. Some emergencies may trigger the need for a nationally-coordinated approach under the CDPLAN.

Biosecurity

Local governments contribute to Australia’s biosecurity in both metropolitan and rural/regional areas. The movement of animals and other livestock through our cities and towns via ports, roads and rail, as well as by foot across diverse rural landscapes, can expose our domestic agricultural and grazing industries and natural environment to risk from invasive pests, disease and noxious weeds.

ALGA provides support to state and territory local government associations on national-scale biosecurity issues through representation on peak working groups and on Federal Government initiatives that work across the tiers of government to help maintain and protect Australia’s biosecurity.

 

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