OPINION

Werriwa Matters with Anne Stanley: We need to invest in disaster mitigation

For the second year in a row NSW faced a so called 'once-in-a-generation' disaster. Both the Black Summer Bushfires and the more recent NSW Floods have seen devastation to property, livelihoods and the loss of life.

Thousands of insurance claims have been lodged. However, many more victims don't have insurance at all.

It's becoming clear that we're simply not prepared for climate change and the more severe fires, floods, and cyclones it will create.

A recent NSW Treasury study found the increase in dangerous weather events will cost NSW up to $17.2 billion a year by 2061, more than three times the current damage bill.

The Productivity Commission's Inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements found that Australia only spends 3% of its disaster funding on mitigation. In 2017, the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities showed that if Governments spent just $250 million a year on disaster resilience, it could halve the cost of natural disasters.

Yet this government has refused to spend a cent from the $4 billion disaster fund it announced two years ago. Not one project has been approved.

The same fund has earned nearly $400 million in interest for the government over the last two years, instead of being used to help the families who have lost everything.

We need to invest in disaster mitigation, and we need to do it now. Our communities, and our economy, depend on it.