Australian Red Cross has welcomed first steps toward a new national framework to reduce the impact of disasters.
Red Cross National Manager Emergency Services Andrew Coghlan said the announcement by the Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor is just what Red Cross has been calling for – both as an organisation with a long history of supporting people in disasters and as a member of the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience.
The government announced a National Resilience Taskforce will be formed to lead the development of a national framework for disaster mitigation. The framework will guide an increase in and more efficient use of disaster resilience spending, in line with recommendations of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding in 2015.
“When we talk about what disasters cost, we often only measure the physical losses, like homes and infrastructure. But when you factor in the social costs – stress, mental illness, debt, family breakdown and unemployment – those costs actually go up by 50%.”
“The total cost of natural disasters is now forecast to more than double to $39 billion a year by 2020 according to a report released last year by the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience, prepared by Deloitte Access Economics.
“The social and economic benefits of investing in disaster resilience are huge. They include employment and purchasing as well as stronger, safer and economically viable rural communities. It can also reduce the drain disasters place on budgets, which often ends up diverting funds from other programs or derailing budget repair.”
Mr Coghlan said with Australians increasingly exposed to the impacts of disaster through a changing climate, increasing inequality and urbanisation, Red Cross stands ready as part of the Business Roundtable to help shape the framework.
“We congratulate the government for this commitment, as we have been expressly calling for a large increase in investment (from government and others) in disaster risk reduction and community resilience.”
CONTACT: Susan Cullinan, Red Cross media adviser: 0448 326 335, firstname.lastname@example.org