Jan 27, 2022

Labor’s announcement that it will commit $25 million to an Emergency Operations Precinct in Moruya is merely but an echo of the New South Wales Government’s multi-million dollar investment in Emergency Management Centres.

Senator for New South Wales Jim Molan said Federal and State Labor’s announcement was yet another ‘me too’ copycat of government policy.

“They have been pushing for change, yet are following in the footsteps of their opposition.”

Earlier this week, the New South Wales Government committed an additional $31 million for the construction of three new co-located Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) and Fire Control Centres (FCC) at Moruya, Tumut and Hawkesbury.

Senator Molan said while the bricks and mortar has been taken care of by the New South Wales Government, funds from the Federal Government’s Emergency Response Fund (ERF) would be better allocated to other practical projects aimed at minimising the impact of natural disasters.

“With additional funding already allocated to the Emergency Service Centre in Moruya, thanks to the New South Wales Government, it would be more sensible to invest in initiatives that are yet to receive funding.

“This could include a range of projects such as repairing and rebuilding fire trails, and purchasing more firefighting materials to ensure the community is better prepared and protected from future bushfire and flood risks,” Senator Molan said.

Senator Molan also noted mental health was another important issue that needs to be prioritised in communities impacted by natural disasters.

“With Post Traumatic Stress Disorder being a major crisis in our community right now, these funds could also provide more counselling and community strengthening activities,” Senator Molan said.

Responding to Federal Labor Leader Anthony Albanese’s claims that the Coalition Government’s $4.7 billion Emergency Response Fund has not delivered any assistance, Senator Molan said their assertions were misleading.

“To imply the Coalition Government hasn’t provided support to communities is absolute rubbish.

“Support for communities around Australia following the devastating 2019/20 Black Summer bushfires is in fact continuing, and of the $2.8 billion the Liberal and National Government committed to recovery from the bushfires, $2.5 billion has been delivered so far.

“The reason the $150 million component of the ERF has not been drawn on is because the Government’s Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements 2018 (DRFA) remain the primary mechanism for Commonwealth support to the states and territories following a natural disaster.

“As a Future Fund, the ERF is designed to ensure that the funds are only expended when no other funding is available for the natural disaster,” Senator Molan said.

Over the past decade, the Commonwealth Government has provided more than $12 billion to the states and territories through DRFA.

In 2020-21, the Commonwealth committed well over $640 million for natural disaster recovery projects across the country.

“The Emergency Relief Fund demonstrates the Government’s commitment to building a mature national resilience capability to maximise Australia’s disaster preparedness into the future.”