The Morrison Government will establish a new national agency to help support local communities respond to large-scale natural disasters and undertake new initiatives to manage the impact of future events and the changing climate.

The National Recovery and Resilience Agency will provide support to local communities during the relief and recovery phases following major disasters.

The new Agency will also provide advice to Government on policies and programs to mitigate the impact of future major disaster events.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said $600 million would be invested in a new program of disaster preparation and mitigation, managed by the new National Recovery and Resilience Agency.

“The new Agency will help communities rebuild and recover from natural disasters, helping many Australians in their greatest time of need, while strengthening our defences against future major disasters,” the Prime Minister said.

“Immediate funding will support resilience projects across the community and for individuals’ homes, such as bushfire and cyclone proofing houses, building levees and improving the resilience of telecommunications and essential supplies.

“In the past two years Australians have faced floods, bushfires, cyclones, drought and now the COVID-19 pandemic and I’m determined to keep Australians safe and support the recovery of communities and regions right across Australia.”

The National Recovery and Resilience Agency will be led by Coordinator-General Shane Stone and bring together the former National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency and the National Bushfire Recovery Agency, including the $2 billion National Bushfire Recovery Fund.

The Agency will also take responsibility for supporting the long-term recovery of communities rebuilding after the recent storms and floods in New South Wales and Queensland and cyclones in West Australia.

Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management David Littleproud said Emergency Management Australia will also receive support to upgrade their National Situation Room to include a real time ‘common operating picture’, for all natural disasters.

“We will also provide $4.5 million to support disaster recovery scenario training to help regional communities prepare for high-risk hazards,” Minister Littleproud said.

“This funding will provide accredited training for people working in disaster recovery and two pilot Resilience Hubs to coordinate regional training and capability development across all levels of government when responding to a natural disaster.”

Minister Littleproud said the final, critically important part of these national reforms was the establishment of a world-class climate service with detailed climate and disaster information.

“Through the Australian Climate Service we will draw on the expertise of our best and brightest scientists to help us better anticipate, manage and adapt to climate impacts to inform the work of the National Recovery and Resilience Agency and Emergency Management Australia,” he said.

“I am proud of the reforms to our federal emergency management architecture that have been announced today, along with the ongoing work to implement all of the Royal Commission’s other recommendations.

“This national approach to policy reform will carry all the way through to peoples’ front doors.”

Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley said that the Australian Climate Service would strengthen Australia’s position as a world leader in anticipating and adapting to the impacts of changing climates for decades to come.

“We do face more extreme weather events due to changing climate and this is about being prepared, and being able to take steps to make our communities more resilient,” Minister Ley said.

“By bringing together critical data from the nation’s key climate research institutions, the Australian Climate Service will not only help save lives and money through a more informed emergency response, it will inform long-term planning for infrastructure, housing and basic services like power, telecommunications, and water.

“It will help shape the way we build communities and underpin Australia’s future adaptation strategies, including the new National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy announced in January.

“The collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, ABS and Geoscience Australia is critical to delivering rich insights drawn from an expanded range of data sources.

“It will be further complemented by the Morrison Government’s investments in adaptation and resilience through initiatives such as the National Environmental Science Program and Great Barrier Reef Restoration and Adaptation initiatives.”