Only three projects in the New England were successful in the latest round of grants from the Disaster Risk Reduction Fund.
More than 60 projects aimed at mitigating the impacts of future severe weather events and hazards have shared in the $29 million Disaster Risk Reduction Fund. Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said the projects will target capability building, community engagement, preparedness and prevention strategies, and risk mitigation initiatives.
“Unfortunately communities in New South Wales have seen more than their fair share of natural disasters in recent years,” Minister Watt said.
“Investing in initiatives that are driven by locals who know the area will help reduce the risks when future disasters strike.”
New South Wales Minister for Emergency Services and Resilience and Minister for Flood Recovery Steph Cooke said every dollar of the funding is targeted at locally-led initiatives that will keep regional communities safer and stronger.
“We’ve witnessed the devastating impacts of natural disasters in NSW in recent years, particularly the widespread major flooding over the past 12 months, which is why we need to invest in projects that will better equip and prepare communities for future hazards,” Ms Cooke said.
However, despite enduring severe bushfires, floods, and even a tornado or two, the New England has not fared well in this round of funding, which the department says is because most of the Councils in the area did not apply. Only one local council, Walcha, and two indigenous groups, in Glen Innes and Moree, were successful. Meanwhile, Sydney based organisations attracted millions in ‘disaster resilience’ funding, including $1.3m for managing hot weather, and $390,000 to improve resilience of systems for managing Sydney’s household waste.
Walcha Council received $244,259 to fund a dedicated Disaster Risk Reduction Coordinator. This new member of staff will identify opportunities to actively reduce disaster risks and hazards specific to the LGA, and assist community and business to mitigate against these risks.
Glen Innes Local Aboriginal Land Council received $249,050 for their Wii Ngurrambaa (Fire Country): Increasing Bushfire Resilience on Ngarabal Country project. This project aims to increase bushfire resilience across the region by training Aboriginal community members in forest firefighting, providing equipment for fire prevention and response, and utilising cultural burning practices to protect Country.
Miyay Birray Youth Service Inc., an Indigenous youth service based in Moree, has been granted $600,000 for their Safer Prepared Aboriginal Communities project. This will establish community-based education, culturally relevant disaster preparedness and early response networks in three North West NSW Aboriginal communities.
The Disaster Risk Reduction Fund is administered by the New South Wales Reconstruction Authority. Projects are jointly funded by the New South Wales and Australian governments, with recipients including community organisations, local councils, Local Aboriginal Land Councils, joint organisations of councils and not-for-profit organisations.