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Australians urged to prepare for summer disaster season

Emergency Management Australia (EMA) has completed its annual disaster season briefings with states and territories and has urged Australians to properly prepare for the upcoming summer disaster season, which officially commences this month.

Minister for Emergency Management David Littleproud said that local, state, territory and federal agencies are well prepared to support communities through natural disasters, including from the initial response and relief phase through to long-term recovery.

“Since the horrific bushfires last summer, the Government has been working to bolster Australia’s ability to respond to and recover from crises including natural disasters and the COVID-19 Pandemic,” Minister Littleproud said.

“The next challenge is to make sure we are all prepared for the disaster risks facing us over the coming season. “Significant grass and vegetation growth over winter combined with higher than average temperatures across the southern part of Australia means we are looking at the very real potential for a bad grass fire season.

“In the north, La Nina conditions risk bringing a worse than average storm, cyclone and flood season.”

Over the past two weeks, Emergency Management Australia has been holding operational briefings with police, fire authorities and emergency service agencies in every State and Territory to prepare for the disaster season.

“The Australian Government works with communities to prevent, prepare, respond and recover from disasters – from disaster mitigation initiatives, and community awareness and warning measures, through to disaster relief and recovery support,” Minister Littleproud said.

“We have invested more than $2 billion to help communities recover from last summer’s bushfires and have already committed significant funding to better prepare for the future including in bushfire research, aerial firefighting and telecommunications.

“We are investing more than $26 million annually in the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to improve Australia’s aerial firefighting capability, and more than $37 million to strengthen telecommunications resilience in bushfire and disaster-prone areas so that communities can stay connected during emergencies.

“There’s also been an important step in streamlining aid and support from the Australian Defence Force ahead of the 2020 2021 summer season with the Department of Defence and Home Affairs, through EMA, undertaking a comprehensive review of the Defence Assistance to the Civil Community (DACC) arrangements.

“While we can work with authorities to properly prepare, it’s also critical families, households and individuals do what they can to prepare themselves.

“By planning ahead, people can reduce the risk of injury and damage to property.

“Information on how to prepare for disasters is available through state and territory authorities.”

The Royal Commission into Natural Disaster Arrangements will deliver its Final Report to government on 28 October 2020, which we look forward to receiving and carefully considering as part of our ongoing work to ensure Australia’s natural disaster capabilities are as effective as possible.