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Independent Review of Commonwealth Disaster Funding

Ensuring targeted disaster funding – Independent Review of Commonwealth Disaster Funding

Many Australians have experienced multiple natural disasters in recent years and it is critical that governments take steps to ensure we are prepared for more frequent and intense natural hazards over the coming decades.

The Australian Government has commissioned an Independent Review of Disaster Funding to take stock of Australia’s disaster funding environment following the significant government financial support provided to impacted communities over the last three years in response to significant events.


The review will consider how Commonwealth arrangements for disaster funding can be optimised to support a system that is fit-for-purpose to support wellbeing, national productivity, prosperity and economic security and maintains state, territory and local government roles and responsibilities in the context of the projected increase in natural disasters over the coming decades.

Independent Review Leadership

Former Australian Federal Police Commissioner Mr Andrew Colvin AO APM will lead the Independent Review commissioned by the Australian Government.

Under Mr Colvin’s leadership, the Review will consider how government investment in disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response, recovery and resilience can better support a national system and the scale of transformation needed to build resilience to the extreme disaster events Australia is projected to experience over the coming decades.

Mr Colvin has considerable experience with disaster response and recovery, having led the National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) from January 2020 to May 2021. Prior to this he was the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police and a serving officer for 30 years.

He will be supported by a taskforce situated within the National Emergency Management Agency.

Andrew Colvin (centre) speaks to media about the Independent Review into Disaster Funding outside with microphones and journalists in foreground.

Independent Review Timeframe

The Review will take approximately 18 months. During this time there will be extensive consultation across all levels of government, as well as with industry, businesses, community groups, and the not-for-profit sector.

A final report is expected to be provided to Government in April 2024. 

Terms of Reference

Matters to be considered by the review:

The review is to consider and report on:

  • The Commonwealth arrangements for funding disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery and identify the areas of reform required to ensure they support a system that is scalable, sustainable, effective, equitable, transparent and accessible.
  • Options to embed resilience and risk reduction into response and recovery funding and how the Commonwealth can incentivise states and territories to better manage risks and mitigate recovery costs.
  • Options within Commonwealth, states and local governments (including cost sharing) to encourage greater investment in disaster risk reduction and resilience to help constrain growing disaster recovery costs.
  • Areas of further work (outside of the scope of the review) that would help to enhance Australia’s overall disaster risk reduction, recovery and response efforts, including through the private sector.

This will include an examination of:

  • Australia’s funding environment, in the context of the multiple natural disasters over the last three years and the projected escalating costs of recovery due to the likely increase of natural disasters.
  • Areas of duplication/gaps/opportunities to streamline funding to align with best practice.
  • Processes, protocols and guidelines (e.g., funding activations, evidence and eligibility criteria, audit requirements).
  • Commonwealth investments in other portfolios (as determined by the Review) which deliver disaster resilience outcomes and how transparency and reporting can be improved to provide a more complete and accurate picture of Commonwealth investment.


For answers to frequently asked questions about the Independent Review of Commonwealth Disaster Funding please see our Frequently Asked Questions.

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