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Independent Review - Frequently Asked Questions

Independent Review of Commonwealth Disaster Funding (the Review)

Frequently Asked Questions

The Review - An Overview

Why is this review being undertaken?

With the severity, intensity and frequency of natural disasters increasing; Australia must improve its overall recovery and response capability and encourage greater investment in disaster risk reduction, consistent with National Priority 3 of the National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.

The Review will consider all Australian Government disaster funding to ensure its investment in risk reduction, resilience, recovery and response is effective and offers maximum benefit to Australian communities and the economy.

The Review will support a strategic pathway for the Australian Government to:

  • Incentivise investment in risk reduction;
  • Provide value for money, including the thresholds at which Commonwealth support starts and the level of cost sharing and eligibility for accessing assistance;
  • Ensure consistent, equitable and well targeted delivery; and
  • Promote confidence in the disaster management system
Who will conduct the Review?

An independent reviewer, Mr Andrew Colvin AO APM, will conduct the Review. Mr Colvin has been appointed by the Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Senator the Hon Murray Watt. Mr Colvin will be supported by a Review Taskforce within the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) with support from Deloitte.

Mr Andrew Colvin AO APM has extensive knowledge of Commonwealth emergency management processes and as the former head of the National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA) from January 2020 until May 2021, has lived experience managing the recovery from disaster events.

Prior to his appointment as the National Coordinator of NBRA, Mr Colvin was the Commissioner of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), having worked for the AFP for 30 years. Between 2002 and 2005, Mr Colvin coordinated the national and international aspects of the AFP’s response to terrorism, including the 2002 Bali bombings, 2003 Jakarta Marriott bombing and the 2004 Australian Embassy bombing. In 2022, Mr Colvin was awarded the Order of Australia for distinguished service to law enforcement, to counter terrorism initiatives, and to bushfire recovery programs.

Mr Colvin holds a Master of Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and is now a Partner at Deloitte.

How is the Review different to other reviews that NEMA is progressing?

NEMA has a number of reviews underway to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of disaster funding and governance. This includes the Independent Review into Commonwealth Disaster Funding, a Review of the jointly funded Commonwealth-State/Territory Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA), and the Governance Review. The DRFA Review and the Governance Review are separate but complementary to the Independent Review. Outcomes from the DRFA Review will feed into the overarching objective of the Independent Review. Each review will ultimately seek to improve outcomes across the prevention, preparedness, response, and recovery aspects for disaster-affected communities.

The Independent Review will examine all Commonwealth disaster funding to ensure it supports a system that is effective and fit-for-purpose given the increasing frequency and severity of natural disasters. It will also consider how government investment in disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery can better support a national system that makes our communities safer and builds resilience to natural disasters.

The DRFA Review will ensure equitable access to support so Australians impacted by disasters are treated consistently and fairly; streamline processes so governments can respond quickly and appropriately to severe disasters; and encourage jurisdictions to build back better and generate greater investment in resilience during the recovery effort.

The DRFA Review addresses recommendations made by the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements and the former Council of Australian Governments (COAG).

The Governance Review will consider how all levels of government work together effectively in relation to emergency management. This will include how the government serves the current and future state of national natural disaster preparedness, adaption, response, recovery, resilience and long-term policy requirements in Australia. The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements recommended the re-evaluation of national governance arrangements in relation to natural disasters to ensure they are equipped to cope with the increasing disaster risks and relevant policy matters.

What funding programs are in scope for the Review?

The Review will analyse outcomes from any current and forthcoming reviews, existing bodies of evidence and any consultation to date in relation, but not limited to, the following:

  • Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements;
  • Australian Government Disaster Recovery Payment;
  • Disaster Recovery Allowance;
  • Existing and emerging NEMA administered program funding;
  • Existing and emerging program funding administered by other Commonwealth Agencies;
  • Disaster and resilience funding programs cost-shared with and administered by states and territories and local government; and
  • Other disaster or resilience funding programs the Review considers relevant.
Will the Review look at disaster recovery programs that are administered by the states/territories and local governments?

The Review is looking into Commonwealth funded disaster programs to consider how government investment in disaster risk reduction, preparedness, response and recovery can better support a national system that makes our communities safer and builds resilience to natural disasters.

It will not examine disaster recovery programs that are solely funded by state and territory and/or local governments.

Through consultation across all levels of government, industry, businesses, community groups and the philanthropic / not-for-profit sector, the Review will encourage a collaborative approach to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of disaster funding measures.

What is the timeframe?

The Review is due for completion by April 2024.

Consultation and Engagement

Who has been consulted as part of the Review?

The Review has consulted broadly through targeted focus groups, a local government survey and via a public submission process. Stakeholders consulted include:

  • All levels of government,
  • Charities, not-for-profits and philanthropic organisations,
  • Private organisations including peak bodies and industry, and
  • Individuals.
How can I have my say?

Should you wish to engage with the Review, please get in touch via the Contact Us form.

What is NEMA’s role in the Review?

To support Mr Andrew Colvin, a Review Taskforce has been established within NEMA. The Taskforce is responsible for project management, facilitating access to data and stakeholders, and providing policy advice to Mr Colvin.

Public Submissions

Can I make a submission to the Review?

Public submissions closed on 4 August 2023.

If you have another question about the Independent Review of Commonwealth Disaster Funding that hasn’t been answered here, please get it touch via our Contact Us form.