Today marks the first anniversary for the Albanese Government’s new National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), which united the recovery and response arms of federal natural disaster management.
In the past 12 months, NEMA has taken major steps to significantly enhance the country’s disaster risk reduction, preparedness and emergency response capability to make Australia better prepared for disasters well into the future.
NEMA hit the ground running, supporting State and Territory Governments in responding to significant floods, storms, bushfires and cyclones across large parts of the country, while also reviewing how disaster management is done, and what improvements can be made to streamline support.
In its first year, NEMA has:
- Responded to 284 disaster declarations impacting 244 (approximately 45 per cent) of Australia’s local government areas.
- Committed more than $3.85 billion in exceptional recovery assistance packages, cost-shared with the states and territories.
- Supported jurisdictions to respond to 30 disaster events through the provision of immediate support to individuals and households, small businesses, primary producers, and local councils under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.
- Continued support for recovery, reconstruction and resilience projects in Queensland and northern New South Wales following the 2022 floods.
- Coordinated the Albanese Government’s Disaster Ready Fund, investing nearly $400 million this year (through State and Territory co-investment) in risk reduction projects around Australia, such as flood levees, cyclone shelters, bushfire detection technology and evacuation centres.
- Begun building Australia’s first national stockpile of critical disaster goods and services, such as emergency shelter, water and electricity, to enable states and territories to quickly access these resources in times of need.
- Supported the leasing and positioning of a national fleet of highly specialised firefighting aircraft for use by state and territory governments through the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC), and the lease of another National Large Air Tanker.
- Opened an upgraded National Situation Room (NSR) and the National Joint Common Operating Picture, enabling collaboration amongst federal, state and territory government agencies and non-government organisations during a crisis.
- Introduced a new, simplified Australian Fire Danger Rating System so that no matter where someone is, they understand the fire risk and what action they need to take.
Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said the decision to combine the National Recovery and Resilience Agency and Emergency Management Australia was ambitious but necessary.
“Previously Australia’s disaster response and recovery agencies were kept separate, but by having a single agency we are able to provide end-to-end support and maintain better oversight of disasters,” Minister Watt said.
“This has delivered major improvements in our national efforts to prepare for future disasters, respond when disaster strikes and remain deeply connected with communities during recovery.
“Through national crisis coordination, federal financial support, and near real-time data and insights, NEMA has supported State and Territory Governments to navigate the relentless rainfall, cyclones and floods which Australia’s third consecutive La Niña brought.
“I particularly want to thank NEMA staff for their extremely hard work this year, responding around-the-clock to a number of major disasters while adapting to a new agency.
“Their work also puts us in good stead to be prepared for the hotter, drier higher risk weather season conditions we’re expecting during spring and summer.
“Through NEMA, the Albanese Government has been working closely with state and territory services to plan for the coming fire season, assessing capability and working to streamline response efforts, to make sure everyone is as prepared as possible.”
This month NEMA will host Australia’s first Higher Risk Weather Season National Preparedness Summit, bringing together around 250 crisis management, response and recovery specialists from governments, industry, community and the not-for-profit sector to share resources and practise national-level coordination.
For more information on NEMA’s first year, visit www.nema.gov.au
This release was originally published on the Ministers for the Department of Home Affairs' website