Disaster Ready Fund
Australia’s exposure to disaster risk continues to increase, with new risks emerging at an accelerated pace. Extreme heat, heavy rainfall, coastal inundation, and bushfires are increasingly impacting our communities, environment and economy.
The Australian Government has announced up to $1 billion for the Disaster Ready Fund (DRF) over five years, from 1 July 2023. Round One provided $200 million of Commonwealth investment for 187 projects in 2023-24.
The DRF is the Australian Government’s flagship disaster resilience and risk reduction initiative which will deliver projects that support Australians to manage the physical and social impacts of disasters caused by climate change and other natural hazards.
The DRF was established through the Disaster Ready Fund Act 2019 and replaces the Emergency Response Fund which terminated on 30 June 2023.
The DRF’s objectives are to:
1. increase the understanding of natural hazard disaster impacts, as a first step towards reducing disaster impacts in the future;
2. increase the resilience, adaptive capacity and/or preparedness of governments, community service organisations and affected communities to minimise the potential impact of natural hazards and avert disasters; and
3. reduce the exposure to risk, harm and severity of a natural hazard impacts, including reducing the recovery burden for governments and vulnerable and affected communities.
Consultation with states, territories, local government, not-for-profit organisations, First Nations people, and other key stakeholders will continue throughout the life of the DRF to ensure the program is best placed to deliver lasting impacts for Australians.
Disaster Ready Fund Survey
Future rounds of the DRF will build on the experience and outcomes from previous rounds.
As part of the consultation process, NEMA invites you to participate in a public survey to share your views on the DRF. The survey is open until 11:59pm AEST 12 October 2023.
Disaster Ready Fund Round One 2023-24
Successful projects under Round One of the DRF were announced on 7 June 2023. The list of projects is available on the DRF Round One webpage.
NEMA is in the process of negotiating funding agreements with the lead agency from each state and territory.
Once funding agreements have been co-signed by relevant ministers:
- Commonwealth funds will be transferred to state and territory governments.
- An Implementation Plan for each project will need to be developed and submitted to NEMA, via lead agencies, within three months of funding agreements being signed. A template for these plans will be agreed between NEMA and lead agencies as part of funding agreement negotiations.
- Lead agencies are responsible for providing funds to project delivery partners, where relevant.
Once projects commence:
- Lead agencies will need to report on progress and outcomes through periodic performance reports, a final report and an audit report.
- The content and frequency of these reports will be agreed between lead agencies and NEMA as part of funding agreement negotiations.
If you require further information or feedback on a successful project, NEMA recommends you contact the lead agencies in each state and territory.
Disaster Ready Fund Round Two 2024-25
Funding for Round Two will become available in 2024-25.
NEMA is consulting on the design of Round Two and aims to release Round Two Guidelines before the end of December 2023.
To receive updates on the progress of Round Two, please email Disaster.Ready@nema.gov.au.
Further information regarding DRF Round Two is available on the DRF Round Two webpage.
- Why has this fund been established?
The safety and wellbeing of Australians is the Government’s highest priority.
With increased severity and frequency of disasters across Australia, it’s critical to ensure that systemic disaster risk is addressed and Australia is as prepared as possible for future disasters.
The Disaster Ready Fund has been established to provide up to $200 million per year for five years, from 2023-24, for natural disaster resilience and risk reduction.
The Australian Government is committed to investing in resilience initiatives to reduce the risk of disaster impacts and ensure that communities are in the best possible position for recovery when disaster does occur. This investment seeks to mitigate potential disaster loss and damage, reduce harm, loss of life, property loss and the impacts on economic productivity. Investment in prevention and preparedness is less expensive than disaster response. For every dollar spent on disaster risk reduction, there is an estimated $9.60 return on investment.
Investing in resilience and risk reduction is a key priority outlined in the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and Australia’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework.
- What will it look like?
The DRF will provide up to $1 billion over five years from 1 July 2023 for disaster resilience and mitigation projects across Australia, with funding to be matched by states and territories where possible.
Projects may include direct investment in grey and green-blue infrastructure, for example levees, floodways, seawalls, firebreaks, constructed wetlands and reefs.
Projects that target systemic risk reduction to improve the quality and impact of the response to future disasters will also be eligible.
For more information on future DRF rounds, head to the DRF Round Two webpage. For information on previous rounds, including successful projects currently receiving funding under the DRF, head to the DRF Round One webpage.
- When will applications open and close?
Applications for Round One of the Disaster Ready Fund have closed and applicants have been notified of the outcomes.
In June 2023 NEMA announced 187 projects, with a total value of just under $400 million (including $200 million of Commonwealth investment).
Further information regarding the DRF Round One - 2023-24 and successful projects is available on the DRF Round One webpage.
Planning for Round Two, which will provide up to $200 million in 2024-25, has commenced. The feedback and experiences from Round One will help inform future rounds of the DRF.
- How does DRF relate to the Emergency Response Fund?
The DRF has replaced the Emergency Response Fund (ERF), which terminated on 30 June 2023, following the passing of the Emergency Response Fund Amendment (Disaster Ready Fund) Bill 2022.
- What is the purpose of the DRF?
The DRF delivers against the recommendations of the Productivity Commission Inquiry into National Disaster Funding in 2015. The program delivers up to $200 million per year on disaster resilience, with funding to be matched by states and territories. It directly contributes to Australia’s obligations under the UN Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030 and Australia’s National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework. It also supports calls from industry and civil society, such as Insurance Council of Australia’s 2022 Building a more resilient Australia report, and the Climate Council and Emergency Leaders for Climate Action’s The Great Deluge: Australia’s New Era of Unnatural Disasters for prioritised investment in resilience and adaptation.
The DRF is given effect through the Disaster Ready Fund Act 2019.
The DRF replaces the Emergency Response Fund, terminated on 30 June 2023. The ERF ear-marked $50 million per year for resilience building measures – the DRF commits up to four times that amount.