AUSTRALIA – The Australian Government has today announced it will provide up to $20 million to implement the new Australian Fire Danger Rating System in addition to a range of other initiatives to help Australians be better prepared for bushfires.
Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie said that these initiatives deliver on the recommendations of the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
“We’re pleased to announce up to $20 million in co-funding to implement the new Australian Fire Danger Rating System,” Senator McKenzie said.
“This new system will give our communities clear and consistent fire danger information across Australia, providing greater confidence to act safely in the event of a bushfire.
“We will also provide $2 million for a national education campaign to improve public awareness and understanding of the Australian Warning System, as part of the $261 million five-year Disaster Risk Reduction Package backed by the Australian, state and territory governments.
“The Australian Warning System provides consistent emergency warnings to communities about impending natural hazards and severe weather. Focused initially on bushfire, over time the warning system will extend to include flood, storm, cyclone, extreme heat and severe weather.
“We’re also providing an annual $4 million boost to the National Aerial Firefighting Centre (NAFC) which will allow a National Large Air Tanker to be based in Australia to be readily available for earlier starts and later finishes to our fire seasons.”
In total, the Australian Government has increased its annual investment in aerial firefighting to more than $30 million for the National Aerial Firefighting Centre to ensure additional resources are available to firefighters.
“Since the horrific Black Summer bushfires, 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.
“While communities across Australia are continuing to recover and rebuild, the next challenge is to make sure we are all prepared for the disaster risks facing us over the coming summer.
“To support this, Emergency Management Australia has been delivering its high risk weather season preparedness program, across Australia, providing a comprehensive overview of the national weather and climate outlook, and Australian Government support and services available to states and territories during disasters and emergencies.
“While we may not be able to disaster-proof the nation, we can reduce the risk and be better prepared to protect our families and communities from the potentially devastating impacts of natural hazards.”