Local governments and natural disasters

The Federal Bushfire Royal Commission has issued a short discussion paper asking a number of questions about the appropriate role of local government in preparing for, managing and responding to, and recovering from bushfires.

National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) CEO Dallas Booth said, “We at NIBA to monitor the Royal Commission for any issues of potential relevance to insurance brokers.”

This paper poses a number of questions on which the Royal Commission invites comment by 18 June 2020. The Commission has particularly encouraged local governments to provide their views.

Some key questions in the discussion paper include:

  • What information do local governments have access to and rely on in preparing natural disaster management plans, conducting risk assessments and in otherwise preparing for natural disasters?
  • What information do local governments rely on in assessing the impact of natural disasters?
  • What is the responsibility of local governments for communicating with, and educating their communities about, natural disaster risks, preparedness, response and recovery?
  • How could this communication and education be improved?
  • Are local governments provided with sufficient guidance, training and standards to perform their role in relation to natural disaster mitigation, preparedness, response and recovery?
  • How can local governments ensure accountability for, and compliance with, land-use planning or hazard management obligations designed to mitigate and increase resilience to natural hazard risks?
  • What is the responsibility of local governments for evacuation, evacuation centres and safe places?
  • What is the responsibility of local governments for assisting the community with relief and recovery from natural disasters?
  • How do local governments coordinate relief and recovery assistance with other local governments, Australian, state and territory governments, charities and community groups? c. How could these arrangements be improved?