The Minister for Agriculture, Drought and Emergency Management, David Littleproud, has delivered a statement to the House of Representatives on disaster risk reduction.
Littleproud’s statement about keeping Australians safe from disaster addresses the long-term work underway across the nation to reduce the potential for harm and
enable a prosperous and resilient future.
This is the first in a series of regular annual statements to Parliament on the national effort to reduce risk of disasters and build resilience, and Littleproud has indicated that next year he will be updating Parliament again on progress made across the country.
This bushfire season is unprecedented. The heart-breaking and devastating loss we have seen continues to unfold.
He said, “More than 12.6 million hectares have been burnt, with thousands of head of livestock lost and significant
impacts to farming infrastructure. Millions of native animals have been lost. Many of the communities affected had already endured years of drought; some have not long been devastated by flood.
The statement mentioned, “We are not just looking at how we recover from this season’s devastating fires but how we prepare for the future. Our world-leading science agencies have told us that we can expect more extremes into the future, longer disaster seasons, and compounding events. Flooding rains after drought, bushfires and storms, which test our capacity to cope.”
“Climate change is causing an increase in frequency and intensity of heatwaves, fire weather and contributing to drought. Some rainfall events are also becoming more intense. And as our population continues to grow, more people, homes and services we rely on will be impacted by these hazards.”
The economic cost of natural disasters is currently estimated to be $18.2 billion per year. We are yet to see the total cost of this bushfire season. Recent events show how impacts are felt beyond the fire ground. The costs of disasters are projected to rise to $39 billion per year by 2050 even without accounting for climate change.