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Australian Federal Budget: Bad News for Disasters
Well the Abbot Government’s first budget and it ain’t pretty. Here’s a roundup of all the new measures and cuts related to disasters. Although there’s a few new measures (such as the back-to-the-future National Bushfire Mitigation Programme) most of the ‘new’ spending are really the continuation of programs from previous governments.
New and continued spending
- Stronger biosecurity and quarantine arrangements – $20 million over 4 years
- Up to $320 million in assistance for drought affected farmers. However most of this is in the form of concessional loans or is contingent on state co-payments. Much of this spending is largely consistent with that of previous governments.
- National Bushfire Mitigation Programme – $15 million over 3 years
- Expanding research at the Australian Institute of Tropical Health and Medicine – $42 million over 4 years, though it’s unclear whether this will be offset by cuts elsewhere in the Australian Research Council’s budget.
- $9 million over three years for the continuation of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (though this is a drop in the amount of funding compared to previous governments).
- Addressing insurance costs in North Queensland. $12.5 million in grants to bodies corporate to undertake engineering assessments of strata properties to understand natural disaster risks and identify mitigation measures. This initiative will also establish an insurance comparison website for home building and contents and strata insurance for North Queensland.
- Continue the Natural Disaster Resilience Program and the National Partnership on pest and disease preparedness and response programmes (although with reduced funding)
- Closure of the Australian Emergency Management Institute. Some of its programs will be transitioned to a ‘virtual’ institute.
- Cuts of $7.6 billion to foreign aid over 5 years
- Cut the Exotic Disease Preparedness Program
- Merger of a number of biosecurity committees and working groups
- Cuts of $10 million over 4 years to the Bureau of Meteorology
- Cuts of $21.7 million over 4 years by merging the National Environmental Research Programme and the Australian Climate Change Science Programme
- Cease the National Insurance Affordability Initiative which had a number of activities related to flood risk management at a saving of $72.2 million
I’ve sourced these all from the budget papers. Let me know in the comments if I’ve missed anything.