The deep understanding Local Governments have of their communities will be crucial to ensuring the success of the State Government’s new disaster response program.

The State Government yesterday revealed $38.3m would be set aside in the 2023-24 State Budget to fund 70 full time roles dedicated to responding to natural disasters.

It is welcome news for WA communities as the frequency of natural disasters and impact to livelihoods across the State increases.

In recent years, floods and cyclones cut WA off from the rest of the country, while fires and drought has severely impacted metropolitan areas, pastoral and farming regions.

In light of this, WALGA has called for a suite of initiatives to better prepare for and respond to natural disasters in this year’s State Budget.

This includes:
  • An expansion of the Community Emergency Services Manager Program (CESM) to more Local Governments that manage Bushfire Brigades;
  • An increase in the Local Government Grant Scheme to meet the future needs of Bush Fire Brigades and State Emergency Services;
  • Increased funding for the Mitigation Activity Funding Grant Program to reduce bushfire risk
WALGA President Cr Karen Chappel said:
“We welcome today’s announcement because as we have seen recently the scale and frequency of recent disasters have exceeded available resources at both a state and local level.

“Recovery from natural disasters is a responsibility of Local Government under the State Emergency Management framework, so additional resourcing at the state level will provide essential support to Local Governments and local communities.

“We have seen in recent years how important the knowledge Local Governments have of their communities immediately following a natural disaster is.

“In the aftermath of TC Seroja, Local Government mobilised the community and led the response, such as clearing roads, and doing some critical opening up work before emergency services even arrived.

“WALGA looks forward to collaboration between the State Government’s new disaster response personnel and Local Governments to use this understanding to ensure safe, timely and effective support for communities in the often long recovery that follows natural disasters.”