IAG and Suncorp have made extensive submissions to a Senate-led inquiry into disaster resilience, attaching reports to support their push for more mitigation and other measures to address future disasters .
The National Insurance Brokers Association also submitted, saying mitigation is an important part of long-term risk reduction.
Suncorp said it welcomed the Senate committee’s focus on the ongoing capacity and capability of the Australian Defense Force (ADF) as a “model workforce” to deploy during natural disaster events.
“This is an important issue and we look forward to the Committee’s recommendations regarding the adequacy of the current model and its consideration of alternative models,” Suncorp’s submission said.
The submission says the Committee’s focus on natural hazard resilience comes at a “crucial point in time” after recent floods and other disasters.
“We have an opportunity here and now to build momentum for real change – and the Committee can help steer it in the right direction by providing Parliamentary oversight.”
Suncorp attached a December report on resilience planning as part of its submission. The report prepared by Norton Rose Fulbright recommends that the National Committee consider disaster resilience as a first order priority by establishing a National Cabinet Reform Committee on Disaster Resilience.
“Governments have been forced to consider what more can be done, but there is still considerable confusion about which arms and levels of government are responsible,” the report said. “There have been calls for greater cooperation, faster and wider deployment of defense force and national consistency when it comes to managing natural disasters.”
IAG said in its submission that a key step in improving community resilience and responding to a natural hazard event is ensuring that no new developments are built in a harmful manner.
“Land planning and building codes must be reviewed and revised to ensure this. In the short term, this could look like creating a national standard for building in areas at high risk of natural hazards or could require all new developments to consider and report natural hazards. and climate risk,” the submission said.
“If new buildings do not necessarily take into account natural disaster risks, they face now and in the future, then any savings achieved by mitigating a community may be eroded by new or emerging risks .”
The insurer said it is preparing research that could support the deliberations of the National Cabinet, which is conducting a review of land use planning with the aim of preventing construction in high-risk areas.
IAG attached a report on national flood risk reduction priorities as part of its submission. The report prepared by environment and planning advisory Rhelm was completed in April last year.
The IAG said the report aims to help decision-making on where and how mitigation funding is best spent.
Australia’s Senate Select Committee on Disaster Resilience will present a final report on the last day of the September sitting and continues to take submissions.
Click here for more information on the inquiry.
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