The opening of the Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre is a good example of communities preparing for disaster rather than just waiting to respond, Senator Matthew Canavan said today.
"We need more communities to do the same because we don't focus enough on disaster preparedness," he said.
Officially opening the Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre, he said it will provide an important place of respite for the local community when a disaster hits.
"We need more communities to take action like this. It's always better to 'clean out your gutters' before cyclone and fire seasons not after it.
“Unfortunately, governments focus too much on responding to disasters rather than preparing for them. In the last five years the Federal Government has spent 80 times the amount on disaster response than it has on disaster preparedness.
“I don't think that is getting the balance right.”
Senator Canavan said recent figures from the Productivity Commission show that the Federal Government has spent around $12 billion on disaster relief funding under the National Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements since 2009. Over the same period just $150 million has been spent on preparing for disasters under the National Partnership Agreement on Natural Disaster Resilience.
“North Queensland must be focused on the current Productivity Commission review on natural disaster relief funding. As the major recipient of Federal funding for disasters, North Queensland has the most to gain or lose.
“As a Senator for Queensland, I won't support a reduction in the benefits for North Queensland from these arrangements. But the review provides an opportunity to get North Queensland a better deal by building better roads that can withstand floods or cyclones instead of rebuilding them time and time again.”
“I would also like to pay credit to the Hinchinbrook Community Support Centre who, in addition to the Federal funding of $500,000, raised $345,871.
“It's fantastic to see a local community give so much support to what is clearly a well-needed investment."
1 August 2014