IAG believes the recommendations will help ensure the nation is as well prepared as possible for the impact of natural disasters.
In response to today’s findings incoming IAG Managing Director and CEO Nick Hawkins said: “The Royal Commission has provided an important opportunity to reflect on the catastrophic events of last summer and put in place the necessary reforms to help ensure we’re doing everything we can to limit the scale of destruction and tragedy in future bushfire seasons.
“We’ve advocated for greater investment in mitigation for many years to reduce and prevent the impact these severe weather events have on our communities. Not only does this require greater investment to fund these mitigation projects, but also better data to help inform how these projects should be prioritised.
“We welcome the Commonwealth Government’s commitment to reviewing and actioning many of these recommendations as soon as possible, and we would welcome the opportunity to continue to work with the government on this to help protect our communities from the natural disaster risks they face,” Mr Hawkins said.
In particular, IAG supports the recommendations relating to the establishment of a standing resilience and recovery entity; the harmonisation and sharing of nationally-consistent risk data and tools (including future climate projections); the need for collective awareness and mitigation of risks to critical infrastructure; the establishment of an authoritative advisory body to consolidate advice on strategic policy and relevant operational considerations for ministers in relation to natural disasters; and the recommendation that Governments should create and publish standing policy guidance on whether they will or will not assist to clean-up debris, including contaminated debris, resulting from natural hazards.
In IAG’s submission to the Royal Commission it recommended greater funding for mitigation projects, informed by a cost-benefit analysis, to make communities safer and more resilient in the long-term. IAG commends the recommendations to collectively mitigate risks to critical infrastructure, and also recommends that the government take steps to outline a clear pathway and available funding to achieve this.
The IAG submission noted that mitigation initiatives should be prioritised based on analysis of research, information and nationally-coordinated data sets.
It also highlighted that all governments should work collaboratively with the private sector and community organisations when designing mitigation strategies to allow each sector to contribute its unique expertise, data and skill set.
IAG has made a number of contributions to scientific research to better understand weather and climate-related risks faced by Australian communities.
IAG recently partnered with the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) to release the second edition of the Severe Weather in a Changing Climate report. The report includes the latest data on the state of the climate and predictions on future extreme weather events based on a range of warming global temperatures (up to 3°C from pre-industrial times).
IAG will continue to share expertise and collaborate widely to advocate for community and policy adaptations that drive towards a net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 and increase the resilience of communities exposed to natural hazards.
IAG is also a founding member of the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience & Safer Communities (ABR). The ABR has commissioned five independent research reports since 2012 providing clear evidence of the increasing costs of disasters and specific recommendations that, if implemented, would help minimise the devastation and costs of disasters triggered by natural hazards and make Australian communities more resilient.