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13 October 2014—International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

Minister for Justice

International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction

13 October 2014

Today marks the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction—a day to acknowledge the work being done by communities to reduce their risks to disasters, and to raise awareness about the importance of these efforts.

It is also a day to highlight the work that Australian Government is undertaking to make our communities more resilient to natural disaster.

Extreme weather is a fact of life and more focus is needed on how we prepare for this by managing natural disaster risks.

The Australian Government is committed to making the nation's communities safer and more resilient to natural disasters. Better understanding how to manage natural disaster risks is essential to achieving this goal.

In December last year the Commonwealth Government launched a Productivity Commission Inquiry into natural disaster funding—the first comprehensive review of natural disaster funding arrangements in more than a decade.

A draft report was released last month and the Productivity Commission has invited public submissions by 21 October 2014.

The Productivity Commission has recognised that current arrangements "are not efficient, equitable or sustainable", and that there is an opportunity for reform, to better protect our communities from harm and improve the living standards of Australians.

The release of the Productivity Commission's draft report is an important step in making our communities more resilient and I encourage governments, businesses and individuals to have their say. The Productivity Commission is also holding public hearings at various locations across the country.

More information and submissions can be lodged via the Commission's website: www.pc.gov.au/projects/inquiry/disaster-funding.

The Government will not pre-empt the findings of the Productivity Commission's final report, which we look forward to receiving for consideration at the end of the year.

To mark the International Day for Disaster Risk Reduction the Bushfire and Natural Hazards Cooperative Research Centre, in conjunction with partner agencies, will host a public forum which will explore the challenges for Australia and the region from natural disasters.

This year's theme Resilience is for Life: Older Persons and Disasters seeks to particularly highlight the contribution of older Australians to disaster risk reduction, and recognises the critical role they can play in resilience-building through their experience and knowledge.

Natural disasters have claimed too many lives, impacted hundreds of thousands of people, and have cost governments billions of dollars in recovery.

It is only by working together we can reduce the potentially destructive impacts of future disasters.

Forum details:

Disasters: The challenges for Australia and the region
When: Monday 13 October 2014, 5.30–7.30pm
Where: University House, The Australian National University
Contact: fennerschool-rsvp@anu.edu.au.