Position paper

A national approach to national disasters

The Commonwealth Government response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements
Disaster planning Federalism Bushfires Emergency services Extreme weather events Disasters Australia

The 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires were a national trauma. The bushfire season brought devastation across the nation, the loss of 33 lives, the destruction of 3110 homes, unimaginable loss of wildlife and impacted communities across Australia. This loss would have been greater without the extraordinary effort of our volunteer and career-fire fighters, and dedicated emergency services personnel.

The Royal Commission’s 80 Recommendations contained within the final report provide an ambitious, yet pragmatic, blueprint for action to ensure our national natural disaster arrangements are the best they can be.

Key responses:

  • The Royal Commission concluded that the Commonwealth Government has the power to, and should, play a greater role in relation to natural disasters on a national scale. For such disasters, the Royal Commission found that the Commonwealth should be able to declare a state of national emergency, supported by clear legislation.
  • The Commonwealth will prepare legislation for introduction into Parliament that would enable the declaration of a national emergency.
  • The Commonwealth will establish a national resilience, relief and recovery agency to commence operations no later than 1 July 2021. This new agency will coordinate and align Australia’s national capability to build resilience, better prepare for future natural disasters, and recover from all hazards.
  • The Commonwealth Government will establish ‘Resilience Services’, a climate and disaster risk information service for Emergency Management Australia and the new national resilience, relief and recovery agency, by 1 July 2021.


Related Information

Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements: report https://apo.org.au/node/309191

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