Royal Commission Disaster Arrangements Report Released

2nd November 2020

The Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements has concluded, and the report was tabled in the Australian Parliament on 30 October. The inquiry was established in February in response to the 2019-2020 extreme bushfire season.

FMA provided submissions in April and September covering actions which should be taken to reduce the impacts of flood disasters, including the need for increased technical and financial resources for Councils to effectively manage flood risks, supporting appropriate land use legislation, and highlighting improvements required to the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements particularly funding for betterment to reduce the likelihood of recurring damage.

The 500 page report focused on the need for a national approach to natural disasters. "This does not mean that the Australian Government should ‘take over’ from state and territory governments. Rather, it means that we need ‘whole-of-nation’, ‘whole-of-government’ and ‘whole-of-society’ cooperation and effort.”

Of the 80 recommendations it is pleasing to see that key issues identified by FMA are included:

Recommendation 11.1 Responsibility for local government disaster management capability and capacity

State and Territory governments should take responsibility for the capability and capacity of local governments to which they have delegated their responsibilities in preparing for, responding to, and recovering from natural disasters, to ensure local governments are able to effectively discharge the responsibilities devolved to them.

19.3 Mandatory consideration of natural disaster risk in land-use planning in land use planning decisions

State, territory and local governments should be required to consider present and future natural disaster risk when making land-use planning decisions for new developments.

Recommendation 22.6 Better incorporate ‘build back better’ within Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements

Australian, state and territory governments should incorporate the principle of ‘build back better’ more broadly into the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

Recommendation 22.7 Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements recovery measures to facilitate resilience

Australian, state and territory governments should broaden Category D of the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements to encompass funding for measures that are focused on resilience, including in circumstances which are not ‘exceptional’.

Recommendation 22.8 Streamline the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements

Australian, state and territory governments should create simpler Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements application processes.

The Royal Commission Report is available at:


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