FMA President Presents at Country Mayors Association Meeting
6th April 2017
FMA President, Ian Dinham, was invited to give a presentation to the recent Country Mayors Association meeting at Parliament House in Sydney which was attended by over 60 Mayors and General Managers from around NSW.
Mr Dinham provided an update on the forthcoming review of the NSW Floodplain Management Program and the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA).
“There were a number of Councils affected by flooding in 2016 and the meeting was helpful in briefing the Mayors and General Managers on the current issues with NDRRA” said Mr Dinham.
“FMA is thankful to Federal Minister Keenan for his recent response to FMA and we now seek to follow up with state agencies to better understand why there are some inconsistencies from state to state in the application of NDRRA”
Minister Keenan is preparing to undertake a review of NDRRA and has advised “The proposed new arrangements will provide a greater level of flexibility for state and local governments to spend recovery funding in a manner most suitable to local needs. This will include removing restrictions around day labour and plant and equipment, and providing greater flexibility for damaged assets to be rebuilt to a more resilient standard.”
Mr Dinham said “FMA has written to Minister Keenan seeking to meet and provide some objective feedback from our members so that any changes between the States and the Commonwealth take into account the needs of local Councils faced with the consequences of a natural disaster”.
Mr Dinham also spoke of the Productivity Commission Report from 2014 which advocated more investment in mitigation measures to reduce the ongoing cost of flood damage.
“NDRRA processes need to provide a way for local Councils to achieve “betterment” and mitigation measures so that the same damage does not continue to occur over again.
“Flood damage is costing Australia $560m on average every year so if we are ever going to reduce this waste of money, we need to be more proactive in betterment of infrastructure to withstand floods.”
Country Mayors and their colleagues meet quarterly in Sydney and, in addition to FMA, this recent meeting included presentations from the Hon Melinda Pavey MP, Minister for Roads, and Maritime and Freight, Mr Gary White, Chief Planner, Department of Planning and the Hon Gabrielle Upton MP, Minister for the Environment, Minister for Local Government, and Minister for Heritage.