In Australia natural disasters continue to costs to individuals, businesses and governments billions of dollars every year. In 2015 alone, the total economic cost of natural disasters exceeded $9 billion.
In Queensland these impacts on people, the environment and our farming communities has been felt in particular through recent cyclone and flooding events.
This need was identified through the Council of Mayors – South East Queensland (SEQ) Resilient Rivers Initiative. The importance of this type of proactive and coordinated approach is needed for regions to best manage the risks of natural disaster into the future.
Resilient Rivers aims to improve the health of our waterways by achieving the following goals by:
- Promoting partnerships with strong leadership to deliver a coordinated approach to catchment management in SEQ.
- Keeping soil on our land and out of our waterways
- Protecting the region’s water security to support the current and future population of SEQ
- Improving the climate resilience of SEQ
The final outcome of the Resilient Rivers Initiative will be a coordinated program of works that focuses on innovative approaches to achieving these goals. There is no one single solution to these issues.
Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) acknowledges the Council of Mayors – South East Queensland Resilient Rivers Initiative collaborative approach looking to improve local government’s engagement with proactive natural disaster resilience efforts.
One SEQ local government that should be commended for its commitment to the Resilient Rivers program is the Lockyer Valley Regional Council (LVRC). In its latest budget LVRC included a $2 levy to assist in funding the implementation of the Resilient Rivers project to improve the health of its regions waterways. This small impost on rate payers will deliver a practical and innovative approach for a region that must manage the risks of flood on its large population and a farming community.
A recent Deloite Access Economics report found that ‘carefully targeted investment in resilience measures now will reduce Australian Government expenditure on natural disaster relief and recovery by more than 50% by 2050’. And with no change in approach the average cost of natural disasters will rise to $33 billion per year by 2050.
The Resilient Rivers Initiative should be commended for its proactive efforts to address the impacts natural disasters have on our local governments and agricultural production.
QFF encourage other local governments to consider implementing the Resilient Rivers Initiative as it will benefit their regions agricultural production and preparedness in time for the next natural disaster.