16 Nov 2020
WWF WELCOMES NATIONAL AGENCY TO HELP PREPARE FOR NATURAL DISASTERS
WWF-Australia has welcomed a plan by the Federal Government to establish a National Resilience, Relief and Recovery Agency to help Australian communities prepare for, respond to, and recover from natural disasters including bushfires.
The Prime Minister announced the new agency as part of the Government’s response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
The agency will be up and running by July 2021 and will bring together the functions of National Bushfire Recovery Agency (NBRA), which was established in response to last summer’s bushfires, and the National Drought and North Queensland Flood Response and Recovery Agency.
WWF-Australia’s CEO Dermot O’Gorman said the new national agency was an important step federally to help to build Australia’s resilience and ability to recover from disasters. WWF’s submission to the Bushfire Royal Commission supported the idea of a federal agency to play this role.
“The 2019-20 bushfires were one of the greatest natural disasters in our country's history and a window into the climate future,” said Mr O’Gorman.
“Climate change will continue to increase the risk of extreme fires and flash floods, so it’s critical to have a national agency with the resources to build our resilience and go beyond state boundaries to respond to the increasing number of major emergencies.”
WWF-Australia has worked closely with the National Bushfire Recovery Agency on bushfire recovery efforts as a member of the Prime-Minister’s appointed National Peak Bodies Bushfire Recovery Coordination Forum.
“We acknowledge the vital role all the NBRA team, led by Andrew Colvin and Major General Andrew Hocking, has played – along with the outstanding work of our armed services and civilian agencies – in helping communities to start to recover from the unprecedented damage of the 2019/20 bushfires,” said Mr O’Gorman.
In response to the bushfire crisis, WWF-Australia has also launched Regenerate Australia, the largest wildlife and nature regeneration program in the nation’s history.
Mr O’Gorman said Regenerate Australia will work with local communities, governments, Traditional Owners, NGOs, scientists, businesses and innovators to rehabilitate, repopulate and restore wildlife and habitats impacted by the bushfires, and help to future-proof Australia against climate disasters.
“WWF looks forward to working with the new National Resilience, Relief and Recovery Agency to support continued recovery efforts and ensure Australia is prepared for future disasters. Only by Regenerating Australia in a way that builds resilience to a changing climate from the beginning can we hope to create a future in which humans live in harmony with nature,” he said.