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Thursday, 19 March 2015
Page: 1916

Senator MILNE (TasmaniaLeader of the Australian Greens) (11:32): I seek leave to amend general business notice of motion No. 665 standing in my name for today relating to disaster relief.

Leave granted.

Senator MILNE: I move the motion as amended:

That the Senate—

(a) congratulates the Australian Business Roundtable for Disaster Resilience and Safer Communities for being the first private sector organisation to win the prestigious 2015 United Nations Sasakawa Award for Disaster Risk Reduction;

(b) notes the work of the Productivity Commission that the Federal Government has spent record levels of over $13.7 billion on post-disaster relief and recovery in the past decade, while outlays on pre-disaster mitigation were only 3 per cent of this figure;

(c) notes the increasing frequency and intensity of extreme weather events as global temperatures rise; and

(d) calls on the Federal Government to invest in pre-disaster mitigation in order to reduce post-disaster spending, while saving homes, lives, critical infrastructure and reducing insurance premiums.

I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one minute.

Senator MILNE: I want to draw attention to the operational paragraph, which calls on the government to invest in pre-disaster mitigation in order to reduce post-disaster spending. I want to make it clear that it is not one substituting for the other; I would want both pre-disaster spending and post-disaster spending. This is not a cost-shifting exercise to the states. It clearly is not that; it is about recognising that if you spend money up-front, you are likely to save yourself on the actual amount you have to spend afterwards, but it does not actually suggest that you would not be spending afterwards.