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Thursday, 19 March 2015
Page: 1916

Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Assistant Minister for Social Services) (11:34): I seek leave to make a short statement.

The PRESIDENT: Leave is granted for one statement.

Senator FIFIELD: We congratulate the business roundtable for achieving a certificate of distinction in the 2015 United Nations Sasakawa awards for risk reduction. The awards ceremony form part of the third United Nations world conference on disaster risk reduction, which was attended by the Minister for Justice in Japan over the weekend. During the UN conference, the minister spoke about the Productivity Commission inquiry, that the inquiry was commissioned at the request of all states and territories in recognition of the increasing impacts of disasters in recent years.

Since 2009, natural disasters around the country have claimed more than 200 lives, destroyed or damaged more than 10,000 homes and devastated hundreds of thousands of Australians. While extreme weather is affecting life in this country, the commission's draft report found that demographic factors, including where and how we build, are leaving us increasingly exposed. More focus is needed on how we can be better prepared and how we can target our investments to get the best outcomes for individuals, communities and businesses and governments. The reforms being considered by the inquiry are complex and wide-ranging, and the government will respond once it has had the opportunity to thoroughly consider all options.

Question agreed to.