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$20 million boost for regional flood mitigation.



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1999-2000 BUDGET

Media Release

 

Senator the Hon. Ian Macdonald

Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government

 

1999 BUDGET HIGHLIGHTS

 

$20 MlLLION BOOST FOR REGIONAL FLOOD MITIGATION

 

Regional Australia is the winner from an injection o f new Federal Government funds for high priority flood mitigation measures announced in today’s Federal Budget according to the Minister for Regional Services, Territories and Local Government, Senator Ian Macdonald.

 

“The Howard Government is honouring its election commitment to rural towns and regional centres to provide $20 million over three years for flood mitigation works, including levees and other protective measures.

 

“The new programme will be a partnership between the Federal Government, the States and Territories, which will financially assist local agencies in flood-prone rural and regional areas to undertake protective works. In the first year, six million dollars will be available to commence the top priority projects.

 

“I expect this programme will help reduce the average annual cost of flooding in Australia, estimated at about $400 million a year, quite apart from the intangible cost to families and communities,” Senator Macdonald said.

 

Investment in effective flood mitigation by the Federal, State and Local Governments will protect lives and homes, community infrastructure, businesses and employment that are often disrupted by major flood events. Flood warning systems that enable speedy, planned evacuation will be among the measures eligible for funding.

 

“The Federal Government’s contribution of $20 million will at least be matched by the States, while Local Government will also make a contribution. This funding is in addition to existing State and Local Government programmes. It will help rural and regional areas prevent the significant social and economic costs of recurrent flooding.

 

“Disaster prevention efforts of this kind can achieve savings far exceeding the initial capital costs of the measures taken,” Senator Macdonald said.

 

Projects to be supported will include levees, channel improvement works, retarding basins, upgrading and replacement of existing flood structures, flood warning systems, protection levees for key infrastructure, and voluntary purchase of flood prone homes. Local agencies will also ensure that social, ecological and economic considerations are part of the overall approach to floodplain management and projects.

 

“Regional communities will also see employment benefits from the projects, the first round of which will be announced later this year,” Senator Macdonald said.

 

The flood mitigation funding is in addition to funding under the National Landcare Programme and Natural Disaster Relief Arrangements, including the $3 million announced last August for risk management and disaster mitigation studies.

 

MBudget4/99

11 May1999

 

Media Contact: David Moore (02) 6277 7060 / 0417 774 724

Dept Contact: Dianne Gayler (02) 6274 8020 / 0409 304 588

Townsville 074771 3066 Canberra 02 6277 7060

 

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