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25 May 2013
The NSW Government has allocated funding for flood and fire mitigation in a budget where some costs have blown out due to natural disaster recovery measures.
The state government will spend $22 million using grants from the National Disaster Mitigation Program and National Disaster Resilience Program.
It has allocated $16 million to continue upgrading the Rural Fire Services’ private mobile radio and paging network.
There is also $6.3 million for the Emergency Alert system that sends warnings to landlines or mobile phones, $35 million to continue reducing fire hazards and $3.8 million for Fire and Rescue NSW equipment.
As reported by insuranceNEWS.com.au on June 4, $96 million will be allocated to the State Emergency Service (SES) over five years for a strategic disaster readiness package.
Some $19 million of this will be spent in 2012/13. The funds will help the service prepare for, prevent and respond to floods and storms.
Fire and Rescue NSW, the Rural Fire Service and SES will invest an estimated $65 million in fire and emergency services in 2012/13.
This includes $18 million for renovating fire stations and training centres and $4 million as part of a new $18 million vehicle purchase program under the SES disaster package.
In the present financial year the SES spent $76 million – $21 million over its budget – due to the large number of additional natural disaster responses, primarily the northern NSW floods.
The Budget allocates $170 million to flood recovery efforts in 2012/13 for individuals, small businesses, local government and primary producers.
The broad budget category of “other operating expenses”, which includes repairs, consultancies, contractors, electricity and communications, is set to increase more than usual because of a range of factors which include higher natural disaster estimates.
The category will expand by 7.3% to $14.2 billion, compared with an average increase of 6.8% per year.
A state performance report accompanying the budget papers says the Attorney-General and justice authorities will review the emergency services agencies funding model, review the agencies’ expenditure and adopt a revised state disaster plan.
The departments will also undertake hazard reduction works to protect more than 130,000 properties from bushfire.
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