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Morrison to form national resilience and recovery agency

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The Federal Government will set up a National Resilience, Relief and Recovery Agency as part of its response to the bushfires royal commission.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the agency will be established by July next year to align and co-ordinate efforts to build resilience and better prepare for disasters.

The National Natural Disaster Arrangements royal commission made 80 recommendations in a report last month, and the Government says it will support all those for which it is responsible.

“The royal commission has recommended a clearer role for the Commonwealth Government, and a clear, robust and accountable system to better prepare for the future,” Mr Morrison says in the response released on Friday.

Legislation will be introduced to give the Government power to declare a national emergency, the existing Emergency Management Australia will be strengthened and a National Emergency Management Ministers Meeting will oversee recommendations

The Government says a Resilience Services function will support the national bodies, drawing on data from the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, Geoscience Australia and the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

A recommendation for governments to establish a sovereign aerial firefighting capability was noted, with the Federal Government “comfortable” with current state and territory arrangements involving the National Aerial Firefighting Centre.

The Government “supports in principle” a recommendation for insurers to communicate clear guidance on individual-level mitigation actions that will be recognised in setting premiums.

The royal commission also proposed the Australian Building Codes Board look at whether making buildings more resilient to natural disasters should be made a specific code objective.

The Government says it would welcome the opportunity to work with states and territories on the recommendation and notes work underway by building ministers “to adapt the built environment to future climate and hazard conditions”.