New Natural Disaster arrangements
On 1 November 2018, the Commonwealth delivered the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements (DRFA) which replaced the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
To assist councils meet DRFA, the NSW Natural Disaster Essential Public Asset Restoration Guidelines (the Guidelines) have been developed. The Guidelines describe the NSW Government’s arrangements for providing assistance to local councils for the restoration of essential public assets that have been damaged as a direct result of eligible disasters.
Applications for funding under these guidelines for all three types of restoration works - Emergency Works, Immediate Reconstruction Works and Essential Public Asset Reconstruction Works must demonstrate the:
- pre-disaster condition of the essential public asset;
- damage on the essential public asset was a direct result of an eligible disaster; and
- completion of works undertaken.
Roads and Maritime Services provided input into the DRFA and the Guidelines. Councils are now required to provide evidence and documents outlined in the Guideline for their proposed restoration works. This will ensure all agencies (in the administration of natural disaster claims) will be able to undertake a timely review and approval process for the restoration of essential public assets in NSW.
Importantly, under the Guidelines if a council cannot provide adequate evidence for an essential public asset’s pre-disaster condition, damage and completion of works, both Roads and Maritime and the Office of Emergency Management may assess the reconstruction works to be ineligible for funding assistance, or it may result in reduced funding. This may result in the delay in the commencement of reconstruction works by councils.
It important that councils are aware of their responsibilities and their new requirements, especially regarding evidence requirements for proposed restoration works.
Councils must meet all evidentiary requirements when submitting a claim, and if a council cannot provide adequate evidence, the administering agency may assess the reconstruction works to be ineligible for funding assistance, or it may result in reduced funding. It may also cause delays in the commencement of reconstruction works.
A ‘declared’ natural disaster is a natural event (or a combination of natural events) where the level of event-caused damage and distress leads the State Government to offer financial assistance to those affected by the event.
For a list of current Natural Disaster Declarations: Ministry for Police & Emergency services website
Other State Government agencies have similar arrangements for other assets managed by councils.
For information on Department of Commerce position: Public Works website.
The Federal Government provides financial assistance to the State, in certain circumstances, to help repair damage attributable to declared natural disasters.
For more information on Attorney-General's Department: About the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements.
The new Natural Disaster documents can be found at: https://drfa.support/