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Australian Coastal Councils Association

New Disaster Funding Arrangements Scheduled for July Next Year

New disaster funding arrangements are set to take effect nationally from 1 July, 2018, according to a senior official of the Commonwealth Attorney General’s Department.

Ms Elizabeth Quinn, Assistant Secretary of the Attorney-General’s Disaster Resilience Strategy Branch, provided the update in response to inquiries about the current status of recommendations of the Productivity Commission inquiry into Natural Disaster Funding Arrangements.

She said the Attorney-General’s Department has been consulting extensively with state and territory governments to develop ‘national disaster funding arrangements that include a new funding approach for the reconstruction of damaged public infrastructure’.

The new approach to funding arrangements would be based on upfront damage assessments and estimated reconstruction costs, rather than the reimbursement of actual costs, which had sometimes occurred years after the disaster.

Following the release of the Productivity Commission’s recommendations in May 2015, the Australian Coastal Councils Association wrote to former Environment Minister, Greg Hunt, expressing grave concerns about a number of the inquiry’s recommendations, including proposals that:
• the Australian Government share of disaster recovery costs be reduced from the current level of 75% to 50%;
• the threshold at which the Australian Government begins sharing recovery costs with a state be increased; and
• the small disaster criterion be increased from $240,000 to $2 million per event.

The Australian Government response to these recommendations indicates that because of the significant level of concerns about any proposal to reduce the Australian Government’s contribution to recovery funding the Commonwealth ‘does not propose to pursue these recommendations at this stage.’

The Australian Government’s response to the inquiry recommendations indicates that the government has been working with states and territories to develop and test new disaster recovery funding arrangements. ‘This will include the reconstruction of essential public assets, based on an upfront assessment of damages and estimated costs, rather than the current post-event reimbursement model.’

The government’s response further states: ‘The proposed new disaster funding arrangements will give greater autonomy to state, territory and local governments to reconstruct damaged public assets in a way that is cost-effective and best suits the needs of local communities.

‘Further, the new arrangements will be supported by national minimum requirements for damage assessment and estimated reconstruction pricing. This will reduce the audit and assurance red tape placed on states and territories under the current reimbursement model.’

The Government has indicated it will be testing certain aspects of the new funding arrangements over the next two disaster seasons, together with the states and territories. The government’s response to the inquiry can be found here.

Australian Coastal Councils Association

CoastAdapt on-line tool to manage climate risks now ‘live’

A beta version of CoastAdapt – an on-line tool designed to assist d
ecision-makers to manage risks associated with climate change – has been launched on a trial basis and is now ‘live’

The tool has been developed by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and incorporates input from 700 coastal decision-makers, practitioners and researchers who were consulted during the development phase.CA-logo on white

CoastAdapt has been designed to provide coastal councils, communities and other coastal stakeholders with the skills, information and tools to support effective decision-making. It provides information on all aspects of climate change including the science, impacts on coastal settlements, and legal implications of adaptation.

The beta version is now open for testing and review until November. NCCARF is inviting feedback and input from coastal councils and advises that this review period is an essential part of the development process.

CoastAdapt has been developed by NCCARF with funding from the Australian Government through the Department of the Environment and Energy.

One of the services provided by CoastAdapt is an ‘Ask The Expert’ forum where coastal planners, engineers and decision-makers can put questions relating to coastal adaptation to a panel of experts.

The Australian Coastal Councils Association was one of the organisations that provided input to NCCARF during the development process. We encourage you to go on-line to test CoastAdapt and provide your feedback to NCCARF, as indicated on the site.

The beta version of CoastAdapt is available at –


New study finds sea level rise could be much higher by 2100

Sea level rise could be much higher than previously projected by the end of this century, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Penn State University, warns that sea level could increase by up to 2 metres by 2100 if melting from the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are taken into account.


Australian Bureau of Statistics announces new population survey

The Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) is planning a new Australian Population Survey with the capacity for continuous updates on regional population statistics. Data collected in the survey will be used to supplement data collected in the Census.

The survey will provide a mechanism for more effectively using Census and administrative data to provide ongoing and dynamic information on regions across Australia – including where people live at different times of the year and their characteristics. 


Climate Change Poses Increased Risk to Coastal Cities – UK Study

A study conducted by researchers at University College London has found that population growth in coastal areas can lead to major increases in exposure to extreme weather events.

Professor Georgina Mace, who led the study, said governments around the world had failed to grasp the risk that rapidly growing populations in coastal cities face the prospect of rising sea levels and more frequent and severe extreme weather events related to climate change.


Illegal Sand Mining Threatens the World’s Natural Sand Beaches

While the general public is largely unaware of the extent of Illegal sand mining the issue represents a growing global problem, according to Christian Hellwig, a political risk analyst with Global Risk Insights.

Writing in the journal International Policy Digest he warns that an estimated 75% to 90% of the world’s natural sand beaches are at risk of disappearing as a result of illegal mining, which has already caused severe supply shortages and the loss of numerous beaches around the world.

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