River in Swan Hill.

The Federal Government has announced that 31 Victorian projects, including upgrades to drainage infrastructure and  pump systems in Swan Hill, will be funded under Round One its new Disaster Ready Fund.

Through the first round, Victoria will benefit from more than $54 million in combined investment into disaster prevention, through the Federal, State and delivery partner co-contributions.

The Fund was an election commitment by the Federal Government, and will deliver national long-term mitigation funding to help protect communities from natural disasters.

State and Territory governments submitted applications for a range of projects to improve mitigation and resilience, in collaboration with local Councils and community groups. 

Successful Victorian projects include:

  • Remote bushfire detection to support early detection of fires
  • Levee works in Moira, Mount Alexander and Wangaratta
  • Upgrades to drainage infrastructure, pump systems, and other assets with current technology in Swan Hill
  • Investigation of flood prone transport routes in North Central Victoria
  • Modernising the pollen forecasting network to reduce future disaster risk statewide
  • Building/improving the Centre of Excellence for Young People and Disasters

Federal Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, said Victorians were no strangers to natural disasters, and governments at all levels needed to take decisive action to better protect communities.

“As we continue to fund disaster recovery in areas impacted by the October 2022 floods, it’s critical we do more to build resilience in communities right across the state,” Mr Watt said.

“From Shepparton to the Grampians, Campaspe to Geelong, these projects will help communities better prepare for threats in the future.

“As a country we invest far more in recovering from disasters than we do defending against them, and that mentality has got to change.

“This is about more than just bricks and mortar. We are changing the way Australia deals with natural disasters by planning better for the future to ensure that communities all around the country are better prepared, less exposed and in the best possible position to recover when disasters strike.

“This is just one step in our commitment to disaster reduction and mitigation – working with state and territory governments to better protect and prepare Australians for future disasters.”

Victorian Minister for Emergency Services, Jaclyn Symes, said world-leading technology and engaging with younger generations will bolster Victoria’s ability to plan, respond to and recover from emergencies.

“Victoria faces the threat of bushfires and floods every year and we know natural disasters are becoming more common and dangerous due to climate change,” Ms Symes said.

“We saw the impacts the October floods had on the state and a key focus of these projects will be around flood mitigation – that includes reducing the impact of flood and stormwater and improving flood intelligence mapping.

“Victoria is one of the most fire-prone regions in the world. Remote bushfire detection using satellite and terrestrial cameras will improve the safety of our firefighters and reduce the impacts on communities.”

The Disaster Ready Fund builds upon the Victorian Government’s commitment to ensure Australia is better prepared for natural disasters. Over the last year, the Federal Government has paid out more than $2.7 billion in recovery and resilience programs and payments to support individuals and communities impacted by natural disasters.

The National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) will work with each jurisdiction to implement funding agreements with funds to be provided as soon as possible from July 2023. Projects must be completed within three years.

There were more than 300 applications submitted across all states and territories. Successful projects were selected following a rigorous merit based assessment process undertaken by NEMA.

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