$600 Million Dollar Mitigation Program Announced In Budget

The Federal Government Budget included a $600 million mitigation program that will support resilience projects. Prime Minister Scott Morrison identified that the Preparing Australia Program will provide assistance for locally identified risk as well as assist with risks outside community control. 

“The introduction of this new program will allow the Commonwealth to fund projects that reduce risk and minimise the impact of natural disasters including; bushfires, floods and cyclones” Mr Morrison mentioned to the Townsville Chamber of Commerce recently. 

The program will be separated into two parts including Preparing Australian Communities and Preparing Australian Homes. The Home Program will be conducted by the Government working closely with the insurance sector to identify projects of paramount importance. This will support beneficial reductions in insurance premiums. 

An Australian Climate Service will also be established to collate information from Government bodies including the Bureau of Meteorology, CSIRO, Geoscience and the Bureau of Statistics.

Led by Shane Stone, The National Recovery and Resilience Agency will work closely with Emergency Management Australia and the climate service. Supporting emergency response in regards to decision making after a crisis. This will also help to target where the relief funds are spent under the Preparing Australia Program. 

This program is on top of the five year $130 million Disaster Risk Reduction Funding Package and the $50 million in additional funding from the Emergency Response Fund. Funding that is specifically for long term risk reduction, preparedness and resilience.

Derived from the Former National Drought, Flood Response and Bushfire Recovery Agency, the new agency will also support communities affected by recent floods in NSW and Queensland as well as cyclones in WA. 

The insurance industry has been calling for a large scale investment in this area for quite some time according to the Insurance Council of Australia CEO Andrew Hall. “It is pleasing to see that the Morrison Government has heard these calls with this action,” Mr Hall said. 

The Government also announced their support for local governments to provide disaster recovery scenario training to assist regional communities to prepare for unforeseen events. These announcements are a step in the right direction to ensure a national response to disaster management. 

Steve Johnston, Suncorp CEO, mentioned that the new agency is a vital part of delivering the recommended reforms from last year’s Natural Disaster Royal Commission. He welcomes a national approach to ensure Australia is adequately prepared in the case of disasters. 

Australia has a high risk of extreme weather events and levels of financial and physical resilience and therefore requires extended funding for natural disaster mitigation projects. 


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Climate Change

Climate Change Guidance Draft Released

The Australian Prudential Regulation Authority is also known as the APRA has recently released a draft of their climate change guidance. 

This guidance is directed towards the banking, insurance and superannuation industries for managing the risks of climate change. This release came in response to industry requests for clarification on expectations. 

The guide includes APRA’s best practices in areas such as governance, risk management, scenario analysis and disclosure. It does not however implement additional requirements or obligations. 

APRA has developed their draft CPG 229 in response to industry requests including clarity of regulatory expectations and their view of sound practice. 

Since Australia became a party to the Paris Agreement, Chairman Wayne Byres has been consistently raising awareness around the topic of climate-related risks to the financial sector. 

Whilst the guide draft from the Prudential Regulation Authority, APRA, doesn’t create any new requirements in regards to financial risks CPG 229.

According to Byres “The guide is aimed at ensuring decisions are well-informed and appropriately consider both the risks and opportunities that the transition to a low carbon economy creates.”

Recommendations from the Financial Stability Board’s Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures, TCDF, influenced the CPG 229. With both domestic and international peer regulators assisting with the process. 

The APRA is actively seeking feedback for the CPG 229, Climate Change Financial Risks, draft and plans to release their final version prior to the end of the year.

The intended outcome of the CPG 229 is providing greater clarity of regulatory industry practice in regards to climate change financial risks. 

This clarity has the potential to lead to an increased size customer base and business strategy enhancements for relevant industries such as insurance, banking and superannuation.



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