The following statement was read into Parliament today by Emergency Services Minister Hon Fran Logan MLA:
DISASTER RECOVERY FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS WESTERN AUSTRALIA
MR F. LOGAN:
I would like to take this opportunity to inform the house about the new commonwealth Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, or DRFA-WA, that commenced on 1 November 2018. The state now has two disaster funding arrangements in place: the Western Australia Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, or WANDRRA, which applies to all events that occurred before 1 November this year, and the DRFA-WA, which applies for all events after 1 November. The government has listened to local government concerns about WANDRRA being confusing and the constraints it can place on local governments.
To assist local governments and agencies, guidelines have been prepared for the first time to explain how the funding works following a DRFA-WA event. For example, the guidelines outline the fencing assistance measure for eligible primary producers who have livestock on property that borders a major road or rail transport corridor. This assistance is only provided in Western Australia and goes beyond what the commonwealth arrangement offers. One of the key concerns raised by local governments is the impact of WANDRRA events on their cash flow. Claims are reimbursed once works have been undertaken, which has placed a strain on some local governments. Instead, for DRFA-WA events, the McGowan Labor government has implemented an asset repair working capital. This means that local governments can apply for a 20 per cent advance payment when their damaged works have been estimated and submitted to the Department of Fire and Emergency Services. This is a significant step in helping support local governments.
I ask members of this house to please be aware that the criteria that must be met in order for an event to be deemed an eligible DRFA-WA event have not changed. Not every event, even if it appears significant, may be proclaimed as a DRFA-WA event. To be eligible, an event must involve multiple agencies in the response. It must be one of 10 prescribed natural hazards or a terrorist event, as deemed by the commonwealth, and it must be estimated that the cost of emergency assistance to individuals and communities or damage to essential public assets will exceed $240 000. As this bushfire and cyclone season unfolds and the DRFA-WA arrangements are used for the first time, Department of Fire and Emergency Services recovery staff will be working hard to assist local governments and state agencies to support them through the new process.