14 June 2023

$12m boost to protect Batemans Bay coastline against disasters

| Katrina Condie
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man and woman on beach

Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland and Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips at Surfside, one of the areas set to benefit from coastal protection works. Photo: Fiona Phillips MP.

​More than $12 million will be injected into a range of coastal protection works in an effort to prepare the Batemans Bay region for future natural disasters such as fire, flood and storms.

As part of the first round of grants from the Commonwealth Disaster Ready Fund, Batemans Bay will benefit from $12,007,632 in combined investment into disaster prevention through joint Federal and State Government co-contributions.

The State Government submitted applications for a range of projects to improve mitigation and resilience, in collaboration with Eurobodalla Shire Council and community groups.

Member for Bega Dr Michael Holland is thrilled to see strong investment to protect the local environment and homes from coastal erosion.

“Our region knows – sadly, better than most – the importance of disaster preparation and resilience,” Dr Holland said.

“I am pleased our governments have recognised the needs of the South Coast and are investing through the Disaster Ready Fund.

“We are taking steps now to reduce risk and to make it easier for our community during and after future disasters.”

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

Member for Gilmore Fiona Phillips said she was thrilled to see the Batemans Bay region, in particular Surfside, receiving upgrades that would better prepare the community for future disasters.

“These communities have been crying out for investment to protect our coastal properties and foreshore. This funding is a winner for local people,” she said.

“Through the Albanese Government’s new Disaster Ready Fund, we’re investing to build critical projects that will reduce disaster risk, help to reduce recovery costs and strengthen community resilience.

“This project will fund upgrades to essential services, road protection structures, rock walls and levees to make our communities more resilient in the future.”

Federal Minister for Emergency Management Murray Watt said it was crucial that defences were built to better protect communities and their regional economies.

“We know that every dollar spent on disaster resilience and mitigation delivers a return on investment to governments and households nine times over,” he said.

“But as a country, we invest far more in recovering from disasters than we do defending against them, and that mentality has 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.”

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The announcement follows the recently completed $105,000 upgrade to the Bermagui Surf Life Saving Club deck, which will enable the facility to maintain its role as an emergency evacuation centre for the community and surrounding area.

On New Year’s Eve 2019, the club became the refuge for about 5000 people fleeing from the raging fires that surrounded Bermagui.

A Black Summer Bushfire Recovery program (BSBR) grant will support upgrading the club to a higher fire safety level, with a new fire-retardant deck allowing people to gather safely, particularly in times of emergency.

Over the past 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.

More information on the Disaster Ready Fund, including updates about round two, can be found on NEMA’s website.

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How fortunate we are to have two hardworking MP’s in Fiona and Dr Michael.

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