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A recent study revealed that by the year 2060, natural calamities may result in a yearly expense of $9 billion for NSW.
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A recent study revealed that by the year 2060, natural calamities may result in a yearly expense of $9 billion for NSW.

The coast of New South Wales is facing a growing threat of destructive natural disasters. If the impacts of climate change and population growth are not addressed, the state could incur a cost of $9 billion per year by 2060.

Recent findings from the NSW Reconstruction Authority have shown that although fires and heatwaves were historically the greatest natural hazards, storms and floods are currently the most prevalent, with coastal hazards projected to take precedence in the future.

The state’s first disaster mitigation plan, released on Friday, includes modelling to aid NSW communities in preparing for the challenges of climate change and population growth.

The plan stated that we are aware that disasters will persist.

“Although it may be difficult to envision certain catastrophic scenarios, there is a possibility that they could happen within our lifetime.”

The plan states that although we may not be able to control the hazard, we can mitigate risks by minimizing exposure and enhancing resilience.

The report also contained rankings of LGAs that are most vulnerable to the financial impact of natural disasters. According to the projections, the Northern Beaches will surpass the Central Coast as the highest risk area by 2060.

Simone Walker, the deputy CEO of the NSW Reconstruction Authority, stated that although there were concerns about causing unease within the community with the use of league tables, she hoped that individuals felt understood and assisted.

She stated that this is a worry they experience every day.

When it rains in Lismore, people take notice. This is an unpredictable event for these communities. They are seeking reassurance that the state government, local government, and their community have a plan in place to handle it.

The reconstruction authority will work with Paul Scully, the planning minister, and Jihad Dib, the emergency services minister, to launch the new plan.

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According to Scully, in the past, 3% of funds were allocated towards disaster prevention while a staggering 97% was spent afterwards. However, he emphasized the need for a shift in this approach.

He stated that each dollar spent on improving community preparation will lower future expenses and contribute to the resilience of communities.

Dib stated that the government’s plan involves changing the approach to disaster response and ensuring that people are not put at risk due to poor planning choices.

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A recent study by the government showed that approximately 10 million individuals are projected to reside in NSW over the next two decades, with population growth expected in metropolitan areas and along the coastline.

According to the plan, the future risk profile of NSW can be intensified by the interaction of population growth and climate change, rather than each factor individually.

The severity and frequency of natural disasters are being amplified by climate change, and the growing population in these regions puts more individuals at risk.

Approximately 85% of the population in the state resided within a 50km distance from the coast. This high concentration of people puts them at a heightened risk for the effects of coastal flooding and erosion.

The “multi-hazard” strategy was created to mitigate the expenses and effects of calamities in the entire state.

Over the course of the next two years, 37 tasks were designated to be completed, pending the availability of funding. These tasks include creating a framework for a statewide evacuation system and establishing a policy for relocating large groups of people.

The plan will utilize insights from community members living in the Northern Rivers region who were significantly impacted by flooding in 2022. In that year, flooding occurred in 98 out of 128 local government areas.

The NSW auditor general, Margaret Crawford, published a report on Thursday revealing that there was no established plan to direct the temporary housing efforts following the 2022 floods and the involvement of relevant agencies.

According to Crawford, the temporary housing offered in the northern rivers did not meet the needs of the community and there is a long waiting list for it with few people leaving.

The report stated that challenges in the housing sector in NSW could lead to a prolonged period of time before individuals are able to find new homes.

The absence of specific plans for temporary housing resulted in the NSW government’s failure to meet expected demand.

Source: theguardian.com