The federal and NSW government have unveiled a $300m disaster recovery program, in a bid to end the Northern Rivers’s cycle of repair damage repair after floods.
The emergency management minister, Murray Watt, is speaking to ABC Radio a year after the devastating floods.
Asked about whether this funding is only a drop in the ocean when a report out in January estimated the cost of the Northern Rivers flood disaster at close to $10bn, Watt insists the funding from governments has made a substantial difference, “but the reality is that the damage was immense and it can’t be fixed immediately.”
But Watt says this new funding will be different because the focus will be on building back not as it was before, but with better standards of flood mitigation:
What’s different about the funding that we’re announcing today with the NSW government is that we’re not just repairing roads and bridges and causeways to the same standard they were, which only guarantees that they’re going to flood again in the future.
We’re actually making them more resilient so that when we do face future flooding, we hopefully can protect people a lot better than they were protected last time around.
… This kind of long term thinking is something that we haven’t really seen enough of at the federal level. And we’re now partnering actively with state governments, we’ve approved similar programs in Queensland and other states as well, because we want to make sure when we are spending what is literally billions of dollars recovering from these events, that we actually think about the future and try to limit that damage further down the track as well.
$25m for Alice Springs community organisations
The government is committing $25m to community organisations in Alice Springs as part of the federal response to alcohol-related crime and anti-social behaviour in the Northern Territory.
The money is to provide funding certainty for organisations that faced their budgets ceasing, including wellbeing projects, remote outreach programs and alcohol projects. The funds were announced this month by Anthony Albanese but the specific organisations to receive the cash have now been named.
Indigenous Australians minister Linda Burney said the funding represented a two-year extension, which she said would “give organisations the certainty they need and allow them to continue the important work they’re doing”:
Certainty in access to safety and community wellbeing services is critical for First Nations communities, especially children and young people living in and around Alice Springs.
Marion Scrymgour, Labor MP for the NT seat of Lingiari, said the groups getting funding were “are at the coalface of the challenges facing our region”:
Having spent a lot of time with community organisations – I know how hard they work for our community.
The organisations being funded include $6.3m for the Central Australian Aboriginal Congress Aboriginal Corporation, for transport, alcohol, violence intervention and family violence services; $1.3m for the Akeyulerre Aboriginal Corporation, for wellbeing and self-reliance projects; $2.6m for Bushmob Aboriginal Corporation, for remote outreach and youth residential rehabilitation; and $2.6m for drug and alcohol services for prisoners and transitional programs.
Future emissions from coal and gas production ‘likely to dwarf estimates’
Future emissions from existing and new Australian coal and gas production are likely to dwarf official government estimates and undermine the Albanese government’s planned revamp of the climate change policy known as the safeguard mechanism, according to a new analysis.
The analysis by the global research firm Climate Analytics, commissioned by climate groups, comes at the start of a two-day parliamentary inquiry hearing into the government’s planned changes to the scheme.
The safeguard is a Coalition policy that was proposed to limit pollution from 215 major industrial facilities but hasn’t. You can read about its history and Labor’s plan here.
The Climate Analytics report, commissioned by the Solutions for Climate Australia, said the government appeared to have substantially underestimated the likely future emissions from coal and liquefied natural gas production.
It said official projections for the LNG industry suggested a 20% rise by 2030. Climate Analytics estimated the increase above 2021 levels was likely to be 36%.
For coalmines, the government projected a 10% fall in emissions. Climate Analytics projected at least a 23%, and possibly up to a 116%, increase.
The report did not look directly at the economic impact on proposed developments of companies being required to either make deeper emissions cuts each year, or to effectively pay for cuts elsewhere by buying carbon offsets. But Climate Analytics’ chief executive Bill Hare said he believed the likely result for fossil fuels developments would be rising direct emissions and a “free for all” of offset use:
The safeguard mechanism will therefore not work to drive emissions down as it’s supposed to, particularly given the integrity issues found to be widespread within Australia’s offset scheme by independent experts.
You can read about what could happen given Labor has ruled out banning new fossil fuel projects here.
Press freedom roundtable
Attorney general Mark Dreyfus will today convene a press freedom roundtable in Parliament House, saying journalists should never be “charged or even jailed just for doing their jobs”.
Major outlets including Guardian Australia, the ABC, News Corp, Nine, SBS and Seven will attend the meeting, which the government announced last month. At the time, Dreyfus said the government “believes a strong and independent media is vital to democracy and holding governments to account”, and said improved protections for press freedom were needed.
“The Albanese Government intends to progress legislative reform as a priority,” he said, with Monday’s meeting to discuss options for reform.
The meeting will bring together two dozen organisations and companies, including the Alliance for Journalists’ Freedom, the Right to Know Coalition, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, the Press Council, AAP, Australian Radio Network, First Nations Media, Private Media and Solstice Media.
I’m looking forward to a full and frank discussion about press freedom issues in Australia and further options for reform. A strong and independent media matters.
There is agreement across the Parliament and the community that improved protections are overdue. Unlike the former government, which ignored successive bipartisan committee reports, the Albanese Government will progress press freedom reform as a priority.
Future emissions from existing and new Australian coal and gas production are likely to dwarf official government estimates, new analysis shows.
It could undermine the Albanese government’s planned revamp of the climate change policy known as the safeguard mechanism, according to global research firm Climate Analytics.
The research has been commissioned by climate groups and comes at the start of a two-day parliamentary inquiry hearing into the government’s planned changes to the scheme.
The government is setting up a new agency set up to tackle mass cyber attacks, with the with prime minister Anthony Albanese today announcing the establishment of a coordinator for cybersecurity.
The announcement of the new post as well as the release of a discussion paper about a new cybersecurity strategy will be made at the cybersecurity roundtable in Sydney today, which will be attended by business, security and tech leaders, as well as home affairs minister Clare O’Neil.
O’Neil told ABC Radio the new agency would attempt to provide strategy and structure when cyber attacks occur as well as ensuring different parts of the government were effectively communicating with each other.
Emergency management minister Murray Watt will be speaking to ABC Radio shortly a year, on from the Northern Rivers flood disaster. We’ll bring you what he has to say.
In Melbourne last night thousands of friends, family and fans gathered for a last farewell for Dame Olivia Newton John at her state memorial, which included speeches from her husband and daughter, as well as music from her friend Delta Goodrem.
Let’s get into it.