FEDERAL Member for Leichhardt Warren Entsch has welcomed today’s Commonwealth-State joint-funding announcement of almost $790,000 towards projects that will help Western Cape communities build resilience to natural disasters.
Projects are jointly supported with Commonwealth and Queensland State Government funding as part of the $52.2 million national partnership agreement on natural disaster resilience.
Mr Entsch said the funding had been committed in Leichhardt to help locals better prepare and respond to natural disasters, and to lessen their impact.
“All too often we hear about flooding in Western Cape communities which results from very heavy rainfall or cyclonic events,” he said. “Damage to roads, drainage and sewerage systems can cost local councils a lot of money in repairs, and residents bear the brunt of flood damage to homes, businesses and vehicles.
“There’s also the impact of isolation on remote communities when they’re shut off from road access for extended periods of time, and the implications of that for freight, supplies and medical attention.”
The State-Commonwealth funding will support three projects in the Western Cape:
– Mapoon Aboriginal Shire Council will receive $66,065 towards an $80,000 project to install UHF radio in 20 council vehicles and upgrade radio repeater equipment.
“This will give emergency workers the ability to communicate with each other and operations centres during natural disasters and emergencies ? this is critical and I commend council for putting this project forward,” Mr Entsch said.
– Napranum Aboriginal Shire Council will receive $256,050 towards a $284,500 project to build two concrete causeways and a causeway plus low flow pipe to reduce the damage to Bee Ning Road.
“Bee Ning Road provides access to a culturally sensitive area for the community of Napranum. During the wet season the road gets severely eroded, resulting in the community being cut off from the cultural area.
“Upgrading the road will make it less likely to be closed in the future, and reduces the cost to council of repeated repairs. It’ll also make it safer for residents to travel the route after heavy rains and create 10 jobs,” Mr Entsch said.
– Napranum Council will also receive $58,140 towards the $64,600 Billy’s Lagoon drainage project, which will help prevent flooding during wet weather events and see 10 locals employed during its construction.
– Pormpuraaw Aboriginal Shire Council will receive $409,500 towards a $455,000 project to improve drainage along the Strathgordon Road.
“Every wet season, flooding cuts road access to Pormpuraaw for up to two months.
“Improving the access will improve the links to the Cape via the Peninsula Development Road, supporting growth of hospitality, tourism and maintenance industries and creating eight jobs during construction.
“In its submission for funding, Council said that reduced road closures will ensure locals have better access to health, employment, education and training.
“In making sure that Pormpuraaw is not cut off for long periods of time, it’ll also have benefits for the cost of goods in the community. At the moment, there’s a lot of preparation required before the wet season, with goods having to be freighted in and stored in anticipation of closures. When the community is shut off then goods have to be delivered by sea or air, which can have significant cost implications.
“The news of this funding is very positive for these three communities and I’m sure all the local councils will be keen to get works underway as soon as possible.”
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said while the nature and size of the country’s landscape meant that natural hazards were a fact of life in Australia, communities are stepping up efforts to manage natural disaster risks.
“Preparing for, withstanding and recovering from disasters is not something the Government can do alone ? we need everyone in the community to get involved,” Mr Keenan said.
“This funding encourages a partnership approach to disaster resilience, with funding recipients helping to build a culture of shared responsibility with governments.”