NSW Government to strengthen planning for natural hazards

New guidelines to help communities and councils plan for natural hazards such as bushfires, drought and floods have been released today for public feedback.

In releasing the draft Strategic Guide to Planning for Natural Hazards in NSW, Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the recent flooding which devastated parts of the state emphasised the need to plan strategically for natural hazards.

“Our state is the best place to live in Australia but with its natural beauty comes challenges,” Mr Stokes said.

“In the last few years we’ve experienced some of the worst drought, bushfires and flooding on record so it’s important we continually learn and adapt how we plan for these hazards.

“This draft guide supports the findings of the Bushfire Royal Commission that we need to better address legacy risk in our communities by making sure that strategic land[1]use planning builds resilience to known hazards.”

Minister for Police and Emergency Services David Elliott said NSW has been hit by a series of natural disasters in recent years and the NSW Government is working to reduce the impact and costs of extreme weather events on communities where possible.

“Between 2009 and 2019, NSW was affected by 198 declared natural disasters which resulted in significant losses and cost the State approximately $3.6 billion per year,” Mr Elliott said.

“That’s why we need to future proof our regions rather than reacting to disasters when they occur – prevention and mitigation are critical.”

The draft document comprises eight guiding principles:

  • Consider natural hazard risk early
  • Protect vulnerable people and assets
  • Adopt an all-hazards approach
  • Involve the community in conversations about risk
  • Plan for emergency response and evacuation
  • Be information driven· Plan to rebuild the future, not the present
  • Understand the relationship between natural processes and natural hazards

The NSW Government’s flood prone planning package will be finalised shortly.

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