Time to Consider Evacuating People from Danger

When it's time to consider moving people out of harm's way

IAG and Rhelm launch 'Planned Relocation - Protecting Our Communities' research report to help governments and communities considering planned relocation

A new report that explores how planned relocation can protect people and communities from natural disasters such as severe floods and bushfires, was launched today by IAG and natural hazards and resilience advisory firm Rhelm.

IAG, Australia and New Zealand's largest general insurer, commissioned the report to help governments and communities assess when planned relocation is a viable option. It follows repeated extreme weather events that devastated communities and tragically claimed multiple lives.

Planned relocation involves moving homes, and sometimes communities, away from high-risk areas in which the risk to lives and properties is too great.

The report analyses the enablers and barriers to planned relocation in Australia, the role the community plays in associated decision making, and provides recommendations on how governments can best deliver a planned relocation scheme.

The report also investigates the feasibility of planned relocation in high flood-risk locations, to demonstrate when planned relocation may be a viable economic option for communities to consider.

IAG Managing Director and CEO Nick Hawkins said: "We know relocation is not simple, we all have strong emotions and connections to where we live. But finding the right location where there is no or minimal disaster risk, could save lives, property and result in more affordable insurance.

"Our intent with this report was to provide a framework and recommendations to help governments and communities assess planned relocation as an option to protect lives into the future before another disaster strikes.

"Our teams have been on-the-ground during some of the worst natural disasters seen across Australia and New Zealand, helping people to recover and begin rebuilding their lives.

"We've advocated for greater investment in mitigation to help protect communities for more than a decade and we've recently seen solid progress at a federal and state government level.

"The past few years of extreme bushfires and floods has also shown us that in some cases, options such as planned relocation should be considered due to the threat to lives and property.

"This is a difficult discussion for communities to have. In many cases, families have lived in these homes and communities for multiple generations and supporting them must be at the heart of this process," Mr Hawkins said.

The report highlights that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to planned relocation. The benefits and consequences must be weighed-up, and take into account people's connection to their land, homes, and communities and how this can be maintained through any planned relocation, as well as the wider financial and social costs.

In addition to commissioning the report, IAG's Natural Perils team also contributed data and information to inform the economic analysis in the report.

Rhelm Director, Rhys Thomson said: "With the impacts of floods and bushfires in recent years, we have seen increased consideration and community support for planned relocation for risk mitigation. However, the implementation of planned relocation can be challenging, both for governments and the community. Our report is intended to support the discussion on planned relocation, highlighting the challenges and opportunities such schemes encounter and providing recommendations for planning and implementation."

The report provides seven key recommendations:

  1. Develop a National Guidance on planned relocation
  2. Prioritise and fund integration support measures for relocated residents
  3. Planned relocation should be coordinated by State and Territory Government agencies, while ensuring Local Government remains a key stakeholder
  4. Responsible agencies should proactively identify high-risk locations and develop community adaptation plans before a natural hazard event occurs
  5. Federal and State Governments should formalise funding arrangements
  6. Establish legislative frameworks for accelerated approvals for planned relocation
  7. Review the outcomes of large-scale implementations of planned relocation (e.g. NSW and Queensland Resilient Homes Funds) to inform development and refinement of National Guidance and frameworks

Click here for the full report www.iag.com.au/about-us/research

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