Proposed changes to NDRRA would hit QLD hard

One of the less discussed recommendations from the Commission of Audit is their recommendation number 41 related to disaster relief. The Commission recommends replacing the current Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA) with a Commonwealth grant for each disaster of between 25% and 33%. Under the current NDRRA arrangement the Commonwealth usually meets 75% of rebuilding costs with the State picking up the other 25%.
Getting specific data on the amount of NDRRA funding has proved difficult. The Commission quotes $5.8bn in the 3 years from 2010-11 with another $5.8bn built into the forward estimates. The latest Queensland Budget notes just over $2bn of grants to the Queensland Reconstruction Authority (who administer the NDRRA funds) in 2013-14 and $1.2bn in the year before. What is clear (and obvious to anyone who thinks about where the natural disasters have mainly occurred) is that QLD has been (and would likely continue to be) the major beneficiary of NDRRA payments. If you need further evidence of that fact simply visit the NDRRA Natural Disasters website and note that the only state which has an active page is Queensland.
If we use the Commission figure of $5.8bn and assume that it relates to payments of 75% to the states (largely Queensland), then the total disaster bill would be in the order of $7.7bn. The Queensland MYFER mentions a repair bill of $8.8bn for the years from 2012-13 to 2014-15. These all would point to a disaster repair bill per annum in the region of $3bn over the years from 2010-11 to 2014-15 (almost all in QLD). If the state were made to meet 75% of that cost, rather than the current 25%, the difference would be a massive additional impost of some $1.5bn pa.
Such a change would have significant impacts on a state budget already under strain and would fall very heavily on Queensland.

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