Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund launched
Bendigo, 11 September 2019: The Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal (FRRR) has launched a new, dedicated Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund that will provide flexible, fit-for-purpose funding to support preparedness and recovery.
The Fund will be invested in perpetuity alongside FRRR's corpus, with annual returns available to support locally-led preparedness initiatives and disaster recovery in rural, regional and remote communities.
Australians have typically been generous with their support when there is an extraordinary disaster event. However, localised disasters – which often don't make the news – rarely attract the same response, even though the impact on those affected can be just as significant.
Disaster events disproportionately affect rural, regional and remote areas, where the capacity to invest in preparedness or fund recovery is limited. That’s problematic when Australia, like many parts of the world, is experiencing increasingly frequent climate-related disasters, including prolonged droughts, floods and other weather events. For example, in Queensland since February 2011, there have been 77 disaster events, resulting in $14 billion damage to public infrastructure alone.
Even when support is provided, it's often only available in the immediate aftermath. Funding is not typically available either before a disaster event or in the 12-18 months following, which is usually when community-level needs emerge.
Natalie Egleton, FRRR's CEO, says that creating the Fund is an important step, especially given the inevitability of natural disasters.
"FRRR has assisted communities in their medium to long-term recovery for well over a decade, having provided over $19 million to communities in that time. Traditionally we have sought support from donors to contribute every time a disaster occurs. Recently, this has seen FRRR reach out multiple times in one season, and there can be donor fatigue when there are so many communities needing support.
"The Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund means every donation can have a long-term impact for communities. The funding will ensure that relevant, accessible and flexible grant support is there for rural, regional and remote communities in preparing for and recovering from natural disasters," says Ms Egleton.
"These events cost the Australian economy billions per year in repair bills and economic impacts, and untold costs in terms of the repercussions on health and wellbeing and increased disadvantage.
"It makes sense to invest in preparedness initiatives. There's strong evidence that being better connected and better prepared as a community aids recovery if there is a disaster."
The first contribution to this collaborative Fund comes from Aussie Farmers Foundation.
"FRRR is honoured to have Aussie Farmers Foundation as the Founding Partner to this Fund. We have had a long working relationship. Their Board shares our commitment to ensuring support is available to strengthen the resilience of communities both before and after natural disasters, including drought, where and when they need it. Their $500,000 donation means that the Fund is off to a great start. It also means that funding will be available from July 2020, and will continue for a long time to come as we continue to invest these funds and others donated over time."
Julia Hunter, Aussie Farmers Foundation Board Member says the organisation is delighted to be a Founding Partner of FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund.
"Aussie Farmers Foundation's donation to FRRR’s Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund reflects our commitment to ensuring rural and regional Australia, including our farming communities, have access to the resources they need when they need them; to improve resilience and recovery in the face of natural disasters.
"We share FRRR's belief that the best way to support our rural and regional communities requires a collaborative approach, respecting that local people are best placed to know what will work in their communities. FRRR's strong regional networks and experience make it the natural home for the Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund.
"Aussie Farmers Foundation's mission has always been to support farming communities during tough times. In our ten years of operation, we have given more than $1.7 million to fund projects that have benefitted hundreds of farming communities, and our commitment as a Founding Partner to this Fund will ensure that legacy continues. We encourage others to join us in supporting FRRR's Disaster Resilience and Recovery Fund and continue to grow this necessary resource. "