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Preparing for disasters: saves lives, saves money

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Christine Milne 25 Jul 2013

The Greens' plan to prepare for global warming and more extreme weather

Extreme weather hurts people and the economy - but one dollar spent on reducing the risks of natural disasters can save at least two in recovery costs.

That's why the Greens will invest in preparing our communities for extreme weather events like floods, storms and bush fires. We're announcing over $300 million in annual funding for disaster preparation, funded with a $2 / tonne levy on thermal coal exports.

Read our detailed, costed plan for disaster preparation here.


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Experts agree that Australia doesn't invest enough in preparing for disasters: only 3% of what we spend on recovery. Projects like flood levees, permanent fire breaks and coastal protection works can make a big difference for people affected, and help bring down the costs of putting lives back together after a big storm, fire or flood.

Even before factoring in the impact of global warming, the insurance industry projects that the current cost of natural disasters will double by 2030 - and global warming is making those disasters worse. The Climate Commission recently reported that a warming atmosphere, caused by human pollution, is already making extreme weather events more intense and more frequent.

It's only fair that big coal export companies contribute to the cost of preparing for extreme weather, because they are ultimately responsible for several hundred million tonnes of the pollution that drives global warming - every year. Both old parties plan to ramp up coal exports this decade.

A $2 / tonne levy is affordable for the industry. The current price of thermal coal is around $US90 per tonne and profit makes up, on average, around 26 per cent of total revenue for the industry. It's roughly equivalent to a 2c movement in the exchange rate, which can happen daily.

Read more about our plan to fund disaster preparation with a levy on coal exports.


Learn more:

Find out more about Christine Milne's Senate inquiry into Australia's readiness for extreme weather.

Hear from Hunter locals in coal communities who told Richard Di Natale's air pollution Senate inquiry about the health impacts of coal exports.

Read our 100% Clean Energy Roadmap to build an Australia powered by the sun, wind and waves - not polluting coal.

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