Real cost of natural disasters burns up NSW state budget

  State Politics Editor
April 13, 2014

The NSW government has been hit with ballooning disaster response costs as major fires and floods continue to blow budget forecasts.

The Disaster Relief Fund was allocated $95 million in this year’s budget, but government spending will top $348 million, after roads were wiped out by storms, and aircraft and heavy machinery were hired to fight fires which devastated the state over summer.

Widespread bushfires between September and November have cost taxpayers $106 million so far; storms and floods cost $183 million in road restoration, while $56 million was spent continuing recovery efforts from the previous year.

Over $2 billion has been spent responding to natural disasters in NSW in the past decade, but costs have tripled in the past six years, from $106 million in 2008 to an estimated $445 million last year.

”The costs have significantly increased,” Treasurer Mike Baird said. ”There are more events, and as events come, they are more expensive…”

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Photos / Story Sydney Morning Herald