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Transcripts from the Prime Ministers of Australia

Transcript 3158

NATURAL DISASTERS ORGANISATION

Photo of Whitlam, Gough

Whitlam, Gough

Period of Service: 05/12/1972 to 11/11/1975

More information about Whitlam, Gough on The National Archive website.

Release Date: 18/02/1974

Release Type: Media Release

Transcript ID: 3158

' I3 Press Statement No. 186
18 February 1974
NATURAL DISASTERS ORGANISATION
Members of the Cabinet spent much of today reviewing the capacity
of the nation to meet major natural disasters when it hits us in any form
Cabinet decided to create a Natural Disasters Organisation which
will absorb the existing Civil Defence 0rganisation and put new emphasis
on the threat of floods, bushfires and other disasters. I have been
authorised by Cabinet to cormaunicate with all the Premiers immediately
suggesting the earliest possible meeting of Ministers to consider our
proposals in detail. My telegrams have already been despatched.
Emergency measures for flood relief taken by the Australian
Government and others will continue uninterrupted. Submissions made to
Cabinet for the proposed n. w Natural Disasters Organisation came forward
under two headings.
One involved the organisation to , be assoiated with our defence
1 forces and the other is concerned with the mitigation'of financial
losses. On the latter, Cabinet agreed to hear the views df the
coriercial insurance companies and to commence inquiries into the
possibility of wider insurance cover than'is at present available.
The Minister for Defence, Mr. Barnard and the Treasurer, Mr. Crean
will make such detailed statements as are appropriate.
Apart from the flood damage suffered by the farmers, there is
evidence enough that ill-planned and over-crowded cities are exposing
people to great dangers. in times of disaster. It can be anticipated
that this Government will look very warily at any future projects that
might expose people or the environment to peril.
A detailed account of Queensland's recent terrible experiences
prepared by my Department, was made available to all Ministers. It
stated among other things that it is still not possible to estimate
the cost of the floods in terms either of human hardship or material
losses.
CANBERRA. A. C. T.

Transcript 3158