Responding to an emergency

Disaster assistance bills

Australia is a continent of extremes—from heatwaves, droughts and bushfires to floods, storm surges and cyclones. These events damage or destroy homes, businesses, livestock, crops, infrastructure and ecosystems. The Parliament assists communities to prepare for and to recover from emergencies and natural disasters.

Flood insurance

Insurance Contracts Amendment Act 2012

After floods in eastern Australia in 2010 and 2011, many people found that their insurance policies did not cover flood damage. Differing levels of insurance coverage were applied to storm damage, flash flooding and river flooding.

Legislation passed by the Parliament in 2012 provided for a standard definition of 'flood' for home building and contents insurance. It also required insurance providers to provide consumers with a plain English factsheet on their policy.

What is a flood?

...the covering of normally dry land by water that has escaped or been released from the normal confines of any of the following:

  1. a lake (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
  2. a river (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
  3. a creek (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
  4. another natural watercourse (whether or not it has been altered or modified);
  5. a reservoir;
  6. a canal;
  7. a dam.

Insurance Contracts Regulations 1985, subregulation 29D(1), as amended June 2012

Emergency warnings

Broadcasting Services Amendment (Improved Access to Television Services) Act 2012

During emergencies, it is vital for the community to receive warnings from agencies such as police or fire services, the weather bureau or state emergency services. An amendment made by Parliament to the Broadcasting Services Act in 2012 requires broadcasters to transmit emergency warnings on television in both a visual and verbal form so that they can be understood by people with a hearing or vision impairment.