JOINT PR: Trans-Tasman Cooperation on disaster management

Hon Kieran McAnulty, New Zealand Minister for Emergency Management

Senator The Hon Murray Watt, Federal Minister for Emergency Management

Strengthening Trans-Tasman cooperation on disaster management issues was a key area of focus when Australia and New Zealand’s disaster management ministers met this week on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction. 

Australia’s Minister for Emergency Management, Senator the Hon Murray Watt, met with New Zealand’s Minister of Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty, to discuss experiences in preparing for and responding to natural hazards and severe weather events.

Officials from New Zealand and Australia’s National Emergency Management Agencies also signed a Memorandum of Cooperation on disaster management.

The agreement will encourage greater information-sharing on emergency management research and best practice, facilitate shared disaster assistance such as technical advisors where required, and explore opportunities for joint activities and exercises, between the two countries.

The agreement will also enable a more connected approach to regional and international engagement.

“This agreement gives us the chance to continue to work together and figure out how we can help each other prepare for an event, and respond when it comes,” Minister McAnulty said.

“Australia and New Zealand face similar natural hazards, and so there’s a lot our countries can learn from each other. Each response gives us the opportunity to improve our systems, and the more information we have, the better prepared we can be.”

“With the rate and scale of emergencies increasing globally, it’s important, now more than ever, that friends work together to build resilience and reduce risk.”

Minister Watt highlighted the importance of this conference, which brings together ministers to discuss approaches to reducing the impacts of disasters.

“Working with other countries, such as New Zealand, will help us to build greater awareness and capability on disaster issues, particularly as we face continued wet weather conditions this summer, caused by a third consecutive La Niña event,” Minister Watt said.

“I look forward to a very collaborative partnership with New Zealand across a range of disaster management issues.

“The establishment of Australia’s newly formed National Emergency Management Agency provides a strong driver for us to enhance this collaboration further, given the similarity in our emergency management structures.”

Ministers recognised there was significant value in strengthening cooperation between Australia and New Zealand, to share experiences in disaster management and build the respective capability of their National Emergency Management Agencies.

Australia and New Zealand already have a long-standing relationship in cooperating on disaster management, including sharing resources and incident management personnel to assist with the response to significant disaster events.