The service will be a collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology, the CSIRO, Australian Bureau of Statistics and Geoscience Australia. It will inform long-term planning for infrastructure, housing and basic services like power, telecommunications, and water.
Former Liberal Party president Shane Stone, who currently heads up the government’s national drought and North Queensland flood recovery efforts, will lead the new agency.
Emergency Management Minister David Littleproud said Emergency Management Australia will also receive support to upgrade their National Situation Room to include a real-time ‘common operating picture’, for all natural disasters.
“Through the Australian Climate Service we will draw on the expertise of our best and brightest scientists to help us better anticipate, manage and adapt to climate impacts to will inform the work of the National Disaster and Recovery Agency and Emergency Management Australia,” he said.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack will also use a speech to the Regional Australia Institute in Rockhampton on Wednesday to announce a further round of grants under the Building Better Regions Fund, bringing it up to more than $1.2 billion in total spending since 2016.
He will point to population movement out of the big cities and increasing house prices in regional areas.
“It makes sense – a stronger regional Australia is witnessing rising demand for our quality of life and that’s backed by federal government investment,” Mr McCormack will say, according to extracts of his speech.
The Auditor-General is considering a detailed examination of the Building Better Regions Fund. The grants program came under scrutiny in April after the ABC revealed that in its fourth round, approved on the eve of the 2019 election campaign, 112 of the 330 projects were chosen by Mr McCormack and a ministerial panel against departmental advice, although all had been assessed as delivering value for money.
Ahead of the budget, shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers used a speech in Brisbane on Tuesday evening to demand Josh Frydenberg reveal the economic cost of the failure to fully roll out a coronavirus vaccine.
He said the last budget had estimated a faster rollout could boost economic activity by $34 billion, but since then the rollout had fallen behind the government’s own targets.
Mr Chalmers said the budget had to be judged on whether it delivered more secure jobs, lifted wages, encouraged a new generation of clean and cheap power and improved the economic security of women.
“After eight long years of a government soon asking for 12, the budget can’t be yet another missed opportunity,” he said.
“It needs to be more ambitious about actually delivering full employment and set out a genuine jobs plan that strengthens and diversifies our economy and ensures growth is broader, more inclusive and more sustainable.”
Meanwhile, a range of First Nations groups and the Federation of Ethnic Communities Councils Australia are concerned they have not been included in the budget lockup and won’t have the opportunity to scrutinise its policies before they are announced.
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