Minister for Emergency Management, Kieran McAnulty, has announced a new emergency management agreement between New Zealand and Australia.
Minister McAnulty met with Australian Minister for Emergency Management, Murray Watt, at the Asia-Pacific Ministerial Conference being held in Brisbane this week to discuss experiences in preparing for and responding to natural hazards and severe weather events.
The agreement was made official on the side-lines of the conference, with officials from New Zealand and Australia’s National Emergency Management Agencies also signing 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 the 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,” Mr 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.”
Minister McAnulty said the New Zealand Government was committed to improving its global and national emergency management system, and the Memorandum of Cooperation signing was another positive step towards this.