Photo taken on Oct. 14, 2022 shows a flooded area in Victoria, Australia. (Photo by Bai Xue/Xinhua/IANS)

Canberra, May 15 (IANS) The Australian government on Monday said that A$236 million ($157 million) will be spent over the next decade on the National Flood Warning Infrastructure Network to protect communities from disasters.

The funding will be used to purchase and upgrade flood gauges, with those in Queensland — the country’s most disaster-affected state — to be prioritized, reports Xinhua news agency.

“Severe weather events, including floods, are becoming more extreme and more frequent,” Tanya Plibersek, Minister for the Environment and Water, said in a statement.

“Reliable flood warnings will help Australians prepare for moments of extreme weather. It will keep people safer as they happen.”

It comes after much of Australia’s east coast was hit by floods in 2022.

Parts of Queensland and New South Wales received more than a year’s worth of rain over a matter of days in February and March, causing one of the country’s worst flood disasters.

Studies had previously found that the patchwork nature of the flood gauge network would increase risk during floods.

Inquiries into the 2022 floods also recommended that the federal government upgrade and assume responsibility for the network.

Murray Watt, Minister for Emergency Management, said the investment would guarantee the gauges are reliable.