There are many lessons to be learned from the recent series of natural disasters which have caused serious devastation across Australia.
The cost to taxpayers of compensating for losses incurred in the drought, bushfires, floods and other natural disasters is enormous.
Experts have estimated that every dollar spent on prevention of, and preparation for, natural disasters saves four dollars spent on reparations and recovery assistance. However, nationally we are spending only around $20 million a year on natural disaster resilience - at a time when the public costs of disaster recovery programs are mounting rapidly into the tens of billions of dollars.
In Tasmania alone, the 2013 bushfires were estimated to have cost the community in excess of $69 million.
The fires in 2016 caused more than $55 million in damage to public infrastructure alone - and that did not include the incalculable costs of fires in the World Heritage area.
The damages bill for the floods that year was more than $180 million.
At the same time, with insurance being priced out of reach, more and more people are either under-insured or have no insurance at all - especially in areas at greatest risk of being affected by natural disasters.
A 2014 Productivity Commission report on natural disaster funding arrangements found that "governments over-invest in post-disaster reconstruction and underinvest in mitigation that would limit the impact of natural disasters in the first place.
As such, natural disaster costs have become a growing, unfunded liability for governments ... Australian government post-disaster support to state and territory governments should be reduced, and support for mitigation increased".
In short, the Productivity Commission has made it clear that, if states and territories are given recovery funding after every disaster, they have no incentive to ensure infrastructure doesn't get damaged in the first place.
We're unlikely to see any change, though.
Politicians love nothing more than a disaster to enable them to look decisive and dole out recovery cash.
Rather than adopting the Commission's recommendations, we're more likely to see an increase in mitigation funding in the form of politically-chosen projects and handouts.
Whenever these issues are raised, we're told 'now is not the time to talk about it'. It is well past time that governments recognised the need for these national conversations - and start heeding the advice from their own experts.
- Jan Davis is an agricultural consultant.