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Industry hails Queensland cyclone mitigation vow

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Insurers have welcomed Queensland Labor’s $20 million pledge to improve cyclone resilience for older homes in the state’s north if re-elected on November 25.

Treasurer Curtis Pitt says the Household Resilience Program will cover 75% of costs required to improve pre-1980s buildings, through means-tested grants of up to $11,250.

“The initial $20 million, two-year program was funded in this year’s state budget,” he said.

“With our help, low-income households will be able to take preventative measures that should flow through to lower insurance premiums.”

The program is due to begin early next year and will fund inspections and grants.

Suncorp Insurance CEO Gary Dransfield says the scheme builds on the insurer’s own resilience initiatives. “Through its Protecting the North program, Suncorp has demonstrated the benefits of a household resilience scheme, providing compelling evidence to encourage government investment,” he said.

Suncorp has worked with James Cook University to study the impact of cyclones and how simple, low-cost retrofits to homes pay for themselves after just one major event.

Its Cyclone Resilience Benefit has so far reduced premiums by up to 20% for about 35,000 customers in northern Queensland who have upgraded roofs, covered windows and strengthened doors.

The Insurance Council of Australia has also welcomed Queensland Labor’s proposal, which could serve “as a template for improving resilience of pre-1980s homes across the whole of northern Australia”.