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Queensland Budget 'fails to meet' mitigation, resilience challenges

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The insurance industry has responded with disappointment to the Queensland Government’s 2021/22 Budget, saying it falls short of what is needed to protect the state from extreme weather events.

The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says the Budget has set aside just $10 million for household resilience and mitigation measures to protect Queenslanders from extreme weather events, with just $3 million to be spent on new household resilience funding.

According to the Budget paper, the $10 million is a targeted measure for a new North Queensland Natural Disasters Mitigation Program to help reduce risks and cost of living pressures for Queenslanders living in cyclone-prone areas, including by putting downward pressure on insurance premiums.

The ICA also pointed out the Palaszczuk Government is not renewing the Household Resilience Program - a $41.5 million funding scheme to help eligible homeowners in coastal areas improve the resilience of their homes against cyclones.

ICA says the move will leave many Queensland homeowners without support for much-needed home building mitigation.

“Insurers have been calling for some time for greater investment in resilience and mitigation measures, so it’s disappointing the Queensland State Budget fails to meet this challenge,” CEO Andrew Hall said.

“The Federal Government’s recent allocation of $600 million over five years for new disaster preparation and mitigation programs and $40 million to make strata buildings in northern Australia more resilient to extreme weather potentially unlocks significant partnership investments with the states.

“Queensland should be looking to maximise these opportunities.”

Inaction on insurance taxes disappoints the industry too. Mr Hall repeated ICA’s calls urging all state and territory governments to advance tax reform and remove stamp duty on insurance products to increase insurance affordability for all Australians.

According to the Budget released last week, the new $10 million North Queensland Natural Disasters Mitigation Program will administer grants to local government for disaster mitigation initiatives that assist in reducing the cost of insurance in their communities.

The Palaszczuk Government says the Budget contains targeted measures to support Queenslanders living in cyclone-prone areas.

“Over the past decade, north Queensland has borne the brunt of multiple major cyclones and floods, contributing to large increases in insurance premiums and reduced availability of insurance coverage,” the Budget paper says.

“The Queensland Government’s ongoing investment in mitigation works, complemented by the Australian Government’s recent commitments, will help to put downward pressure on insurance premiums for Queensland families and businesses in high-risk and cyclone-prone areas.”

The Budget also announced $10.8 million over four years to implement priority actions in response to the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements in Queensland and $13.8 million over the same period to support existing public cyclone shelters.

Click here for the Budget paper.