Skyrocketing premiums have prompted the peak body representing Queensland’s 77 councils to call for a national reinsurance pool to help reduce insurance costs for northern communities.
The Local Government Association of Queensland has called for this measure in its Federal Budget submission to the Commonwealth.
Member councils like Townsville City Council and the Whitsunday Regional Council and their communities had been vocal for some time in calling for change, the LGAQ said.
LGAQ President and Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson said figures contained in the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s inquiry into insurance in Northern Australia, released in December, were stark.
“The ACCC found insurance premiums had risen by up to 178 per cent in Northern Australian over the last decade, compared to 52 per cent elsewhere,” Cr Jamieson said.
“More than 62,000 properties in North Queensland are currently uninsured, with more than 95 per cent of those uninsured property owners citing cost as a reason, the ACCC found.
“This is just simply unacceptable in a state as highly vulnerable to natural disasters as Queensland.
“Our member councils want a reinsurance pool established to help reduce those costs so their communities are not unfairly burdened, and we support their call.
“We urge the Federal Government to work with the councils as leaders of their communities to ensure an effective scheme is implemented before the next disaster season.
Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox said it was frustrating that the recommendations in the recent ACCC report did not go far enough to protect his community against huge insurance premiums that were double the rest of Australia.
“It is not just homeowners who are struggling with high premiums, but also our tourism accommodation and marine operators face similar prohibitive expenses,” he said.
“Our tourism stakeholders are struggling to reduce their risk and keep premiums down because of Federal and State government policies.
“We are advocating for the Federal Government to underwrite cyclone insurance for North Queensland to bring our premiums in line with the rest of Australia.
“Everyone is happy to put their hands out for a share of our region’s huge mining royalties, food from our horticulture and meat from our graziers, so it is only fair we get some financial relief to protect our key industries from financial stress.”