- 77 Queensland councils call for the scheme
- ACCC reports insurance premiums are up 178 per cent in Northern Australia
- 62,000 properties in North Queensland are uninsured
In light of the need to help reduce insurance premiums across Northern Queensland and Northern Australia, the peak body representing Queensland councils has called for the Federal Government to create a national reinsurance pool.
The 77 councils that make up the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) jointly called for the measure a Federal Budget submission to the Federal Government. The Townsville City Council and the Whitsunday Regional Council have in particular been vocal about introducing such a scheme for some time now, the statement says.
The scheme they argue should be modelled on the terrorism reinsurance scheme which was introduced by the former Howard Coalition government.
Figures from a recent inquiry into insurance premiums by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) have shown a significant increase over the past decade.
The report found that premiums are up 178 per cent in Northern Australia with the rest of the nation seeing a 52 per cent increase.
Mark Jamieson, the Mayor of the Sunshine Coast Council and LGAQ President, believes the Federal Government needs to intervene to make the premiums more affordable.
“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,” said Mayor Jamieson
“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.”
Jenny Hill, Mayor of Townsville, echoes her fellow Mayor’s concerns.
“The ACCC took three years to complete its investigation into insurance in Northern Australia and over that time the situation has further deteriorated,” Cr Hill said.
“Homeowners, renters, businesses, body corporates – the prohibitive cost and, in some cases, lack of availability of insurance, is seriously impacting communities,
“A reinsurance pool already exists through the Australian Reinsurance Pool Corporation, set up by the Howard Government in 2003 to address a previous instance of market failure,”
“The insurance market in Northern Australia has clearly failed and it’s time for a national reinsurance pool to help reduce the cost of insurance premiums.”
Whitsunday Regional Council Mayor Andrew Willcox argues its not just homeowners who have been affected by the large premium increases, but also key players in the tourism industry such as accommodation and marine operators.
“Our tourism stakeholders are struggling to reduce their risk and keep premiums down because of Federal and State government policies,” said Cr Wilcox.
“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.”