Calls to increase flood mitigation funding

In the aftermath of Cyclone Debbie and the resultant flooding the Insurance Council of Australia has renewed calls for construction of mitigation infrastructure to protect flood-prone towns and increase funding to at least $200 million a year.

Speaking at a Senate hearing in Sydney recently, ICA CEO Rob Whelan said the Federal Government should join state, territory and local governments in identifying, then making provision for, mitigation projects across Australia.

“This is one form of nation building that would have a lasting positive impact,” he said.

“The Insurance Council has strongly advocated for disaster mitigation funding and improved resilience by participating in a number of federal and state reviews. The industry agrees with the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums Taskforce and the Productivity Commission that mitigation is the only way to reduce premiums on a sustainable basis.

“The Insurance Council was disappointed the Government’s response to the Productivity Commission’s report on Natural Disaster Funding did not take up the recommendation to increase mitigation funding to $200 million a year, matched by states and territories.

“Today, the case for urgent investment in permanent, well-designed mitigation for disaster-prone communities cannot be clearer. Where mitigation does not exist or poor decisions were made about the design, floods have proved devastating. Insurers have to price the risk of these events, and where the risk is high, so too are the premiums.”

Mr Whelan said Canada’s Liberal Federal Government had appreciated the need to support disaster risk reduction, committing $CAD2 billion ($A1.99 billion) in its 2017 Budget to create a Disaster Mitigation and Adaptation Fund.