Kylie Porter, GW3 Interim CEO.
Kylie Porter, GW3 Interim CEO.

Stronger for generations: GW3 lobbies for region

PART of the vital work Greater Whitsunday Alliance (GW3) undertakes is making sure the unique views and data for our region through submissions is provided to the Australian Government and other statutory bodies during formal inquiries on a variety of important topics.

These submissions are completed to make sure the MIW region isn’t lost or forgotten about among the other regional economies in the country and to ensure we remain firmly on the radar in all important conversations.

In the last month alone, GW3, in conjunction with Regional Development Australia Mackay Isaac Whitsunday (RDAMIW), made five regional submissions including the ACCC Northern Australian Insurance Inquiry, Jobs for the Future in Regional Areas Inquiry, Northern Australian Agenda Inquiry, Regional Connectivity Program Feedback and Trade and Investment Growth Inquiry.

The highlights of these submissions include the ACCC Northern Australia Insurance Inquiry which measures to further improve insurance affordability and availability to residents who live in northern Australia. Since 2018 GW3 and RDA MIW have made three submissions on regional insurance affordability. The MIW region has been subjected to steep increases in the cost of premiums and residents and businesses alike are finding it difficult to secure adequate insurance cover.

It is the view of GW3 that, broadly, residents living in northern Australia have been prejudiced by insurance companies and that it is impacting the entire community and, in some cases, causing economic hardship.

One of the focus areas GW3 believes will improve the affordability and availability is establishment of a Reinsurance Pool. A reinsurance pool is a risk financing mechanism used by insurance companies to increase their ability to underwrite specific types of risks (such as cyclones, floods, etc) which in turn will create a fairer and more equitable level of insurance pricing across Australia.

Other key points to improve insurance for northern Australians is to have defined measures to calculate premiums with risk and consistent guidelines for services when making a claim. Finally, to ensure northern Australia is not disadvantaged, GW3 would like to see the requirement for insurers to have a mandated percentage of premiums and policies in northern Australia. The requirement would be linked to insurance licences.

The submission to Northern Australian Agenda Inquiry is equally important. Mackay Isaac Whitsunday is strongly positioned to accommodate the demand from the booming economies of South East Asia for energy, professional services, high quality agriculture and aquaculture products, advanced manufacturing and quality VET and tertiary education.

To capitalise on this potential, we need greater initiatives which stem from the northern Australia agenda including opening up northern Australia grant opportunities to ‘for profit’ businesses; relaxation of red tape requirements for smaller NAIF loan applications and greater cohesion between all levels of government so the objectives and intent of the northern Australia agenda are embedded into policy, to name just a few.

Making sure important regional growth happens in the MIW region can only develop if we continue to find ways to champion and give the MIW a strong well-functioning economy.

Part of GW3’s role is lobbying on the region’s behalf by making sure our voices are heard through submissions like these

Kylie Porter

GW3 Interim CEO