DAMAGE: Cyclone Debbie: the sad aftermath of some Whitsunday homes.
DAMAGE: Cyclone Debbie: the sad aftermath of some Whitsunday homes.

Whitsunday joins 77 councils in calling for reinsurance pool

A peak body representing Queensland's 77 councils is calling on the Federal Government to establish a national reinsurance pool in a bid to lower the cost of insurance premiums in North Queensland.

The Local Government Association of Queensland included the measure in its federal budget submission to the Commonwealth, with the backing of member councils including Whitsunday Regional Council.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission released its inquiry into insurance in Northern Australia in December.

Whitsunday Regional Council 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.

Cr Willcox said these premiums 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.

"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."

Member for Dawson George Christensen and Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox inspecting the damage from Cyclone Debbie.
Member for Dawson George Christensen and Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox inspecting the damage from Cyclone Debbie.

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The call for a reinsurance pool has the support of Dawson MP George Christensen, who said he would call on the government to introduce the scheme in May's federal budget.

LGAQ president Mark Jamieson said the ACCC found insurance premiums had risen by up to 178 per cent in Northern Australia over the past decade.

"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," Mr Jamieson said.

"This is just simply unacceptable in a state as highly vulnerable to natural disasters as Queensland."

LGAQ is also urging 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.

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