Despite failing to meet her own deadline to respond to the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums Taskforce (NAIP) Report by more than one year, Minister O'Dwyer is now attempting to shift the blame for her own failures and "do-nothing" approach to escalating insurance premiums in Northern Australia by blaming state governments and the insurance industry.
The Minister received the Taskforce Report back in November 2015 and promised to “provide a detailed response by 30 June 2016.” (Kelly O’Dwyer media release 4 March 2016).
The response has never been provided despite the serious impact that escalating premiums are having on households and businesses in cyclone prone Northern Australia. In some cases people have had increases in their premiums of over 300 per cent.
The Taskforce report found that over the past twenty years losses from cyclones in northern Australia totalled $2.4b, or $115 million dollars per year and that future losses could be as much as $285 million dollars per year due to the risk of much larger catastrophes.
Despite the Turnbull Government being fully aware of the risks and costs of cyclones including the impact that rising insurance costs are having on households and businesses in cyclone prone Northern Australia they continue to ignore the sensible recommendations of the Taskforce.
Straight forward recommendations included such as increased investment for household mitigation strategies, further research into mitigation, education campaigns and the possibility of targeted assistance for low income households to undertake mitigation works are all recommendations that the Turnbull Government could be progressing.
But instead of providing the promised response to the Taskforce report the Turnbull Government chose to point the finger squarely at the insurance industry and commissioned yet another review into the costs of Northern Australia Insurance premiums.
Last week the Minister sought to broaden out the blame to not include not only the insurance industry but the state governments of northern Australia as well.
It’s well past time for the Minister to step up and take some responsibility here and focus on how best to help homeowners and businesses meet the costs of protecting themselves during natural disasters like cyclones instead of the petty finger pointing the Minister is currently engaging in.
As a first suggestion, maybe the Minister could provide the Turnbull Government’s response to the Taskforce's report that is now more than twelve months overdue?
MONDAY, 10 JULY 2017
This is a joint media release with Labor's Shadow Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Jason Clare MP.