Business NSW, the peak policy and advocacy body representing businesses in New South Wales (NSW) since 1826 and formerly known as the NSW Business Chamber, has welcomed the federal government's budget and measures for extreme weather resilience.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the federal government will spend $22.6 million over four years to help reduce insurance costs in disaster-prone areas by establishing partnerships between the government and the insurance industry.
“Aside from flood insurance – which many businesses find unavailable or unaffordable – many NSW businesses say professional indemnity and public liability cover is either no longer affordable or even available,” said Business NSW executive director David Harding.
“Many businesses have demonstrated their resilience by taking steps to de-risk their operations, but these decisions have, in many cases, not prevented spiking premiums which have been often rising at a rate four times that of inflation,” Harding said. “While there may be a strong case for prioritising resilient infrastructure and making more sensible planning decisions, these might not always translate into lowered premiums anytime soon. Similarly, reliance on government funding is not sustainable, so we need to explore other models that can provide viable alternatives for businesses.”
Business NSW has been engaging with businesses across the state to determine other options that offer better outcomes for members, including surveys, workshops, and outreach programs. It has also been looking into products offering practical and sustainable alternatives for fast-changing local risk profiles.
“Once there is a feasible solution, we aim to connect our members with emerging products and providers to deliver a resilient business environment and a more robust NSW economy,” Harding said. “We believe businesses should have access to cover that includes immediate financial support, provide an alternative to government funding, and can be incorporated with minimal regulatory impact.”
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) and the Actuaries Institute have also welcomed the federal government's updated weather resilience budget and measures.