Indigenous ranger groups cannot continue their fire mitigation work anymore due to soaring insurance premiums following the Black Summer bushfires.
Insurance premiums have tripled for the Kimberley Land Council (KLC) as “risk ratings increased in the wake of the east coast bushfires” last summer.
KLC works with indigenous ranger groups that perform fire mitigation across north-west Australia. However, the council confirmed that the groups will cease their fire mitigation work due to the current cost of insurance.
“Our groups can’t do fire management without insurance. When you don’t keep that in check, the fuel load grows and grows … [and] as a result, you’ll get higher wildfires that emit more heat, are more destructive, and create more damage,” said KLC chief executive officer Nolan Hunter, as reported by ABC.
Australian Wildlife Conservancy chief executive officer Tim Allard warned about significant consequences if insurance costs prevent fire mitigation work.
“Fire is a part of the Australian landscape. You’ll have lightning strikes later in the year. Those fires will start, and they’ll burn through millions of hectares,” Allard told ABC.
He added that the insurance sector must understand that the increase in insurance premiums also increases the risk of uncontrolled burning.
“The risks you then develop through not having prescribed burning … [are] those late-season wildfires that come and burn entire pastoral businesses or entire ecological communities,” he continued.
“Insurers need to work really closely with land management organisations like Indigenous groups and Australian Wildlife Conservancy to make sure they understand the risk profile and understand how it’s mitigating the risk of late-season impacts.”