The Australian federal government introduced the Disaster Ready Fund Bill to parliament early this week, calling for a $200 million annual fund for disaster prevention and resilience. Now, Queensland car insurer RACQ has called for the state to “receive its fair share” of the disaster fund.
Queensland has had a tough year in 2022, with the southeast area facing Australia's costliest flood and third-costliest natural disaster in February-March. In June 2022, RACQ revealed it had already paid out over $100 million in claims related to the extreme weather event, a significant jump from the $36 million it had paid out in claims payments in May 2022.
In a recent statement, RACQ CEO David Carter said the insurer welcomed the federal government's proposal, highlighting that prevention is better than cure.
“This commitment finally acts on a landmark Productivity Commission report from 2015, which found Australia is dangerously exposed to natural disasters due to a significant lack of investment in mitigation,” he said.
However, as the east coast prepares for a third-consecutive La Nina this summer and Queensland faces the brunt of increased climate impacts, Carter argued that “it's only sensible and fair that Queensland receives significant support from this fund to better protect our communities against this threat.”
“For years, we've seen underinvestment which has left many Queensland communities unprotected from this growing disaster risk,” Carter said. “For every taxpayer dollar spent on natural disasters, 97 cents is spent on recovery, leaving just three cents on prevention and preparedness. It's an unsustainable equation that has put enormous pressure on insurance costs and held many regional economies back.”
New South Wales (NSW) – another area hit by the catastrophic flooding in February-March 2022 – has also been focusing on supporting flood-affected residents. Most recently, the local government in Lismore City provided grants to affected residents to help the community “build back better.” In the same city, popular tourist destination Nimbin received a $500,000 grant from the NSW government to revitalise the flood-affected area.