Insurer RACQ, along with the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), has expressed disappointment over the lack of funding allocated to flood mitigation for North Queensland in the federal budget.
According to ICA, the government had pledged $3.9 billion for a new natural disaster Emergency Response Fund – $232 million will go to helping flood affected North Queenslanders and $8 billion in additional spending will be spent on infrastructure. No funds had been allocated, however, to protect against floods like those seen in Townsville in February.
“We’re disappointed the federal government has ignored recommendations from the Productivity Commission to invest $200 million a year on these programs,” said Clare Hunter, RACQ spokesperson. “Currently, around 97% of disaster funding goes to clean up and recovery, yet just 3% is allocated to prevention.”
Hunter said Queensland urgently needed the flood mitigation funding more than any other state.
“Sixteen of Australia’s most flood affected electorates are in Queensland,” Hunter said. “The electorate of Herbert, which includes Townsville, tops that list. We agree with the ICA that a significant portion of the Emergency Response Fund should have been invested to reduce the impact of natural disasters rather than patching up communities in the aftermath.”