The insurance industry has welcomed the Federal Government’s announcement of additional funding to protect communities from flooding.
Yesterday, the Minister for Emergency Management and National Recovery and Resilience, Senator the Hon Bridget McKenzie, announced $50 million in government funding for national flood mitigation infrastructure, boosting the fund to $100 million.
The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Andrew Hall commented that the insurance industry had been calling for increased funding for public and private mitigation projects – with the ICA having a long-held position that only physical mitigation measures, improving building standards and quality, and making informed land-use planning decisions would increase resilience against flood for at-risk Australian communities.
“Minister McKenzie’s announcement of this extra funding is an important step in protecting Australians homes and businesses, increasing the physical and financial resilience of property and business owners in flood-exposed communities,” Hall said.
In November, the ICA informed the government via a report prepared by Baird Australia that it will take $30 billion to provide risk mitigation to protect communities in coastal areas, which are some of the most vulnerable places in Australia.
The report advised the government to invest in coastal protection infrastructure, improve its data collection to build a comprehensive picture of the scale of the problem, and consider land-use planning that focuses on actions of the sea.
Meanwhile, Insurance Australia Group (IAG) said the announcement means state and territory governments can apply for funding to build or improve essential infrastructure flood mitigation initiatives such as levees, levee systems, and flood plain restoration to reduce the impacts of major floods on communities.
IAG managing director and CEO Nick Hawkins explained that the current impact of flooding on communities across large areas of regional New South Wales (NSW) and Queensland (Qld) highlighted the importance of investing in flood mitigation.
“Our priority is helping our customers impacted by the heavy rain and flooding across regional NSW and Queensland, and our teams are undertaking emergency make-safe repairs, assessments, and providing emergency accommodation if required,” Hawkins said.
“Flooding is one of the biggest natural disaster risks faced by the nation, and on top of that, we know we’re in for a wetter than usual summer and that severe weather will increase with climate change, so it’s critical we prioritise identifying and investing in flood mitigation projects.”
Last month, Qld’s government also introduced $10 million in insurance funding for natural disasters in areas ranging from Bundaberg to the Northern Territory border to lower the cost of insurance in the region.
The grants are available to 33 councils and the Weipa Town Authority in high-risk, cyclone-prone coastal areas within 50 kilometres of the coastline to “reduce the impacts of natural disasters” while making insurance affordable, according to 7News.com.au.