Queenslanders Let Down by Do-Nothing Federal Government

THE HON MARK DREYFUS QC MP
SHADOW ATTORNEY-GENERAL
SHADOW MINISTER FOR NATIONAL SECURITY
MEMBER FOR ISAACS

GRAHAM PERRETT MP
OPPOSITION WHIP
MEMBER FOR MORETON

Not only has the Abbott-Turnbull Government failed to implement any of its own measures to ease the burden of Queenslanders who are faced with the clean-up after Cyclone Debbie and the subsequent flooding, but it has dumped sensible measures put in place by Labor after the 2011 floods.

In 2012, Bill Shorten as Minister for Financial Services and Superannuation established a joint industry-government action group, the Insurance Reform Advisory Group, in response to a House of Representatives Social Policy and Legal Affairs Inquiry, In the Wake of Disasters..

In one of his first actions as Prime Minister, Tony Abbott scrapped the Insurance Reform Advisory Group.

The Productivity Commission conducted a comprehensive inquiry into natural disaster funding arrangements, which reported to Government in December 2014. It took the Abbott-Turnbull Government two years to respond to that report. The Government expressly supported a recommendation that the insurance industry work to develop guidelines for the provision of information about policy coverage, hazard risk and costs of rebuilding after disaster.

The Insurance Reform Advisory Group would have been best suited to address this recommendation had it not been abolished by Tony Abbott .

The Government’s response to the Productivity Commission Report refers to the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums Taskforce which was set up to ‘consider the feasibility of options to lower insurance premiums in areas subject to high cyclone risk and to make policy recommendations.’ The final report of that Taskforce was released on 4 March 2016. The Minister for Revenue and Financial Services, Kelly O’Dwyer, in her press release at the time said that the Government would consider the report and provide a detailed response by 30 June 2016. It is now 398 days since the report was released and still no response by the Turnbull Government.

“Government can make a real difference to the aftermath of natural disasters through forward planning and mitigation. Photo ops of the Prime Minister with a mop in his hand are not much comfort to those impacted by natural disasters if he’s not doing his job the rest of the time”, said the Shadow Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus.

“Queenslanders have been let down by this Government. There has been no Commonwealth oversight of natural disaster funding since 2015. This Government has dropped the ball on natural disaster planning and oversight”, said Graham Perrett, Member for Moreton in Queensland.

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