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Queensland rejoins national motor theft program

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Queensland is to rejoin the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council seven years after it quit the body.

The Palaszczuk Government made the announcement after new figures showed a 47% jump in the state’s car theft rate since 2015.

“I’m delighted to announce that this Government, through a partnership between police and fire and emergency services, will deliver the funds to ensure Queensland is once again part of the council,” Police Minister Mark Ryan told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

The move has been welcomed by the council and other stakeholders that have worked to persuade successive governments to rejoin the insurer-backed initiative.

Council CEO Geoff Hughes says the aim is for Queensland to regain its membership from July 1.

“We were very disappointed when the former Newman government opted out,” he told insuranceNEWS.com.au.

“Local stakeholders such as RACQ Insurance and Suncorp in particular have been making representations on our behalf over a long period leading up to the last state election.”

The move will mean an increase in funding for the council, including the state matching contributions from partner insurers.

“In Queensland, my assessment would be we can greatly assist with motorist education around protecting your keys and residential burglaries and, of course, we’ve got a great young offenders program we would love to establish in Queensland as well,” Mr Hughes said.

RACQ Insurance says quitting the council cost the state’s drivers up to $131 million in theft losses last year.

“The Police Minister’s commitment to rejoin this theft prevention group is the right move… since 2012 our leaders have backed out of financially supporting the [council] and subsequently missed out on receiving funding for locally delivered crime prevention programs, so we’re now looking forward to seeing our state reap these long-awaited benefits,” Head of Technical and Safety Policy Steve Spalding said.

Partner insurers have given more than $20 million to the council since its launch in 1999, matching funding from participating states and territories.

The industry’s contributions this financial year will exceed $900,000.