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'Must do more': Suncorp slams leaders on climate change, mitigation

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Climate change must be tackled by setting “ambitious targets” but Australia also needs to deal with today’s weather challenges, Suncorp CEO Steve Johnston says.

Writing in a piece published in The Australian newspaper, Mr Johnston tells of meeting customers whose properties were smashed by last year’s Queensland Halloween hailstorm.

He says the event “feels different” to previous Brisbane storms, with one customer “reaching elbow-deep to pull softball-sized projectiles out of holes in his front yard”.

“Unfortunately, a year on, and the story hasn’t changed much,” he writes.

“In October we saw another series of storms with accompanying hail and wind. In November it was record rainfall across much of the country and now, in the first days of summer, we awake to grey skies and torrential rainfall.

“Call it La Nina, climate change, or just bad luck, it really doesn’t matter – the results and impacts are the same.”

Mr Johnston says “climate change is an intergenerational challenge that must be tackled” by setting ambitious targets and providing support for industries and jobs impacted by the transition.

But he says the current generation cannot be forgotten.

“In addition to addressing climate change and transitioning to net zero, our nation’s leaders must do more today.”

He says Suncorp has "repeatedly" pushed its four-point plan of improved public infrastructure, subsidies and tax breaks for those who invest in more resilient housing, an overhaul of planning laws, and the removal of insurance taxes.

“At a time of increased risk, and a changing climate, where is the sense in a base insurance premium being loaded with up to 45% in taxes and charges?

“The higher your risk, the more tax you pay, and we all know the risk of extreme weather is increasing.

“At a time when homeowners really need adequate home insurance, allowing tax revenue from insurance to keep growing due to climate change makes little economic sense.

“Pushing people out of the insurance market simply transfers the cost of the extreme weather event, and the one after, to the taxpayer.”

Click here to read the full piece.