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'Pushing down premiums': Greens commit to flood resilience grants

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Homeowners with properties at risk from flood could receive a $20,000 grant as part of a $7.8 billion Greens plan aimed at tackling insurance unaffordability.

The proposal primarily targets owners in south-east Queensland and northern NSW who faced devastating floods earlier this year.

Greens candidate for the flood-affected Queensland seat of Ryan, Elizabeth Watson-Brown, announced the plan yesterday alongside Greens co-Deputy Leader, Larissa Waters.

“People have been devastated again this year by flooding, and that is going to happen more and more often into the future with climate change,” Ms Watson-Brown said. “It is serious, it is here and it’s in lots of people’s back yards.”

Proposed grants will match contributions made by homeowners for flood protection projects with funds for the plan coming from levies on coal and gas exports.

“These $20,000 grants will help people raise or batten their houses, giving them further height above encroaching floodwaters,” Senator Waters said.

The Greens highlight rising insurance premiums as one of the reasons greater investment in flood protective schemes is needed.

“Our plan will also push down the cost of insurance premiums, as smart public infrastructure will reduce the risk faced by properties exposed to specific types of natural disasters,” a Greens statement said. “Without taking this action, insurance will become unaffordable for many people.”

The proposal comes as the Greens mount a push in flood-affected seats with hopes to flip the long-time held LNP seat of Ryan.

“People in Brisbane who've just been devastated by this summer's floods are watching Liberal and Labor back in more coal and gas, and wondering how they can keep their family safe from climate change,” Ms Watson-Brown said.

The announcement has been welcomed by the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA), which has petitioned for increased investment in climate protection.

“At the start of this year, leading into the federal election, the ICA called for a greater investment in resilience and mitigation measures to better protect communities from worsening extreme weather,” it said.

“This included $413 million to better protect homes against flood, Australia’s most expensive extreme weather events by raising utilities and services above the expected floodline.”

ICA has called for the next federal government to increase investments with funds matched by states and territories.

“This $2 billion, five-year investment is projected to reduce financial costs to Australian governments and households by more than $19 billion by 2050.”

The Federal Government and Queensland Government yesterday announced a jointly funded $720 million floods recovery package.