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'Short-sighted': ICA fumes at federal snub to Queensland floods package

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The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) has criticised the Federal Government for refusing to support a $741 million resilience funding package proposed by the Queensland Government.

In a strongly worded statement ICA CEO Andrew Hall described the decision as “short-sighted” and implied the Federal Government is “washing its hands of responsibility”.

As reported, the Labor-led Queensland Government announced the package last month to provide funding for house raising, retrofitting and voluntary buybacks of properties at risk from future floods.

It was welcomed by the insurance industry, which has been urging governments to spend more on resilience for years.

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk wrote to Prime Minister Scott Morrison offering to split the funding 50:50.

But today Acting Premier Cameron Dick says a reply has been received “refusing to provide funding to help get homes out of floodwaters”.

“It doesn’t matter if your home floods two, three or four times over, Scott Morrison wants no part in creating an ongoing solution,” Mr Dick said.

ICA expressed “disappointment” that the Federal Government has declined to contribute.

“As severe rain and flooding continues to impact the east coast the failure of the Federal Government to match Queensland’s investment in measures to improve household and community protections against extreme weather is disappointing and short-sighted,” Mr Hall said.

“If Australia is to get serious about improving our resilience to flood, bushfire and cyclone, all levels of government need to contribute.

“Australians – particularly those still impacted by the ongoing rain and flooding – want governments to come together to provide better protections against worsening extreme weather, not wash their hands of responsibility.”

Mr Dick also raised the issue of a Bundaberg flood levee, which he says Mr Morrison has tied up in “bureaucratic process”.

“Nearly a decade after ex-Tropical Cyclone Oswald devasted Bundaberg, the Prime Minister is still refusing to support the Bundaberg Flood Levee,” he said.

“Every expert report, including his own Royal Commission into natural disasters, says that the Federal Government should be funding disaster resilience, but this Prime Minister will not take responsibility and do his job to fund it.”

The Federal Government says it has provided more than $1 billion for Queensland’s flood response, including disaster relief payments and income replacement.

It says the Queensland Government is responsible for housing and “can directly deliver home lifting, buybacks and their resilient household rebuilding program”.