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Home cyclone defence project gains extra funding

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A Queensland cyclone resilience program that has strengthened more than 1700 homes and reduced premiums will receive an extra $21.25 million in a funding extension supported by insurers and brokers.

The Household Resilience Program, launched two years ago, provides money to upgrade homes built before 1984 through roof upgrades, tie-downs and door and window strengthening.

The program extension, announced as part of measures to support jobs and kick-start the Queensland economy, includes $11.25 million from the State Government and a federal contribution of $10 million.

“The insurance industry supported this initiative the first time around and backs the renewal of it this time, particularly in light of the tough financial situation many North Queensland homeowners and tradies are in as a result of COVID-19,” Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller said.

Homes upgraded under the program are located up to 50km from the coast between Bundaberg and Cooktown.

IAG CEO Australia Mark Milliner, who has been a longtime supporter of community resilience programs, says helping households to invest in strengthening properties creates “stronger, more confident communities one house, street and suburb at a time”.

“We look forward to continuing our support for our customers who invest in making their home and community more resilient into the future with premium reductions to reflect their lower level of risk,” he said.

The National Insurance Brokers Association (NIBA) says mitigation programs such as the Queensland cyclone resilience initiative are one of the most sustainable way to reduce premiums.

“NIBA has long campaigned for increased public and private disaster mitigation works, most recently in our submission to the Royal Commission on National Natural Disaster Arrangements,” CEO Dallas Booth said.

Queensland Housing and Public Works Minister Mick de Brenni says premiums were reduced by an average $310 for the 1749 homes assisted in the first stage of the program.

“We know that COVID-19 has hit budgets hard [and] the last thing we need right now is a cyclone to hit regional families when they’re down,” he said.

“This will make a big difference for homeowners on low incomes, while stimulating the local jobs economy.”