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ICA calls on NSW to ‘take lead’ on natural hazard resilience  

Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) CEO Andrew Hall has delivered a six-point recommendation to NSW Planning and Environment Committee Chair Sue Higginson, calling for renewed actions on natural hazard resilience.  

In the submission, Mr Hall says NSW should look to lead efforts to ensure commitments made by the National Cabinet to land use planning reform, including assurances to stop new development on high-risk flood plains, are met.  

Mr Hall has encouraged the NSW Government to take a “risk-based approach” to land use planning and provide “clear direction” on where development will be allowed and any required mitigation efforts.  

“The threshold of acceptable risk needs to be central to planning decisions, and the consequence of extreme weather, not just the probability, needs to be taken into consideration,” Mr Hall said.  

“The NSW Government should prioritise development in areas of negligible-risk and low-risk to extreme weather for new dwellings, noting the probability of a hazard occurring and the potential impact of that hazard on property and life as part of the development of regional plans.”  

The submission calls for resilience to be embedded into the National Construction Code (NCC), with Mr Hall noting ICA estimations that more than $4 billion could be saved by strengthening the NCC.  

Mr Hall renews calls for the State Government to “take advantage” of the Federal Government’s $1 billion investment over five years into resilience measures.  

“We encourage the NSW Government to increase its investment in mitigation infrastructure to minimise risk and to allocate greater funding levels to its Resilient Homes Program, which is a welcome initiative for the Northern Rivers region,” Mr Hall said.  

“This program provides valuable lessons that should inform the application of similar programs across the state, and so we encourage the NSW Government to fund this as a permanent program to cover a greater number of high-risk areas of NSW.”  

Mr Hall also calls for the Government to consistently apply the NCC to ensure practitioners comply with building standards and establish a robust national hazard database to help aid research and investment.  

He also remarks on the importance of taxation reform, highlighted by the State Government’s recent announcement that it will remove the Emergency Services Levy.   

The submission to the NSW Planning and Environment Committee was in relation to an inquiry into the impacts of climate change on the environment and communities.