Brought to you by:

Industry attacks ‘short-sighted’ budget over mitigation spend

Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google

The Morrison Government’s budget has left the industry fuming at a lack of new mitigation spending, despite repeated pleas for investment in disaster-prone areas.

North Queensland is particularly in need following the Townsville disaster.

“The failure of governments to treat flood mitigation and resilience projects as critical investments in the economic future of natural disaster-prone communities is short-sighted and disappointing,” the Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) says.

“Just six weeks after Townsville and parts of central Queensland were hit by catastrophic floods that caused billions of dollars in insured and uninsured losses, the Coalition has again failed to provide a vision or a sustainable solution for millions of Australians who live in disaster-prone regions.”

RACQ Insurance agrees with ICA that some of the $3.9 billion set aside for the new Emergency Response Fund, which will handle natural disasters, could have been directed towards resilience measures including flood defences.

“We’re disappointed the Federal Government has ignored recommendations from the Productivity Commission to invest $200 million a year on these programs,” spokeswoman Clare Hunter said.

“We agree with ICA that a significant portion of [the fund] should have been invested to reduce the impact of natural disasters, rather than patching up communities in the aftermath.”

The Actuaries Institute is similarly frustrated.

“The institute was disappointed that there were no additional measures announced in the budget to mitigate climate change or to improve the nation’s general resilience against natural disasters,” CEO Elayne Grace said.

Last week’s budget proposed increased funding for the Australian Securities and Investments Commission (ASIC) and the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority (APRA) – a move that has the backing of ICA and other financial services industry bodies.

ASIC will receive an extra $404.8 million and APRA $151.7 million.