Federal Govt accused of inaction over Northern insurance report

Tom Zaunmayr and Peter De KruijffPilbara News
VideoKarratha has soaked through its wettest day in more than a decade with 211mm bucketing down.

The Federal Government has been accused dragging it’s feet on a probe designed to ease the burden of insurance in Northern Australia.

A report from the Northern Australia Insurance Premiums Taskforce was finalised in November 2015.

Recommendations included improved mitigation through education and research, greater recognition of mitigation from the insurance industry, increased scope for policyholders to assume more responsibility of risk, subsidised mitigation measures for low-income households and considering of a Government-backed reinsurance pool or mutual insurer.

The report did however point to significant financial risk if a mutual or reinsurance pool were to be pursued.

Pardoo Station was hit by cyclone Rusty but Pilbara insurance claims are generally low.
Camera IconPardoo Station was hit by cyclone Rusty but Pilbara insurance claims are generally low. Credit: North West Telegraph

The Federal Government was expected to give a formal reply to the findings by June 30 last year, but two cyclone seasons since the report was finished that has not happened.

A Revenue and Financial Services Minister spokeswoman said the State Government could be doing more to ease the cost of insurance.

“There are immediate actions the State Governments could take to reduce premiums including removing stamp duty and addressing strata title regulations which place pressure on premiums,” she said.

“Additionally, the government has clearly communicated to insurers that they must ensure any mitigation efforts undertaken by consumers are being reflected in the premiums being charged.”

The spokeswoman said the Government was still considering the report.

Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan.
Camera IconRegional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan. Credit: Pilbara News

WA Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan hit back at the Federal Government’s suggestion the State should take more responsibility.

“If this is a State Government issue, why did the Abbott-Turnbull Government waste everyone’s time establishing a task force,” she said.

“This has dragged on for two years with no result other than the production of shelf fillers.

“We urge the Minister to deliver on her promise and give the Government’s response. If it is all too hard for the Turnbull Government, admit it and do not leave Northern Australians hanging.”

Durack MHR Melissa Price failed to respond by time of print.

The report has drawn criticism from government and industry bodies in the North West over a range of issues.

These included claims concerns of home and business owners had not been taken into account and failing to address the problem of people in high risk areas who don’t insure.

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