The peak body representing Queeensland’s 77 councils has welcomed a new State Government program to help cyclone-prone communities in North and Far North Queensland reduce the impact of natural disasters and cut the cost of insurance for residents.
Under the program, $10 million will be made available to councils in cyclone-prone areas with population centres within 50 kilometres of the coastline. This includes 33 councils from Bundaberg to the Northern Territory border, as well as Weipa Town Authority.
Deputy Premier and Minister for the Queensland Reconstruction Authority Steven Miles said eligible councils could apply for up to $2 million through the North Queensland Natural Disasters Mitigation Program.
Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) CEO Alison Smith said the program was a positive step towards eligible councils reducing their disaster risk and, in turn, lowering the cost of insurance for locals.
She said the LGAQ had vigorously supported North Queensland Mayors, including Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill and Whitsunday Mayor Andrew Willcox, who had campaigned on behalf of a region that had endured unreasonably high insurance costs for far too long.
Together with the Federal Government’s announcement in May of a reinsurance pool for North Queensland, this new State Government program shows significant measures are now being taken by governments to address insurance costs for residents and businesses.
“These measures promise some overdue relief for a region where the average premium for combined home and contents insurance is almost double that for the rest of the nation,” Ms Smith said.
Ms Smith urged eligible councils to identify suitable disaster risk mitigation projects and apply for funding through the program.
“Targeted disaster mitigation measures under this new program will certainly help bring down premium costs so that local residents and businesses can have the sort of affordable protection that those in other parts of the country take for granted,” she said.
The North Queensland Natural Disasters Mitigation Program is being delivered by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority. Eligible councils can apply for up to $2 million through the program, with expressions of interest closing on 18 February 2022.
For more information, please contact:
Sarah Vogler, External Relations Director
Local Government Association of Queensland