The Honourable Paul Lucas
Insurance companies win, Queenslanders lose
The decision today by the Federal Government to cave-in to Independent South Australian Senator Nick Xenophon will force taxpayers and local councils to fork out billions of dollars to multi-national insurance companies, Acting Premier Paul Lucas said.
While the State Government welcomes Mr Xenophon's support of the flood funding package in the Commonwealth Parliament, it will come at a huge cost.
"We are yet to fully analyse the deal between the Federal Government and Nick Xenophon, but at first glance it will come as a major kick in the guts to the taxpayers and ratepayers of Queensland, and a major win to overseas insurance companies," Mr Lucas said.
"Make no mistake, insurance of this type - if you can get it - is not delivered by local insurers over the counter. It is delivered by international insurance conglomerates that do it to make a profit.
"Let's be perfectly clear - this doesn't just mean the State will now have to pay massive premiums to overseas insurance companies, but local councils will too.
"Some council areas - like Dalby, Emerald and Gympie - flood so regularly that the premiums for their ratepayers will be astronomical.
"If some of our smallest councils, who are so often the hardest hit, can't afford it, does that mean the Federal Government won't support them in the case of a future natural disaster?
"The Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements (NDRRA), of which every state and territory is a signatory, have been good enough for both sides of politics for the last 30 years.
"The Federal Government itself doesn't have natural disaster reinsurance, a decision made by the Howard Government. Will they now have to seek reinsurance, along with all the states, territories and local councils?
"Overseas reinsurance companies would be licking their lips.
"The taxpayers and ratepayers of Queensland shouldn't lose out just to satisfy Nick Xenophon in his dying days of national relevance."