Wednesday, 24 April 2024

Shadow Minister for Northern Australia, Senator Susan McDonald has slammed an announcement by Federal and State Labor of a $40 million household cyclone resilience grants package for North Queensland, saying the State Government should increase the funding to the full amount North Queenslanders pay in Stamp Duty on insurance policies and relax income eligibility rules to give genuine relief from soaring insurance costs.

Senator McDonald pointed to a 2020 ACCC inquiry into North Queensland insurance that showed the State Government reaped nearly $65 million in insurance premium Stamp Duty from the region’s home and business owners in 2018-19.

It then contributed just $10 million to household resilience.

“With inflation, population growth and premium rises, it’s likely the Labor State Government is today ripping far more than $65 million from North Queenslanders’ pockets,” she said.

“Now Labor has relaunched the fund and are claiming to be saviours when the $20 million state contribution is a pittance compared to the Stamp Duty North Queenslanders pay.

“Furthermore, income eligibility requirements mean only between 60% and 70% of Cairns and Townsville region individuals and households qualify. (2021 ABS statistics via .idCommunity demographic consultants; households with 2 adults, 2 children)

“Grant recipients can only receive a maximum of $15,000 and must make a 20% co-contribution.

“No matter how Labor tries to spin this announcement, they are using North Queenslanders as a cash cow adding 9% to premiums and making insurance unaffordable for many.

“If you’re a business, banks won’t lend to you unless you’re insured but the silence from Brisbane and the State Labor MPs in Townsville, Mackay and Cairns on this issue has been deafening.

“I urge Labor to show some meaningful action and reimburse the North the full Stamp Duty charges and relax the eligibility requirements.

“Townsville’s, Mackay’s and Cairns’ Labor MPs should be fighting for the full amount and not just accept the crumbs from the Premier’s table.”