Evidence to a Senate committee has shown that the Morrison Government’s failure to act on climate change will cost Australians more, with the growing number of natural disasters to push up the cost of insurance.
In evidence given to the Senate Inquiry into Lessons from the 2019-20 Bushfire Season on Friday, Australia’s largest insurers have confirmed that insurance premiums will rise for all Australians if nothing is done to counter climate change.
Evidence showed that those still recovering from natural disasters will be the worst hit.
Representatives from Insurance Australia Group (IAG), Suncorp, QBE and Allianz, as well as the Insurance Council of Australia, described the financial fallout from last summer as “the worst in memory”.
IAG’s Executive Manager for Natural Perils Mark Leplastrier told the Inquiry insurance premiums will rise if nothing is done on climate change:
“The climate risk is absolutely a factor, we have to understand and set risk models and premiums to reflect our current climate. We’re in the midst of a very rapidly changing climate so we’re always reassessing that information to make sure the way we set our premiums does reflect current climate risk…in all circumstances, across most perils (the modelling showed) we’re going to see increasing risk if we do nothing around trying to mitigate that…or put downward pressure, I suppose, on carbon emissions that are causing climate change.”
Yet despite some Australians being priced-out of insurance in disaster-prone regions, the Morrison Government has failed to use funds set aside to prevent costly disasters.
The Emergency Response Fund (ERF) was established with Labor’s support last year, providing $150 million a year to aid disaster recovery from bushfires, floods and tropical cyclones, and another $50 million a year for ongoing mitigation works.
The funding could have been used for fire breaks, evacuation centres, flood levees, cyclone shelters and other infrastructure that would reduce the impact of future disasters.
But the Morrison Government allowed last year’s funding to lapse on June 30, without funding any projects or even consulting the states on priority projects.
Scott Morrison turned his back on bushfire victims during the fires.
Now, when given the chance to act and prepare in the cooler months, he turns his back on disaster-prone regions once again.
We have seen the Federal Government listen to the science on Coronavirus. We must now see them listen to the science on climate.