The Insurance Council of Australia (ICA) today revealed a top-20 list of federal electorates most prone to flood risk as part of a renewed push for increased government funding of mitigation programs.
Queensland has 16 of the districts that have experienced catastrophic flooding and also cyclones in the past decade. The other four hotspots are in NSW, which is holding its state elections on Saturday.
The seat of Herbert in Queensland, which includes Townsville, topped the list with 55,460 land parcels seen as vulnerable to frequent and severe flooding.
All but one of the 10 electorates most at risk from flood are in Queensland.
Townsville is the ground zero of last month’s once-in-a-century floods, which have so far run up insured losses of $1.04 billion from 25,664 claims.
“Insurers are painfully aware that Queensland experiences more natural disasters than other states, but we were shocked that more than half of its electorates are so exposed to flood,” ICA GM Risk and Disaster Planning Karl Sullivan said.
“Flood risk is one key reason why many householders and businesses in these electorates may pay high insurance premiums.”
With a federal election expected in May, the release of the flood-risk list is a none-too-subtle attempt by the council to step up the pressure on politicians to do something about mitigation.
“The implementation of flood mitigation measures has been an ongoing call by the ICA,” ICA spokesman Campbell Fuller said today. “Now is a good time to gather momentum for mitigation measures while the Townsville monsoonal event is top of mind and the federal election is imminent.”
Over the past decade the council has warned state and federal governments that mitigation inaction results in higher premiums. This is already in evidence in northern Australia, where calls for more government support have prompted a lot of studies and reviews but little solid action.
“There has been a great deal of dialogue on this matter, including the creation of resilience task forces and various forums to develop strategy,” Mr Sullivan says in a LinkedIn post.
“Perhaps it’s time to just commit to solving the problem and provide a sensible level of funding to local governments so they can implement the solutions they already understand and in many cases have been advocating for.”
ICA will hold its second forum in Townsville next Monday for insurance customers in need of guidance with their flood claims.
To register, visit www.disasters.org.au or call 1800 734 621.
The top 20 flood-risk electorates (by the number of land parcels exposed) are:
1. Herbert (Queensland) 55,460
2. Kennedy (Queensland) 35,284
3. Maranoa (Queensland) 31,452
4. Blair (Queensland) 27,310
5. Flynn (Queensland) 26,560
6. Page (NSW) 26,067
7. Fadden (Queensland) 25,881
8. Leichardt (Queensland) 25,424
9. Griffith (Queensland) 24,988
10. Moreton (Queensland) 24,940
11. Brisbane (Queensland) 24,603
12. Oxley (Queensland) 22,469
13. Moncrief (Queensland) 21,592
14. Dawson (Queensland) 21,392
15. Newcastle (NSW) 20,078
16. McPherson (Queensland) 19,205
17. Ryan (Queensland) 17,861
18. Wide Bay (Queensland) 17,142
19. Lyne (NSW) 16,041
20. Dobell (NSW) 15,857