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Maryborough clean-up begins as Suncorp calls for big tax overhaul

Business

Suncorp has backed Labor’s $200 million disaster mitigation plans, but also urged a major overhaul of the tax system as parts of Queensland start another disaster clean up.

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Suncorp is now dealing with the flooding impacts in Maryborough and it has previously estimated that natural hazard payouts for the financial year were likely to top $1 billion.

Chief executive Steve Johnston has also called for an overhaul of Australia’s tax system to improve affordability of insurance, particularly in high-risk areas.

He said the issue was costing Australians billions of dollars every year.

“In my view, given the ballooning state and federal debt levels and structure of the system, we need comprehensive tax reform,” Johnston said. 

Opposition leader Anthony Albanese has promised to overhaul the $4.7 billion emergency response fund and allocate $200 million a year to disaster prevention and resilience.

The issue of mitigation has been pushed by Suncorp for several years and Johnston recently said a base insurance premium had up to 45 per cent of its costs in taxes and charges.

Suncorp also recently increased its insurance premiums by more than 6 per cent because of increased natural hazards.

Johnston said Labor’s commitment and recent Budget funding proposed by the Federal Government meant the issue of disaster resilience would feature prominently in the upcoming federal election.

“We welcome this commitment to invest in infrastructure, such as flood levees, to make communities more resilient to extreme weather events,” Johnston said.

“More funding for disaster readiness is vital and must focus on communities where there is high risk of extreme weather and low levels of financial and physical resilience. 

“Effective investment that reduces the impact of extreme weather will result in safer communities, stronger economies, and will reduce cost of living pressures through lower insurance premiums.” 

While welcoming Labor’s announcement, Johnston repeated calls for comprehensive tax reform to help ease affordability pressures in high-risk regions.  

“Inefficient taxes and levies built into insurance premiums are contributing to affordability issues and costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year. Of course, reform of taxes and charges as they relate to insurance products cannot be separated easily from the broader reform of taxes. 

Johnston said the commitment and recent budget funding proposed by the Federal Government meant the issue of disaster resilience would feature prominently in the upcoming federal election.

“We welcome this commitment to invest in infrastructure, such as flood levees, to make communities more resilient to extreme weather events,” Johnston said.

“More funding for disaster readiness is vital and must focus on communities where there is high risk of extreme weather and low levels of financial and physical resilience. 

“Effective investment that reduces the impact of extreme weather will result in safer communities, stronger economies, and will reduce cost of living pressures through lower insurance premiums.” 

Suncorp would welcome the opportunity to work with all levels of government and stakeholders to help prioritise projects to communities most in need. 

Johnston said there needed to be comprehensive tax reform to help ease affordability pressures in high-risk regions.  

“Inefficient taxes and levies built into insurance premiums are contributing to affordability issues and costing taxpayers billions of dollars every year. 

Of course, reform of taxes and charges as they relate to insurance products cannot be separated easily from the broader reform of taxes. 

“In my view, given the ballooning state and federal debt levels and structure of the system, we need comprehensive tax reform.” 

 

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