Wednesday, 9 December 2020
Statements by Members
Eden-Monaro Electorate: Small Business Insurance
I rise today to draw further attention to the issue that is affecting many small businesses across Eden-Monaro. Businesses are desperately trying to renew their insurance policies in the wake of the Black Summer bushfires, but they're finding that either they're being rejected or they're being asked to pay unaffordable premiums. As the Australian Small Business and Family Enterprise Ombudsman, Kate Carnell, put it this morning, there is 'widespread market failure in regard to the availability and affordability of essential small business insurance products'. Our friends in northern Australia have been flagging this for some time. Increasing cyclones and floods as a result of climate change have already made insurance an unaffordable luxury.
Since 2017, the ACCC has been investigating the issue, and I understand that its final report is currently with the Treasurer. My community simply can't afford to wait any longer. Insurance underpins the jobs we need for our renewal following drought, bushfires, floods and COVID-19. The market and the environment have been ringing the alarm bell for years. The canary in the coalmine died long ago and is now festering on the doorsteps of households right across Eden-Monaro. This government needs to work with the insurance sector so that everyday Australians aren't left exposed. Insurance saved the day for many people after they lost everything in the flames of last summer. We will compound the trauma and expose government finances further if we don't fix this now.