Royal Commission proposed into “Black Summer” bushfires

Prime Minister, Scott Morrison has written to the Premiers and Chief Minister to seek their feedback on the draft terms of reference for a Royal Commission.

He said, “We owe it to those we have lost, we owe it to those who have fought these fires, we owe it to our children and to the land itself to learn from the lessons that are necessary.”

NIBA CEO Dallas Booth has said, “We have all witnessed the horror that were this summer’s bushfires and are keen to know more about this proposed Royal Commission. We are waiting to see the terms of reference and how they might apply to the insurance industry.”

“There is real concern in the community about the level of under insurance and non-insurance. This is being talked about on the TV news most nights.  It will be critically important for the Royal Commission to examine the impact of taxes and charges on insurance premiums, and the extent to which these taxes and charges are adding to the affordability problems of insurance cover” Booth said.

“The 2009 Victorian Bushfires Royal Commission called for the abolition of the fire services levy in that State, and to their credit the Victorian Government did just that. The Emergency Services Levy in NSW is a major burden being carried by policyholders, while all property owners benefit from the wonderful commitment and dedication of the emergency services workers. NSW must follow Victoria and make these long overdue reforms.”

The Prime Minister has indicated that the Royal Commission will be led by former Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin AC, and it will shine a light on what needs to be done to make our country safer and our communities more resilient.

“Following a natural disaster of this magnitude, we must also heed the lessons,” Morrison added.

“These fires have been fueled by one of the worst droughts on record, changing in our climate and a build up in fuel amongst other factors.

“Our summers are getting longer, drier and hotter, that’s what climate change does, and that requires a new responsiveness, resilience and a re-invigorated focus on adaptation.”