Premier Campbell Newman’s recognition that high insurance premiums are stifling growth in the north of the state are an admission that his government was wrong to hike up the insurance levy in the last budget, says Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt.
“The cost of insurance is hurting everyone in Queensland, but it is being felt far more keenly in the north and far north and the areas that were worst affected by the most recent flooding,” said Mr Pitt.
“Treasurer Tim Nicholls inflicted more pain when he raised the tax on insurance to grab an additional $990 million in this year’s budget.
“Now, at last, the Premier seems to be hearing the cries for help and should be asking his Treasurer why he didn’t recognise the harm this tax grab would cause.
“I would also like to know what the LNP’s northern MPs were doing when the tax increase was being considered. Either they didn’t make a persuasive argument on behalf of their electorates or they were ignored.
“It’s a bit late now to be considering how to solve a problem of their own making.”
Mr Pitt said the Newman Government had admitted during Parliamentary Estimates hearings that no analysis on premium affordability was undertaken prior to the tax increase.
“The Treasurer just didn’t consider the damage he would do to the people of northern Queensland,” he said.
“The hike in the levy from 7.5% to 9% has added more than $110 a year to average family insurance costs, but in those areas most severely affected by natural disasters the rise is up to $215 a year.
“We can have no confidence in the Treasurer. He should have understood his decision would have a devastating impact on the victims of flooding and taken action to help rather than hinder.”