Communities in regional Victoria are still reeling from the floods which inundated their homes and businesses.
Towns worked tirelessly to sandbag as the water levels rose and took with them homes, livelihoods and businesses on which their communities relied.
But now – months after the water has receded – for communities which have begun the recovery process, too many are facing a new battle.
Ask anyone who has been dealing with their insurance company in the past few months and you’ll get a variation of the same story – everyone’s premiums are on the rise.
Depending on the insurer and location of the property, this increase is anywhere from $1000 to as much as a whopping $10,000 annually.
In places hit hard in the 2011 ‘once in a lifetime’ floods, some businesses were forced to self-insure as post-deluge premiums had skyrocketed to $100,000 a year – or more.
One business owner I spoke to had accrued almost $1 million in savings, but when the experts got their peak predictions wrong for 2022 – their second ‘once in a lifetime’ flood in 11 years – the damage bill more than doubled the savings and once again the business was devastated.
Families who were already struggling to keep up with bills have lost their homes and now are faced with the decision to live in an uninsured home or find room in their budget for rising premiums.
It’s twofold when you consider the rising cost of living, with higher insurance premiums eating further into the weekly budget of many regional Victorians.
In some of our smaller towns, such as Rochester for example, many people driven out by the floods have still not come home, and the impact of their absence on the local economy could become crippling.
Victorians urgently need financial relief.
We have seen gas and electricity prices continue to climb – some gas bills by as much as 21.4 per cent for households after a wholesale price increase.
And the Andrews Labor Government’s attempt to revive the SEC looks to do little to drive down prices for consumers and threatens our electricity grid’s reliability.
It’s a perfect storm, and one our country communities shouldn’t have to weather after the storms through which they have just come.
Leader of The Nationals
Member for Murray Plains