The Insurance Council of Australia and the Master Builders Association have joined forces to develop proposals that will help strengthen homes and communities against natural disasters.
The two industry groups will host a series of roundtable discussions, in order to create a pathway towards national policies that improve property resilience, building standards and land use planning. The move was made after recognising the key findings from the Royal Commission into National Natural Disaster Arrangements.
The Building Stronger Homes Roundtable aims to enable builders and insurers to work together, harnessing industry insights from both insurance data and builders' experience, to help map actions that can improve the resilience and insurability of existing and future Australian homes.
The Royal Commission's final report calls for mitigation and resilience, better building standards and land use planning in protecting properties and communities from natural disasters.
It recommends the establishment of a national body to make Australia more resilient to natural disasters, focusing on reducing long-term disaster risk and harmonising approaches. It also recommends mandatory consideration of natural disaster risk in land-use planning decisions and stronger building standards.
Master Builders CEO Denita Wawn says, "The building and insurance sectors are committed to exploring practical and effective ways to deliver better building quality outcomes that enable industry to deliver more resilient buildings and give consumers confidence.
"This includes keeping premiums at a sustainable and affordable level for consumers and the building and construction supply chain."
Insurance Council of Australia CEO, Andrew Hall, says, "Australians' homes are their greatest financial asset. The Royal Commission has identified clear priorities that can reduce the risks to homes. Whatever efforts we can take to reduce vulnerability and reduce the risk of loss must be a priority for industry and Australian governments."
The first roundtable will be convened in Canberra on Thursday 26 November, attended by senior industry and government leaders. Experts in science, banking and finance, behavioural and market economics will also be invited to participate in the roundtables.
The joint mitigation and resilience roundtables will explore key priorities for ensuring Australian residences are resilient, secure and insurable in the long term. They will focus on:
- the built environment and codes
- the importance and structure of land use planning
- current and potential mitigation and hazard reduction investment priorities, and
- the importance of information systems, data, and coordination.
A final report from the roundtables will be presented at the conclusion by mid-2021.