02 Aug CHEERS TO MODERATOR FOR “PUB” WITH NO INSURANCE
I’ve heard calls from rural Queensland publicans for government intervention to buffer soaring insurance costs topping $65,000 per year and am proposing to introduce a market moderator.
In response to revelations that outback pubs including newly renovated and reopened Kajabbi’s Kalkadoon Hotel and Dajarra Hotel were facing exorbitant insurance costs blamed on location and materials, I reckon a moderator would be a good start.
Outback pubs play a far more vital role than the standard city pub. This is a market failure, and the system couldn’t give a stuff about issues like this.
The proposed moderator would take the form of a discretionary mutual fund – a member-funded, self-insurance vehicle that managed claims and lifted risk management standards to try to minimise claims.
Jeff Bambrick from the Kalkadoon Hotel was forced to insure his pub through an overseas company and said he hoped someone could do something as outback publicans were fighting a losing battle.
“I contacted, through a broker, three insurance companies in Australia and they just said because it’s a remote outback wooden pub, they just refused,” he said.
“It didn’t matter what I did – I could jump over the moon – they just wouldn’t insure it.”
Richard “Rhino” Ryan from the Dajarra Hotel told media his insurance costs for the 84-year-old timber building had more than doubled over the past three years to $65,000.
He was forced to close his pub at the height of the COVID pandemic, then had to keep it closed for two months while public liability insurance was unavailable to him.
“I think somebody needs to intervene,” he told my office.
“We have brand-new dongas built to Australian standards, and the insurance company said no, that they’re too flammable … we built them to standard but insurance companies refuse to insure.”
The bush continues to be grossly and unfairly disadvantaged, and I’ll persist in representing the interests of publicans in rural, regional and remote communities.
In 2019, the KAP passed a private member’s bill that slashed annual licence fees for 112 very remote Queensland pubs, then defended outback pubs and clubs against fines from COVID social distancing breaches and “one size fits all” mandates.
These pubs are often a lifeline for the communities they serve, and letting them die would have disastrous social and economic ramifications.
In progressing the insurance issue, I’m considering stakeholder engagement with the Queensland Hotels Association and a potential request for a Queensland Parliamentary Inquiry.
I invite other publicans having similar issues to write into my office to help bring the broader issue to the attention of the State and Federal Governments.
Email [email protected] to get in touch.
Check out ABC North West Queensland‘s coverage of this story at the link below