When it comes to extreme weather events in Queensland, it’s not a matter of if but when. With more than 100 bushfires still burning after a week-long heatwave, ex-Tropical Cyclone Owen lingering off the coast and a protracted drought continuing across the state, farmers can never be too prepared. QFF’s Farmer Disaster Support website – a one stop shop of all industry-specific local, state, federal and not-for-profit assistance available – is a useful tool.
The current fires add another management layer for the many farmers that are affected. Looking at the sugar industry, an estimated 800 hectares of crops have been burned in the Pioneer Valley, Blue Mountain, Carmila and Sarina areas. As these cane farmers look towards recovery and rebuilding, they can rely on fire insurance they have through their membership of QFF industry member Canegrowers to assist.
With climate projections suggesting more frequent extreme weather events, farmers are looking to better understand, develop and adopt risk management strategies to manage uncertainty, spread risk and maintain business viability. Insurance has an important role to play, but there is work to do to develop Queensland’s immature market and provide more affordable insurance options for farmers. The additional and unnecessary cost of stamp duty continues to limit the uptake of insurance within the sector and therefore the availability of the products on the market.
The QFF insurance team is also working with Canegrowers to investigate the use of discretionary mutual funds (DMF) to pool risk, reduce the cost of parametric cyclone insurance and provide farmers with a long-term industry owed tool for managing risk. If successful, the DMF model could potentially be applied across other industries and help increase insurance uptake across Queensland agriculture.
QFF and industry members continue to support and admire the resilience and character of those on the land. Farmers in the fire areas are working day and night to save what they can and prevent things getting worse. We also thank the many volunteers for their tireless efforts and the compassion and donations of others.