12 January 2016 - Today’s announcement that some Territory residents could face insurance premium hikes of up to $10,000 is a complete betrayal of guarantees given by Adam Giles at the time he announced the sale of the TIO, Deputy Opposition Leader, Lynne Walker said.
“Adam Giles ignored overwhelming calls from Territorians not to sell TIO. As a result of his arrogance, Territorians are now facing significant insurance premium increases,” Ms Walker said.
According to Darryl Madden, Chief Executive Officer of TIO, some people in Katherine could be receiving bills in excess of $10,000 to insure against flood damage.
Reporter: Is it likely that some people in Katherine will face annual bills of more than $10,000 from TIO?
Madden: There may be a couple.
Darryl Madden, ABC Radio, 12 January 2016
Mr Madden also said today that a large portion of current TIO customers were facing an increase of more than $500.
“About 15% of our customers we believe are going to be impacted by more than $500.”
At the time of the TIO sale Adam Giles told local media that Allianz had told the Government it would not increase premium prices:
Allianz would not change premium prices because they had purchased the "goodwill" of the business, and changing prices would mean "the loss of a fantastic business.”
"The guarantee is they said they're going to do that," he said.
Adam Giles, ABC News, 25 November 2014
“These giant price hikes again show Territorians just can’t trust an arrogant Chief Minister and the dysfunctional CLP,” Ms Walker said.
Media contact: Gino Luglietti – 0401 119 794
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, today condemned the CLP for moving to introduce legislation that will allow for the sale of our Port the day after it sold TIO amid community outrage.
“Arrogant Adam Giles is showing utter contempt for Territorians who are fighting his public assets sales agenda – first he sells our TIO and now he moves to sell our Port,” Ms Fyles said.
“The sale of TIO will hurt many Territorians living in flood, storm surge and cyclone zones now left to the whim of a private insurer Allianz instead of the safety net of our public insurer.
“The sale was a con. Adam Giles promised TIO would stay Territorian – it’s now German. Adam Giles promised TIO guarantees – yet no legal guarantees on insurance premium prices or coverage exist. Adam Giles promised it would reap a 15 per cent recycling payment from the Commonwealth yet that doesn’t exist. Adam Giles failed to listen to Territorians who overwhelmingly wanted to save our TIO and crashed through with the sale.”
Ms Fyles said that serious questions on the sale still remain.
“We suspect it was no coincidence that on the same day Adam Giles is forcing through the sale of TIO he distributes a Ministerial Statement outlining cuts to the Workers Compensation Scheme which would see injured workers’ benefits reduced that make the insurer more profitable,” Ms Fyles said.
“Adam Giles refused to answer my question today: Did Allianz know about the proposed Workers Compensation changes prior to the TIO sale?”
Ms Fyles said that the CLP are showing utter contempt to Territorians by now pushing ahead with plans to sell our Port.
“Labor worked hard to make the port profitable. The oil and gas boom is just now delivering results and is beginning to deliver a great income stream for our kids’ future, if we can keep it in public ownership,” Ms Fyles said.
“Our Port is worth much, much more to us over the long-term rather than a one-off sale.
“Selling the Port – whether it’s a sale or a sneaky 99 year lease which is a sale by another name – will bring commercial rates for freight that will drive up the cost of living for consumers and businesses.
“What’s next? Do Territorians have to nail down everything we own to stop him selling off our Territory?
“Territorians will have to keep up the fight to keep our valuable public assets ours.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
The Shadow Attorney General, Natasha Fyles, today called on the CLP Government to come clean and explain whether it has discussed moves to cut workers compensation entitlements with its new MAC administrator Allianz.
Ms Fyles said that the CLP circulated a Statement on Workers Compensation today - on the same day it moved to rush through the sale of TIO.
“Is it a coincidence that the changes - which will benefit Allianz who are already a major worker’s compensation player in the Territory - are being tabled today?” Ms Fyles asked.
“Will the government come clean about what discussions were held with Allianz about these changes in the negotiations to sell TIO?
“Once Allianz acquired TIO, it will dominate the worker’s compensation insurance business in the Territory.
“Actuaries valuing TIO for Allianz will no doubt have placed a value on the future liabilities of worker’s compensation as part of their due diligence.
“These legislative changes proposed by the Chief Minister today will greatly affect that liability. Were Allianz given a private briefing on these amendments?”
Ms Fyles said that the Chief Minister’s statement about the changes is very short on detail.
“Everybody knows the devil is always in the detail in these matters. But we are concerned that the changes will allow insurers to throw people off worker’s compensation with an inadequate lump-sum payment after only two years,” Ms Fyles said.
Ms Fyles said that she is concerned that the timeframe isn’t long enough for a proper medical assessment of how much longer treatment will need to continue to ensure that injured workers are able to return to work.
“The Government itself says that 66 percent of claims involve less than 1 week off work. Of the remaining claims 56 percent will be back at work in less than 6 weeks and less than 5 percent of claims extend beyond 52 weeks.
“We are looking at a very small number of claimants who require workers compensation beyond 2 years. But for them and their families, the weekly payments and medical and treatment costs are critical.”
Ms Fyles welcomed the Government’s response to repeated Labor calls for appropriate workers compensation for firefighters who contract cancer due to their work but reiterated a call for a fairer retrospectivity to cover existing firies affected and queried a cut-off date.
“We desperately need a fair workers compensation system for our firefighters and the CLP are still dragging their heels and failing to adequately cover our firies’ needs.”
Leader of the Opposition Delia Lawrie today joined hundreds of Territorians in the toot to save TIO car rally that circled Parliament House.
Ms Lawrie said while Labor fought the sale efforts of the CLP Government in Parliament, Territorians continue to bombard social media with their disgust and anger over the TIO sale.
“Adam Giles is being described by many as arrogant and Territorians are asking if they can sell the CLP,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The community anger over the CLP betrayal of Territorians is very strong and yet the CLP continue their arrogant crash through approach to sell TIO.
“We’ve been presented with news of the sale yesterday and legislation to give effect to the sale is expected to pass on all stages today instead of the usual month timeframe to consider its implications and consult.
“This is an extraordinarily arrogant Government who show utter contempt for the will of the people – they are failing the most basic test of democracy.”
Ms Lawrie said that the community were furious that many commitments made by Adam Giles over the sale had been broken.
“Our TIO safety net insurer is being sold to a German company – it’s not remaining Territorian as promised,” Ms Lawrie said.
“There are no legal guarantees to secure our ongoing insurance product needs to cover flood, storm surge and cyclone, instead Adam Giles is expecting to Territorians to trust his ‘good will’ discussions behind closed doors.
“Bitter experience elsewhere has shown private market insurance failure and Territorians face the very real prospect of massive insurance premium hikes in vulnerable areas where we need affordable insurance the most.
“The actions of the CLP to ram through sale legislation on urgency today are unconscionable and against the will of Territorians.
“Labor will fight the sale of TIO every step of the way through Parliament but sadly there is yet to be a CLP member to cross the floor to prevent the sale.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today slammed the CLP for its betrayal of Territorians in deciding to sell TIO without a mandate and against overwhelming public calls to keep our insurance safety net.
Ms Lawrie said that the decision to sell TIO to German insurer Allianz and the banking arm to People’s Choice shows the CLP has utter contempt for Territorians.
“Our unelected Chief Minister, Adam Giles, clearly doesn’t care about representing Territorians who overwhelmingly are strongly opposed to the sale of TIO,” Ms Lawrie said.
“This is a sale motivated by greed, with the CLP desperate for a quick cash-grab to splash $150 million prior to the next general election.
“The CLP have torn up democracy to pursue profits before people. They have no mandate to sell TIO and are ignoring the impact it will have on families and businesses across the Northern Territory.”
Ms Lawrie said that TIO is a profitable business that provides and insurance safety net for families and businesses in high risk areas of flood and storm surge and provides a competitive product which keeps cyclone coverage affordable.
“The Giles spin on selling TIO hasn’t revealed how long sale conditions remain in place to keep the TIO brand, product coverage, jobs and corporate sponsorship in place,” Ms Lawrie said.
“Is it a three-year condition of sale as indicated on 7.30 NT by Deputy Chief Minister Peter Chandler?
“Show us the details of the sale of our TIO Mr Giles.
“How much will Territorians pay Allianz to manage our Motor Accidents Compensation Scheme?
“Why has the CLP ignored thousands of Territorians, the Chamber of Commerce, Motor Vehicle Traders and the Federal Government’s Pivot North report which all were arguments against the sale of TIO?
“Why hasn’t the CLP held forums throughout the Territory and sought a mandate for sale by holding a referendum?
“Territorians are outraged that the CLP Government are pushing ahead with the TIO sale and showing utter contempt for their needs and views.”
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today said Territorians are fed up with Adam Giles’ spin on TIO with him now referring to the sale as “transferring ownership”.
“How can the CLP Government be so arrogant and continue to ignore Territorians who do not want TIO sold?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“No spin by Adam Giles is going to placate Territorians who will face massive hikes in insurance premiums and be left vulnerable if TIO is sold.
“TIO belongs to Territorians not Adam Giles and the CLP Government. The CLP Government does not have a mandate to sell our TIO.
“Adam Giles has arrogantly denied Territorians a say on the future of their insurance asset.
“Adam Giles is willing to risk the insurance safety net for Territorians for the sake of a quick cash-grab to help him pork barrel to the next general election.”
Ms Lawrie said Territorians want to know if the CLP Cabinet pushes ahead with Giles’ plans to sell TIO, what will the process be?
“If the CLP Cabinet decide to sell TIO what steps will be taken in Parliament to give effect to the sale - will there be legislation introduced or will they sell it by regulation?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“If the CLP Government push ahead with the sale, it’s time to come clean with Territorians and explain exactly what the process and timing would be.”
Ms Lawrie called on CLP Government members to represent their constituents and halt sale of TIO.
“Members of the CLP Government should listen to the concerns of their constituents and vote against the sale of TIO at Cabinet,” Ms Lawrie said.
“The CLP have no mandate to sell TIO and if they want to push ahead with a sale take it to a referendum to give Territorians a say on an asset they own.”
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Leader of the Opposition, Delia Lawrie, today called on Adam Giles to explain why he is hiding the real financial position of TIO from Territorians and wasting taxpayer funds on spin.
Ms Lawrie said the 2013/14 TIO Annual Report highlights the Chief Executive and Chairman of the TIO saying its financial position is strong, having delivered a record $10.5 million dividend to government this year.
“Why haven’t the CLP published the report on the TIO website despite it being tabled in the Parliament in October? Is it because they are deliberately hiding the sound financial position of TIO from the public?” Ms Lawrie asked.
“Territorians are sick of Adam Giles’ spin – they want consultation with all the facts, not a glossy, expensive spin campaign.
“While Adam Giles is pushing ahead with his agenda to sell TIO, his colleague Kezia Purick has a petition against the sale and Willem Westra van Holthe and Natasha Griggs are saying they have concerns.
“The cracks are beginning to show in the CLP ranks about the TIO sale and Territorians have just days to send the message direct to the CLP members who will have to vote in Parliament next week if a sale decision passes Cabinet on Friday.
“It is unconscionable for a Government to ignore the needs and wishes of Territorians and I am urging the CLP to reject the sale of TIO.”
Ms Lawrie said the public outpouring of support to save TIO as our insurer safety net was admirable and the CLP would be fools to ignore them.
“Territorians know that we need to maintain public ownership of our insurer to support us through the worst times of a natural disaster – be it cyclone, storm surge destruction or flood,” she said.
“It isn’t guess work, we’ve seen what has happened in Katherine after the floods and in Queensland after the floods and cyclones – private insurers hike up premiums and fail to pay in a timely manner.”
Labor spokesperson, Nicole Manison, today said the Chief Minister should stop ignoring the concerns of Territory residents and businesses with his plans to sell TIO.
“The proposed sale of TIO will have devastating effects across the Territory,” Ms Manison said.
“Adam Giles’ comments about a “small level of community angst” are dismissive of the plight of Territorians living in flood, cyclone and storm surge zones in Katherine, Darwin and Alice Springs.
“The Territory Government has been warned that selling TIO could see a repeat of the insurance crisis in Queensland where homeowners are paying skyrocketing prices to insure their home, if they can even get insurance.
"Coalition MP Warren Entsch and head of the Northern Development Inquiry had recommended expanding TIO, has told the Chief Minister that he is putting the Territory at risk of insurance market failure and price gouging by selling TIO.”
Ms Mansion said Territorians are standing up against the CLP, signing the petition, writing letters to newspapers and emailing CLP members of Government.
"Territorians need to keep the pressure on the government as we are only days away from the CLP making the decision to sell TIO.
“TIO belongs to Territorians, not Adam Giles and the CLP Government, and they have no mandate from voters to sell TIO.
“If Adam Giles genuinely believes that selling TIO is in the best interests of Territorians then he should take the issue to the next Territory election.
“The CLP have not consulted Territorians and it is clear from the Chief Minister’s comments he intends to ram through a sale”
Territorians who want to tell the government not to sell TIO can sign the petition at http://www.change.org/p/northern-territory-government-don-t-sell-tio or contact CLP Members of Parliament.
John.Elferink@nt.gov.au or 8999 6755
Peter.Styles@nt.gov.au or 8999 6781
David.Tollner@nt.gov.au or 8999 6667
Palmerston and Rural:
Peter.Chandler@nt.gov.au or 8999 5587
Lia.Finnocchiaro@nt.gov.au or 8999 5397
Nathan.Barrett@nt.gov.au or 8999 5572
Kezia.Purick@nt.gov.au or 8999 6556
Gary.Higgins@nt.gov.au or 8999 6432
Willem.email@example.com or 8973 8461
Adam.Giles@nt.gov.au or 8951 5463
Matt.Conlan@nt.gov.au or 8951 5531
Robyn.firstname.lastname@example.org or 8951 5588
Territorians have 10 days to let the CLP Government know they don’t want TIO sold and should get on the phones to CLP Members of Parliament and sign the petition to send them a message, Shadow Minister for Government Accountability Natasha Fyles said today.
“Territorians are sending the CLP a clear message - we don’t want TIO sold because it will risk skyrocketing insurance premiums and our no-loophole insurance cover,” Ms Fyles said.
“But Chief Minister Adam Giles is arrogantly not listening to Territorians and the experts who are warning him not to sell.”
“Today Coalition MP Warren Entsch, the head of the Northern Development Inquiry said he’d cautioned Adam Giles about selling off TIO, saying it would lead to higher premiums and reduced insurance coverage.”
Mr Entsch told ABC Radio:
“I was concerned that by selling it we would end up in the same situation we are in the rest of Northern Australia where Government institutions, or institutionalised entities, like the state government insurance office for example in QLD, basically lost any concept of community obligation or community service and we’ve seen an absolute disaster in relation to market failure and what is clearly market gouging.
“Mr Entsch said the Territory was the last place in northern Australia with access to affordable insurance but the CLP and Adam Giles are ignoring this and are prepared to throw away any advantage a publicly owned TIO has in terms of northern development.”
The Queensland Government’s submission to the Inquiry into the Development of Northern Australia stated: "The high cost of insurance premiums are likely to hinder or slow economic development within the Northern Australian region.”
Ms Fyles said Territorians were speaking out against the rushed sale, signing petitions and contacting CLP MLAs to urge them to vote against any TIO sell off.
“Some CLP members may be feeling the heat from their constituents," Ms Fyles said.
“The CLP spin machine will be out in force over the next 10 days trying to hoodwink Territorians into believing selling TIO is the only way forward.”
“This just isn’t true and Territorians won’t be fooled.”
“Territorians are signing petitions against the sale, making sure they have a say in the future of TIO.”
“Territory Labor’s position is clear – we don’t support the sale of the Territory’s public assets and if elected we will review any asset sale undertaken by the CLP."
Territorians can sign the petition at http://www.change.org/p/northern-territory-government-don-t-sell-tio or contact CLP Members of Parliament:
Gary.Higgins@nt.gov.au or 8999 6432
Media contact: Cathryn Tilmouth 0427 500 667
Shadow Minister for Government Accountability, Natasha Fyles, today said Chief Minister, Adam Giles, is arrogantly pushing ahead to sell TIO without a mandate, ignoring Territorian's anger at selling their asset.
Ms Fyles said Adam Giles, on ABC radio this morning, failed to guarantee the Motor Accident Compensation (MAC) Scheme would be administered locally and claimants would not be adversely affected by selling TIO.
“Mr Giles pointed out the sale of compensation schemes interstate which would be alarming to the many MAC clients and he failed to explain to clients what privatising the scheme administration would mean to Territorians.
“Recent TIO activities indicate TIO is actively seeking to close Workers Compensation cases to make TIO look more profitable to potential buyers.
“Local doctors are warning an unusual flurry of settlement offers being made to worker’s compensation clients and programs to assist in reintegrating workers are being abandoned, indicating TIO is actively clearing cases."
Ms Fyles said Territorians on Worker’s Compensation and MAC benefits deserve to know how they will be cared for and whether local claims and case management staff will continue to operate if TIO is sold.
“The Territory Government needs to be open to clients, and should be putting their case management and care first, anything else is unconscionable behaviour," Ms Fyles said.
“TIO made $41 million in MAC scheme payments in 2013/14 and the scheme recorded a 79% solvency the past financial year, well above the target rate of 40 – 45%.
“MAC is a no fault insurance scheme for Territorians killed or injured in road accidents and provides a wide range of benefits to help people recover and support ongoing those who are more severely injured."
Ms Fyles said Adam Giles and the CLP Government are arrogantly ignoring Territorians wishes against the sale of TIO.
“At the public meeting about the sale of TIO last week Richard Harding said 90 per cent of TIO’s business was made up of small Territory businesses,” Ms Fyles said.
“Despite this Adam Giles has not consulted with Territory businesses about their wishes for the future of TIO.
“Greg Bicknell , CEO of the NT Chamber of Commerce told ABC radio “We’ve been conducting a survey of our membership across the Territory and members have come back very strongly opposed to the privatisation.“
Ms Fyles said TIO belongs to Territorians not the CLP Government.
“Adam Giles should take his TIO sale plans to a referendum.”