Katter's fight to save country shows

Public liability insurance crisis impacts country shows

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Katter's Australian Party MP Robbie Katter, Jamie Pickett from the Showmen's Guild and Katter's Australian Party MP Nick Dametto at the Townsville Show.

Katter's Australian Party MP Robbie Katter, Jamie Pickett from the Showmen's Guild and Katter's Australian Party MP Nick Dametto at the Townsville Show.

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Katter's Australian Party warns public liability insurance crisis will cripple country shows.

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Katter's Australian Party warns the death of the beloved 'country show' will be imminent without immediate changes to Queensland's public liability insurance sector.

Speaking at the Townsville Show last Friday alongside members of the Showmen's Guild of Australasia, KAP leader and member for Traeger, Robbie Katter spoke out about Australia's current public liability insurance crisis and the impact it is having on amusement operators and recreational businesses across the country.

Mr Katter called for a parliamentary inquiry into the public liability insurance sector, and claimed the sector was at risk of approaching market failure.

Calling for immediate intervention by state and federal governments, he said the sector needed a sustainable solution to the matter.

"We have known for some time that the public liability insurance sector in Australia was becoming a basket case, but this issue has truly reached breaking point now," said Mr Katter.

"Show societies themselves are facing some difficultly in accessing insurance, and when they do, the trade-off is exorbitant premium rises, which I understand in Queensland were more than 7.5 per cent in the last financial year.

"However, it's our amusement and recreational operators who are the most at risk - from our discussions with the industry, most don't expect to operate after about October this year.

"They simply cannot find anyone to insure them and legislation dictates that they cannot operate without it."

Leann Allan, treasurer of the Showmen's Guild of Australasia said it was a real crisis for the industry, with more operators losing their insurance every week.

"There are just no insurers in the market that are willing to cover up to the $20 million level that is required by the capital shows," she said.

Ms Allen said if things don't change soon there won't be any rides at shows in Queensland from February next year.

"It's terriifiying; our multi-million dollar rides will just become scrap metal.

"I would like to see consideration given for the level of cover to be dropped from $20 million to the $5 million that is available from insurers."

While the rides are not the sole attraction at the country show, Katter's Australia Party MP Nick Dametto said the event would not be sustainable without amusement attractions drawing people through the gates.

"Our shows just won't survive without the show runners," he said."

"The most difficult part of this problem is that most of these operators who are being forced out of business have rarely, if ever, had to make a public liability insurance claim.

"They have paid their levies each year, run their businesses safely and successfully, and they are still going to be punished."

Various ideas were floated by Mr Katter to resolve the issue long term, however in short term he said the Palaszczuk government could halve the amount of public liability insurance required for amusement operators, reducing it to $10 million, which would bring it in line with most other states.

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