20 Mar 2006. Cyclone Larry devastates Innisfail - the roofless house of Bruce Crausav 
picBrian/Cassey - NOT for /NEWSPIX weather qld storms damage aerials missing roof
20 Mar 2006. Cyclone Larry devastates Innisfail - the roofless house of Bruce Crausav picBrian/Cassey - NOT for /NEWSPIX weather qld storms damage aerials missing roof

Time to stop expecting hand-outs when things go wrong

THE government should do something about it. It really should.

Do something about what? It doesn't matter. If there's a problem, the government should do something about it.

This is now the default setting ingrained in the Australian psyche.

A nation that was once can-do has become can't-do.

Suncorp boss Steve Johnston has joined the chorus chanting for the government to do something with a call for a federally funded program to counter the effects of bad weather.

"The irony is you can get a subsidy to put a solar panel on your roof but you can't get a subsidy to batten that roof down to protect it against a category four or category five cyclone," Mr Johnston told

"There's a group of people that in good faith have built homes and are now living in areas where we've put them in harm's way.

"Planning laws have put them in harm's way and it's absolutely the time now to focus on a program to improve that."

A roof wrapped around a bus shelter at Kurramine Beach after Cyclone Yasi. Picture: Peter Wallis
A roof wrapped around a bus shelter at Kurramine Beach after Cyclone Yasi. Picture: Peter Wallis

The answer, it seems, is for the government to pay people living in the tropics where cyclones are a fact of life to make sure their roofs don't blow away in a storm.

There should never have been a subsidy to install solar panels.

You want them, then go out and buy them.

Don't expect the taxpayer living next door, who doesn't want them, to subsidise you.

No one put people living in cyclone prone areas in harm's way.

They did it themselves. They elected to lived there.

Common sense would dictate that if you choose to live in Innisfail, you do whatever you can to make sure your roof doesn't end up in New Zealand when the wind starts blowing.

Tighten planning laws, but don't expect the taxpayer to pick up the tab.

The current health crisis in China is affecting the tourism industry so the demands for the government to do something have begun to mount.

In business there are good times and bad times.

When everyone is making plenty of money, no one says to the government: "We've had a really good year so we'd like to make a donation to Treasury" but when times are tough, the cry rings out: 'The government has to do something'."

When the fruit is ripe and the fields are green, everyone is happy but when it doesn't rain then it's the government that should do something.

I have nothing but respect for people who work the land and make a living in the tourism and hospitality industries but it's their choice to do so and in so choosing, they accept the risks that accompany it.

An Innisfail home without a roof following Cyclone Larry. Picture: Brian Cassey
An Innisfail home without a roof following Cyclone Larry. Picture: Brian Cassey

When Uber burst on the scene, the taxi industry demanded and received government compensation for the resultant fall in the value of their licences.

Why? People who paid high prices for licences in the belief that they would go higher made a bad business decision.

That's tough but it wasn't the government's fault.

Insurance companies like Suncorp are quick to complain when their profits are eroded by people spoiling everything by actually making claims on their policies.

When this occurs, they mutter darkly that some people and areas are at risk of becoming uninsurable.

If they can't make a profit without the government indirectly subsidising them, maybe they're in the wrong game.