Religious groups had expressed concern over the initial bill, which proposed insuring public places in the event of terrorist attacks but did not mention places of worship.
That meant they were forced to seek insurance outside Australia and pay excessive premiums.
Steven Rothman of the New South Wales Jewish Board of Deputies says, although the new bill does not completely close the gap in the insurance marketplace, it does help.
“The Terrorism Insurance Act is a very positive step by the Commonwealth Government to overcome some of the worst of the lack of insurance cover for acts of terrorism for communal organisations and, in my case, for the institutions in the Jewish community. Its effect is to render void any exclusions for acts of terrorism and works now on communal organisations as well as what was originally intended, which was commercial institutions. For that, in my view, the Commonwealth Government should be congratulated, as should the Opposition, who agreed to it.”
The terrorism-insurance bill means, in the event of a terrorist attack, the Commonwealth will act as a guarantor of last resort for up to $10.3 billion.
A spokesman for the Lebanese Muslim Association, Keysar Trad, says the legislation still needs to be tested but is a step in the right direction.
“These places of worship offer an invaluable service to the community, regardless of the faith that they serve, and it would be a disaster if there were insurance claims on these places that they cannot meet. To my knowledge, every mosque in Australia has had to shop overseas for insurance cover, because it’s just not available locally.”