Assistant Treasurer Peter Dutton (see PEOPLE) says the states and territories need to be continually reminded about the HIH Royal Commission’s recommendation for the abolition of state-based insurance taxes.

Opening the ICA conference at Parliament House in Canberra, he said the Federal Government "has asked, and our request remains valid, that the state and territory governments remove stamp duties and fire services levies on insurance products".

"I am sure these taxes prevent some families and businesses from taking out appropriate insurance cover and, in some cases, any cover at all," he told the audience of industry leaders and Federal bureaucrats. "Stamp duties and fire levies add 40% to 65% to the cost of business premiums in NSW and Victoria. This is 30-50% more than in the other states."

Mr Dutton says state and territory governments raised about $3.6 billion from insurance taxes in 2005/06, an increase of 50% on the amount raised in 2000/01.

"This increase is happening at the same time that the states are benefiting from increasing and massive GST revenue."

Although Mr Dutton says he will do what he can on the issue, he believes ICA must re-commit itself to the campaign to lobby against insurance taxes.