The Victorian Marine and Coastal Council (VMaCC) and Life Saving Victoria (LSV) have warned that the state is at risk of suffering $442 billion in economic losses from sea level rise and storm surges by the end of the century.
The figure stems from a commissioned report by University of Melbourne researchers who warn that more than 80,000 residential, commercial and industrial properties across the state’s coastline are at risk.
The report, which determines its figures based on current mitigation strategies, says the state’s estimated Total Technical Insurance Premium (TTIP) cost for building damage will increase to $2.5 billion by 2040, $15 billion in 2070 and $39 billion at the end of the century. The report defines TTIP as the annual average loss for all hazard impacts combined.
Inner-city Melbourne suburbs Southbank, Docklands and Port Melbourne have the highest level of exposed buildings, with a combined $19 billion in TTIP cost estimated by 2100.
VMaCC chair Anthony Boxshall says the costs outlined by the report stress the importance of investment today against the long-term impacts of climate change.
“This rigorous report clearly and comprehensively documents the economic challenges that Victoria’s coastal communities will face from sea level rise and related storm surges,” Dr Boxshall said.
“Spending on adaptation over the next two decades could help reduce future risk and save significantly on the estimates of future costs.”
The VMaCC and LSV have called for the establishment of an independent task force to develop a blueprint to guide mitigation projects for the state against storm and flooding risks.
LSV CEO Catherine Greaves says the report’s findings should spark the state and federal governments to act on the issue promptly.
“Our members have observed the discernible influence of rising sea levels on numerous beaches,” Ms Greaves said. “This evidence underscores an urgent call to action.”
Click here for more information on the report.