Neighbourhood Issue: Climate Costs and Risks for Council

22.09.21 By and

No community within Australia remains untouched by climate change. Our country is highly exposed to impacts including record-breaking heat, more dangerous bushfire seasons, coastal flooding and supercharged storms. These extreme weather events are worsening, and the impacts are reverberating throughout our communities.

As the level of government closest to the community, councils are at the heart of responding to climate impacts. When disaster strikes, local governments work closely with communities to cope and respond.

While we switch away from using coal, oil and gas there are climate impacts already baked into the system that councils must also respond to in order to keep our communities safe and strengthen their resilience into the future.

The findings and case studies in this report paint a picture of the impacts and scale of the challenge councils face, but also outline a pathway to overcome them.

Key Findings:

1. Climate change is an immense challenge for all levels of government, but its impacts are felt most acutely at the local level.

2. Worsening extreme weather, driven by climate change, is compounding costs for councils. This includes mounting damage to councilowned assets, rising insurance premiums and increasing liability risks.

3. Local government is playing a leading role in responding to climate change, but there are common barriers that councils face in trying to take further action.

4. Protecting communities from worsening extreme weather, and minimising the costs borne by them, requires climate leadership at all levels of government.