Climate change and disaster recovery costs councils millions: New report
MORE SUPPORT and funding is needed to help local governments cope with the costs of climate change, a new report from the Climate Council and Cities Power Partnership has found.
The Neighbourhood issue: Climate costs and risks to councils report found climate-fuelled extreme weather is compounding costs for councils. The bill for local governments to fix eroding beaches and protect beachside property or infrastructure commonly exceeds $1 million and could reach as high as $54 million per year.
Report author and Climate Council spokesperson, Professor Lesley Hughes said the risks and demands on local government will continue to increase as climate impacts worsen.
“Climate impacts cut across almost all areas of local government responsibility including the maintenance of critical assets and infrastructure and delivery of essential community services. As the closest tier of government to the community, councils are often at the forefront of disaster response,” said Professor Hughes.
“State and federal assistance is falling short of what’s required to help councils prepare for and respond to extreme weather. However, while council responsibilities – including those related to climate change – are growing, their tax revenue has shrunk to the fourth lowest share among the 30 industrialised nations that make up the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
“Effectively, councils are being asked to do more, with less. Without increased funding, guidance and support, I can’t imagine how they will continue to protect and provide for their communities.”