Victorian Infrastructure Assets Under Threat from Climate Change
18 Jan 2013
Justin McGar, Engineering Source
Documents released to Environment Victoria through a Freedom of Information (FoI) request show that government-owned assets in Victoria face significantly higher insurance costs and liabilities due to the anticipated impacts of climate change...
The report, titled ‘The Potential Impacts of Climate Change on the Victoria Managed Insurance Authority’s Insurance Portfolio,’ assesses the government’s insurance liabilities over the next 20 years resulting from climate change.
Recent bush fires and floods in the state have already led to the VMIA incurring losses and the report finds that these losses will increase as climate change drives more extreme weather events. The report also notes the government’s growing exposure to personal and professional liability claims that are expected to flow from more severe climatic events.
Environment Victoria was only granted access to the report following the threat of legal action after initial FoI requests were denied.
“Because of climate change, Victorians are exposed to more frequent and dangerous weather events such as bushfires and floods which pose a grave risk to life and property,” said Environment Victoria CEO Kelly O’Shanassy. “This report shows that state assets will also be affected, increasing insurance costs that will ultimately be born by the taxpayer.”
O’Shanassy added that many, including scientists, business owners, the public and now, insurance experts, have all expressed concern over the dangers of climate change, but said the Baillieu government has done little to prevent or reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions from coal plants, factories and transit systems in the state.
“Since being elected, Premier Baillieu has dumped the state’s greenhouse pollution reduction target, removed pollution limits for new power stations, signalled their intent to export Victoria’s highly polluting brown coal and by doing so increase global emissions, slashed support for solar, and made it virtually impossible to build new wind farms in Victoria,” O’Shanassy said. “It defies logic that our government could understand the risks climate change poses to Victorians and then knowingly make the problem worse.”