There goes the neighbourhood: climate change, Australian housing and the financial sector
This report looks at the risk that is often unrecognised and under-explained to people who own or are buying or building property along Australia's coasts (flooding, storm surge, coastal inundation, erosion etc.) and in bushfire zones. There is joint responsibility and an untapped, unshared pool of data about this level of risk which is held by regulators, state and local governments, insurers and banks. But without all parties being able to access or share this data, this significant risk is continuing to be ultimately carried by largely under-informed or unsuspecting owners, and we continue to develop in areas that are at high risk from climate change impacts. Ultimately this can lead to properties and areas that are uninsurable, dilapidated and uninhabitable as the impacts of climate change become more apparent and more real. The economic costs of such risk are potentially very high and could ultimately represent a real risk to the economy and financial sector itself. The Discussion Paper, There goes the neighbourhood, is the largest review of the financial implications of climate risk to housing in Australia. The report finds that insurers, regulators and governments have started to recognise this risk and incorporate it into their assessment processes. However, the banks, which manage the bulk of the mortgages of Australia, have done relatively little to assist in addressing this complex problem.