<a href="https://www.greenlifestylemag.com.au/blogs/leon#">The Business of Green</a>

The Business of Green

Money matters in the green world, by Leon Gettler.

Coastal climate change

Coastal living

Credit: Kerry Raymond/Wikimedia

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Australia’s reputation for lifestyles of beaches and surf is under threat from climate change, which could have massive implications for where we choose to live, or buy property. And it will also affect insurance.

This week in its parliamentary report, the House of Representatives committee on climate change warned that “the time to act is now”.

In the press release, committee chair Jenny George says: “This is an issue of national significance. Some 80 per cent of the Australian population live in the coastal zone, and the concentration of Australia’s population and infrastructure along the coast makes us particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, including sea level rise."

According to the report, tropical Queensland is the state that’s most at risk, with almost 250,000 buildings vulnerable. Next is New South Wales with more than 200,000 vulnerable buildings. Coastal flooding and erosion already costs NSW around $200 million a year. And this is just the beginning. It’s going to get worse.

The report raises "the possibility of a government instrument that prohibits continued occupation of the land or future building development on the property due to sea hazard". In other words, we could find ourselves in a situation where governments dictate to us where we can and can’t live.

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has already flagged that the Federal Government plans to take over urban planning to make cities greener. If the Federal Government moves down this direction, it might have to look at paying coastal property owners compensation.

Financial services minister Chris Bowen has warned that this could see people paying a lot more for insurance.

The Government has been told to invest more in research on the impact that climate change will have on coastal areas. We also need to look carefully at other issues, like land development, housing permits and insurance.

What else needs to be done? Should governments bring in controls for where we can live? Are you prepared to pay higher insurance premiums? How do we resolve this problem?