At What Cost?

Natural disasters are undermining Australia’s future growth, putting billions of dollars’ worth of Australian economic activity and millions of people at risk, according to a new report launched by IAG and SGS Economics and Planning.

The report: At what cost? Mapping where natural perils impact economic growth and communities, is the first report to examine the impact that floods, storms, tropical cyclones, bushfires and earthquakes, have on economic activity.

The report also highlights the link between the risk of natural disasters and the ability of communities to have the resources to recover and rebuild from devastating events.

Key Findings: 

This work has identified areas of key economic importance which are at risk, including large parts of our mining industry and our knowledge economy located in the major Central Business Districts (CBDs): 

  • Local Government Areas (LGA) with high, very high and extreme risk of bushfire generated $175 billion (10.8%) worth of GDP and were home to 2.2 million people
  • $326.6 billion worth of GDP (20.3 per cent of the economy) and 3.9 million people (17.3 per cent of the population) were in areas with a high to extreme risk of cyclone. Recent cyclones have already significantly impacted on mineral and agricultural production. 
  • 28.4 per cent of GDP and 24.9 per cent of the population live in LGAs at high to extreme risk of flood. Flood events in Queensland in 2011 were highly disruptive to economic activity and highlighted how a community’s economic capacity impacts its ability to respond and rebuild following natural disasters.
  • The Melbourne CBD and its 450,000 workers are at high risk of flood. Flooding has impacted on the transport network in the Melbourne CBD on a number of recent occasions causing economic disruptions. In addition, half a million workers in the Sydney CBD (which has a high storm risk) have also experienced transport disruptions caused by fierce storms in recent years.
  • LGAs with high and extreme risk of earthquakes generate $853 billion, or 52.5 per cent of our nation’s GDP and house 58 per cent of our population.


Download the report: At what cost? Mapping where natural perils impact economic growth and communities

Download a PDF of the key findings

Click here to view the data files used to compile At what cost?

View the presentation given at the launch of At what cost?  here

Watch this short video to find out more: 

At what cost? Interactive map:

In addition to the report, an interactive map has also been developed as a tool to help all stakeholders understand what is at cost.

The map overlays communities’ risk exposure to natural perils, with the area’s economic productivity and local capacity to mitigate disaster impacts

If you are having trouble accessing the map, please click on this link to view:

For more information, contact Gulshan Singh at

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