A new IAG report - At what cost? looked at where natural disasters can occur and overlayed it with information about Australia’s economy as well as the ability of communities to cope.

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):

Key findings 

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.

Watch a short video on the report.

Read the IAG report.

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