Climate change: The 10 areas in Australia likely to be uninsurable by 2030 due to floods and fire


Is YOUR home at risk? The 10 areas in Australia that are likely to become IMPOSSIBLE to insure by 2030 – with up to 90 per cent of properties unable to be protected in one flood-prone city alone

  • Climate Council has named 10 areas of Australia likely to be uninsurable by 2030
  • On that shortlist, by federal electorate, five are in south-east Queensland
  • They include two areas in inner-city Brisbane that now have a federal Greens MP 
  • But Nicholls electorate in northern Victoria deemed to have highest flood risk
  • Shepparton could see 90 per cent of homes uninsurable within eight years 

Up to 90 per cent of homes in some parts of Australia are set to become uninsurable because of catastrophic flooding, an environmental group fears.

The Climate Council has named the 10 areas across the nation most at risk of natural disasters including floods and bushfires, with five of them in Queensland.

A section of northern Victoria that is part of the Murray-Darling Basin was deemed the most vulnerable part of the country for flooding. 

The Climate Council predicted 26.5 per cent, or more than one in four homes in the electorate of Nicholls  – which covers the major regional centres of Shepparton and Echuca – would be uninsurable by 2030.

Most worryingly, a huge 90 per cent of homes in Shepparton, which sits on the Goulburn River, were expected to be impossible to insure within eight years because of the flood risk.  

Shepparton hasn’t had recurring floods such as those in Lismore and Brisbane, with its last major inundation in 2010.

But Nicki Hutley, an economist with the Climate Council who co-authored the report, said it was Australia’s most at-risk place for flooding based on forecasts for heavy rainfall in the area which is flat.

‘It’s all about where we’ve built,’ she told Daily Mail Australia.

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The Climate Council has named 10 areas of Australia, by federal electorates, most at risk of natural disasters. Shepparton hasn't had recurring floods recently like Lismore and Brisbane, with its last major inundation in 2010 (pictured) but up to 90 per cent of homes could be uninsurable by 2030

The Climate Council has named 10 areas of Australia, by federal electorates, most at risk of natural disasters. Shepparton hasn’t had recurring floods recently like Lismore and Brisbane, with its last major inundation in 2010 (pictured) but up to 90 per cent of homes could be uninsurable by 2030

‘Shepparton has yet to have the types of floods that we have seen elsewhere but this is all about risk.

‘This all comes down to the level of increased rainfall that is forecast that will affect those river systems.’

Nicki Hutley, an economist with the Climate Council who co-authored the report, said Shepparton was Australia's most at-risk place for flooding based on forecasts for heavy rainfall in an area that is flat

Nicki Hutley, an economist with the Climate Council who co-authored the report, said Shepparton was Australia’s most at-risk place for flooding based on forecasts for heavy rainfall in an area that is flat

The Nicholls electorate, previously known as Murray, had 25,801 properties regarded as high risk, putting it well ahead of the northern NSW electorate of Richmond, covering Ballina and Byron Bay, where 22,274 homes are predicted to be in danger.

Should rising global temperatures bring more frequent and devastating floods, potential home buyers would baulk at paying $30,000 a year in flood insurance, which Ms Hutley said would significantly reduce the value of homes.

‘Whether they are worth nothing, it becomes a question of what the increase in the insurance premium is going to be,’ Ms Hutley said.

‘In some areas, the risk is much higher.

‘There’s a big difference if you’re going to pay $3,000 a year in insurance versus $30,000 – if it’s $30,000 then somebody who’s going to buy that property is either going to expect to buy it for almost nothing – to take account of the fact that they can’t insure the property.

‘If it’s a much lower rate of insurance, it might bring down the price of the property.

‘If someone buys a house, if it’s going to cost them an extra $5,000 a year for 10 years, does it knock it off by $50,000?’ 

The Southern Down region southwest of Brisbane was one of the five federal electorates in Queensland most at risk of natural disasters

The Southern Down region southwest of Brisbane was one of the five federal electorates in Queensland most at risk of natural disasters 

Ms Hutley said the properties most at risk were those located near large river systems.

‘Right across Australia the number is one in 25 but in individual areas it might be as high as nine in 10, 90 per cent of properties at risk of being uninsurable,’ she told the ABC.

‘Naturally, if you are very close to a large river system, and even the downstream smaller rivulets, creeks, that’s where the biggest risks are except of course, now these floods are getting higher and more frequent.’

Southeast Queensland had five spots in the shortlist of the 10 worst-affected federal electorates, with two of them in Brisbane, one on the Gold Coast and two further inland.

Northern NSW had two spots, and Adelaide had one place on the danger list. 

The northern Victorian electorate of Indi, which covers Wangaratta, had 10.7 per cent of homes regarded as possibly uninsurable because of flooding. 

Recurring flooding in Brisbane this year helped the Greens win the seats of Brisbane and Griffith for the first time ever at the May 21 election, with both those electorates considered most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

In Brisbane, 12.5 per cent of homes were considered likely to be uninsurable by 2030, with the electorate covering the northern side of the Brisbane River.

The Climate Council predicted 26.5 per cent, or more than one in four homes, Nationals electorate of Nicholls would be uninsurable by 2030 in an area which covers Shepparton, Puckapunyal and Echuca

The Climate Council predicted 26.5 per cent, or more than one in four homes, Nationals electorate of Nicholls would be uninsurable by 2030 in an area which covers Shepparton, Puckapunyal and Echuca

In the city’s south side, 11.4 per cent of homes were considered to be high risk because of riverine flooding.

Tony Faulks, who lives at Rocklea in Brisbane’s south with his wife Diane, pays $7,000 a year for flood insurance with Suncorp. 

‘The insurance policy is just over $7,000 per year and I’m 73 years old,’ he told the ABC.

‘We live from week to week; we don’t have savings in the bank and we’d like to retire but now we’ve got a house that’s unliveable.’

A similar proportion, or 11.9 per cent of homes in the Moncrieff electorate on the  Gold Coast, which covers Surfers Paradise, were also regarded as being potentially uninsurable.

On the other side of the Queensland border, the Richmond electorate covering Ballina and Byron Bay was particularly at risk, with 14.5 per cent of homes deemed uninsurable by 2030 because of regular flooding.

On the other side of the Queensland border, the Labor-held seat of Richmond covering Ballina and Byron Bay (pictured) was particularly vulnerable, with 14.5 per cent of homes deemed uninsurable by 2030 because of the flood risk

On the other side of the Queensland border, the Labor-held seat of Richmond covering Ballina and Byron Bay (pictured) was particularly vulnerable, with 14.5 per cent of homes deemed uninsurable by 2030 because of the flood risk

This was significantly higher than the neighbouring Page electorate where 5.4 per cent of homes were deemed insurable by 2030 even though it is home to the badly flood-hit city of Lismore.

To the north, back in Queensland, the Maronoa electorate covering the Southern Downs area and the city of Warwick had 13.9 per cent of homes considered uninsurable due to flooding. 

The Wright electorate was also the list with nine per cent of homes potentially impossible to insure because of bushfire risk.

Adelaide rounded out the top 10 list with the Labor seat of Hindmarsh deemed to have 9.5 per cent of homes with a high flood risk.

Ms Hutley said while bushfires destroyed homes, flooding was typically more devastating to more properties. 

‘Ultimately, what you can see is the most expensive risk comes from flooding – it tends to be closer, unlike fire which tends to happen often in areas that are uninhabited as devastating as it is,’ she said.

Should rising global temperatures bring about heavier rainfall, potential home buyers would baulk at paying $30,000 a year in flood insurance, which Ms Hutley said would significantly reduce the value of homes (pictured is flooding at Shepparton)

Should rising global temperatures bring about heavier rainfall, potential home buyers would baulk at paying $30,000 a year in flood insurance, which Ms Hutley said would significantly reduce the value of homes (pictured is flooding at Shepparton)

‘We have built on floodplains and we have built around those river systems.

‘Anywhere that’s exposed to a particularly large river system, flooding is the most expensive for damages and it tends to affect more properties so if you’re close by to a large river system of any sort, then you’re likely to be heavily exposed unless you’re building at the top of a hill.’

Australia is now committed to reducing carbon emissions by 2030, to honour the Paris Agreement.

But Ms Hutley said flood mitigation measures, like the building of levees, was most likely in the short term to make homes more insurable.

‘If we increased our spending on that adaptation, then some of those properties that won’t be insurable – that should improve the position,’ she said.

The Climate Council has named 10 areas of Australia, by federal electorates, most at risk of natural disasters, with five of them in Queensland

The Climate Council has named 10 areas of Australia, by federal electorates, most at risk of natural disasters, with five of them in Queensland

Areas of Australia most likely to be uninsurable by 2030

NICHOLLS, VICTORIA: 26.5 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Nationals electorate of Sam Birrell with 25,801 high risk properties)

RICHMOND, NSW: 14.5 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Labor electorate of Assistant Minister Justine Elliot with 22,274 high risk properties)

MARANOA, QUEENSLAND: 13.9 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Nationals leader David Littleproud’s electorate with 19,551 high-risk properties)

MONCRIEFF, QUEENSLAND: 11.9 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Liberal electorate of Angie Bell with 18,032 high-risk properties)

WRIGHT, QUEENSLAND:  9 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (bushfire in Nationals electorate of Scott Buchholz with 12,140 high-risk properties)

BRISBANE, QUEENSLAND: 12.5 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Greens electorate of Stephen Bates with 19,355 high-risk properties)

GRIFFITH, QUEENSLAND: 11.4 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Greens electorate of Max Chandler-Mather with 14,812 high-risk properties) 

INDI, VICTORIA: 10.7 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in independent electorate of Helen Haines with 11,215 high-risk properties ) 

PAGE, NEW SOUTH WALES: 5.4 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Nationals electorate of Kevin Hogan with 11,691 high-risk properties)

HINDMARSH, SOUTH AUSTRALIA: 9.5 per cent of homes uninsurable by 2030 (flooding in Labor electorate of Health Minister Mark Butler with 10,775  high-risk properties) 

 

 

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