New South Wales, Tasmania, Queensland
Suncorp report shows Australia's regions face dual threats following natural disasters.
In preparing Suncorp’s ‘Economic Recovery After Disaster Strikes’ report, we investigated the experience of three recent natural disasters:
- Cyclone Debbie (QLD and NSW in 2017)
- Tathra bushfires (NSW 2018), and
- Hobart flood (TAS 2018).
We compared the economic impact of each disaster based on size, location and population density.
Our analysis revealed that the Tathra bushfires on the South Coast of New South Wales South Coast hurt the local economy by an estimated 33.7 per cent (a $207 million decline). This was a significant economic impact, primarily driven by disruption to the town’s key tourism sector. Conversely, Hobart showed more resilience when hit with a flood in 2018. The flood caused an estimated 7.5 per cent decline ($908 million) in the local economy.
Our report shows that regional cities and towns face the dual threats of increasingly volatile and severe weather, coupled with narrow economies. These threats intensify the impact of natural disasters and delay subsequent recovery.
More than one in ten Australians live in small regional towns and many more live in regional cities. However, despite the increasing risk of natural disasters, 95 per cent of disaster funding is currently directed to clean-up and recovery, rather than to prevention.