Infrastructure Victoria has completed research which found that the state’s infrastructure must be better prepared for future extreme weather events in order to reduce harm and the costs of disaster recovery. 

The research report, Weathering the storm: adapting Victoria’s infrastructure to climate change, makes seven recommendations to the Victorian Government to better embed adaptation action across departments and agencies.

Infrastructure Victoria CEO, Dr Jonathan Spear, said that Victoria’s infrastructure was not built for more frequent and severe weather events. 

“Infrastructure is now exposed to greater damage from bushfire, floods, and storms,” Dr Spear said. 

“Our research shows how targeted and cost-effective adaptation solutions can keep Victorians safer, keep businesses open and reduce the costs of recovery.” 

The research shows how to assess risks to Victorian infrastructure. It uses three hypothetical examples to test the assessment method: flooding and bushfire risks for Victoria’s roads, and extreme wind risks for the electricity distribution network. 

Each example compares different adaptation solutions. This includes the cost of introducing and maintaining the solution, and the cost of replacing infrastructure. The examples show low-cost adaptation solutions, such as preventative maintenance for roads or replacing overhead electricity conductors with insulated cables, can have a large return on investment.

“The benefits of investing in more resilient infrastructure now can outweigh the costs of repairing and rebuilding it after extreme weather events and reduce harm to Victorians. 

“Our report shows how to assess the vulnerability of infrastructure to climate change and compare different adaptation solutions.”

The report finds governments have many options to make infrastructure more resilient to climate change. Options like more regular maintenance, choosing more robust construction materials or applying a different design often come with little added costs and can offer real benefits.

The report also shows adaptation can be complex and is not a one-size fits all solution.

“The best solutions to prepare for more frequent and extreme weather events will depend on the type of infrastructure and its location,” Dr Spear said.

“Our research shows how infrastructure managers can build on existing policies and systems to better assess climate-related risks. This can reduce harm to Victorian communities and businesses and keep down the costs of disaster recovery.”

Infrastructure Victoria’s seven recommendations are designed to help the Victorian Government to better assess and prepare infrastructure for the impacts of climate change. 

The recommendations are:

  1. Boost priority and oversight for infrastructure adaptation
  • Make public infrastructure resilience a priority in Victoria’s climate change strategy
  • Develop an adaptation action plan for Victoria’s energy system
  • Include all infrastructure types in future adaptation action plans
  • Specify the responsible agency for each adaptation action
  • Regularly publish a progress and evaluation report on adaptation actions
  1. Coordinate and standardise climate projections
  • Establish an agreed set of climate projections for use in government infrastructure planning and management, especially projections of extreme weather events
  • Keep improving local level data that infrastructure managers can use for site-specific analysis
  • Deliver training and ongoing support for infrastructure managers to apply the data to climate risk assessments
  1. Use asset management systems to improve resilience
  • Release climate change guidance on assessing climate vulnerability and risk, designing for resilience, and adopting preventative maintenance
  • Support agencies to develop the processes, tools, and expertise to embed climate considerations in asset management practice
  1. Integrate climate risk into government risk management
  • Develop detailed guidance to accompany the Victorian Government risk management framework on how to assess climate-related risks to infrastructure and integrate them into decision-making
  1. Align climate and financial risks to infrastructure
  • Include climate adaptation in the government’s long-term financial management objectives for infrastructure
  • Require departments and agencies with infrastructure holdings to prepare climate-related financial risk disclosures
  1. Update business case and investment guidance
  • Update existing business case guidelines, technical guidelines, and templates to include the risks and impacts of climate change
  1. Build confidence that good adaptation solutions will receive funding
  • Attach funding to the 2026 updates of the system-wide adaptation action plans, to encourage government agencies to evaluate and prioritise assets for adaptation and incorporate adaptation into business cases

Image credit: Jackie.G/shutterstock.com

Related articles
0 Comments

Leave a reply

©2024 Infrastructure Magazine. All rights reserved

CONTACT US

We're not around right now. But you can send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Sending

Log in with your credentials

Forgot your details?