Council infrastructure crumbling under climate change pressures

Published 19 February 2015

council-infrastructure-article-brisbane-floodsLocal councils are struggling to meet the high cost of replacing infrastructure to meet extreme

weather events such as cyclones and floods according to a University of New England researcher.

It is estimated that $2.1-billion dollars was required to reconstruct Queensland areas affected by the floods in 2010/11.

UNE researcher Dr Simone Valle de Souza is looking into how councils can better prepare infrastructure for these disasters.

“What we are looking at is the inefficiency of having infrastructure which is already out of date and what is the consequence of that when natural disaster hits,” says Dr de Souza.

She says most councils already have a big backlog of infrastructure that needs updating.

Dr de Souza says research shows for every $1 you spend in upgrading the infrastructure to disaster-resilient standards you save $5 of post-disaster reconstruction.

“We are also looking at the benefits of personal infrastructure investments, where people invest in making their homes and businesses more resilient to extreme weather events.”

She emphasizes the need to build infrastructure that can withstand the more frequent and intense extreme weather events, as a consequence of climate change.

“This includes water, storm water and drainage infrastructure capacity, coastal infrastructure and roads and buildings. This will increase the size of the already large local infrastructure backlog.”


Dr Simone Valle de Souza,
Deputy Director
Centre for Local Government
UNE Business School

02 6773 2542

Image: Burpengary home cut off by 2012 flood in Brisbane. Photo taken on January 22nd, 2012
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