This report is a product of the research project “Framing multi-level and multi-actor adaptation responses in the Victorian context.” Previous working papers in this component analysed the variety of estimates of both the aggregate costs of disasters and the cost of specific climate-related events in Victoria (Keating and Handmer, 2011b) and methodologies for assessing the costs of climate change (Keating and Handmer 2011a). This report extends this work by taking a sectoral approach. Future work on the project will include exploring how the costs estimated here may change under climate change scenarios.
There is scant data on the economic impacts of climate anomalies at the sectoral level in Victoria. Pronouncements made in the media about the cost of disasters to certain sectors seem to be made with little or no empirical backing. Economic impact assessment of disasters is an involved process that is rarely undertaken in any consistent manner. Stephenson (2010) undertook a thorough assessment of the cost of bushfires to Victoria, and the raw data from this study was used to produce the estimates presented here on the current cost of bushfires to agriculture and the timber industry. Estimates of these costs under climate change can be found in the subsequent working paper for this series, Future potential losses from extremes under climate change: the case of Victoria, Australia.