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Economic strategies for coastal disaster risk reduction: A case study of Exmouth, Western Australia

Roberts, Rebecca (2012) Economic strategies for coastal disaster risk reduction: A case study of Exmouth, Western Australia. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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Recent major natural disasters in Australia have highlighted how some of the economic costs of living in risk-prone areas are borne by the rest of society. This study used the town of Exmouth, in north-western Australia, to investigate economic strategies for coastal disaster risk reduction, as it typifies expanding development in coastal areas prone to extreme weather events. Using a GIS, coastal inundation scenarios from cyclonic storm-surge were investigated relative to coastal property, infrastructure and shire planning. It showed that some areas developed in the past decade are at high risk of storm-surge inundation. There has been a loss of disastermitigating ecosystem functions as well as increased risk to previously unaffected areas. The extent to which risk perceptions of cyclonic storm-surge inundation and flooding influenced the price buyers paid for residential property in Exmouth over the period 1988-2010 was examined using a Hedonic Price Model. This incorporated dwelling variables, proximity to the coast, cyclone Vance storm-surge and 1-in-100 year flood levels and indicated that prices did not reflect the real societal cost of risk. To internalize these costs, a mandatory private insurance scheme for high-risk properties (with a time-phased government subsidy) and penalties for local councils undertaking new high-risk developments are proposed. Further, a hybrid economic instrument aimed at correcting the market failure in coastal land which comprises an environmental offset by developers, a propertyowner tax and special disaster risk mitigation fund, is also proposed. This study is highly relevant in view of the planned revision of the Western Australian Coastal Planning Policy, the expansion of industry along the coast of northern Australia and the predicted effects of climate change on sea levels and extreme weather events.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
Supervisor(s): Beckley, Lynnath and Tull, Malcolm
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