Canberra, Jan 13 (IANS) Flooding across Australia in 2022 cost the country billions of dollars, government data released on Friday revealed.
According to the Treasury estimates, reduced activity in the mining, agriculture, construction, retail and accommodation sectors due to severe weather events and flooding cut gross domestic product growth by 0.25 per cent, reports Xinhua news agency.
Combined with a 16 per cent rise in the cost of fruit and vegetables amid disrupted supply chains, the Treasury estimated the floods cost the economy A$5 billion ($3 billion).
In the previous 10 years, the price of fruit and vegetables rose by an average of 2.5 per cent annually.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers, who on Friday visited communities in New South Wales that were affected by catastrophic flooding between February and April last year, flagged additional funding for natural disaster resilience measures in May’s federal budget.
“We know these types of disasters put up prices, slow down growth in the near term, and cost the budget billions of dollars,” he was quoted by saying.
“Natural disaster funding was a key focus in the budget in October and will be a key focus in May as well. This isn’t optional spending, it has to be done. In Australia, we’re always conscious that natural disasters have the ability to throw us off course, and we expect this uncertainty to be one of the key factors weighing on our economy.”
Every Australian state and territory with the exception of the Australian Capital Territory experienced major flooding in 2022, with a third consecutive La Nina event bringing heavy rainfall.
Chalmers was joined on Friday by Murray Watt, minister for emergency management, who said the government is committed to ensuring Australia is better prepared for severe weather events.