Economic impacts

The Reserve Bank of Australia has warned of first-order economic shocks to our economy if we fail to take action. Recent modelling has revealed that the total cost of asset damage from climate-related hazards within the Darwin municipality is currently approximately $51 million per year. This is expected to rise to over $61 million per year by 2100.

Air conditioner use is already expensive for Darwin households. This cost will increase due to rising temperatures, particularly affecting low income households.

Climate change is already lowering workforce productivity and food security. NT cattle exports worth $218 million per year are projected to decline by 19.5% by 2030 due to climate change.

If current emission rates continue, it has been calculated that climate change will cost Australian households roughly $20,000 per year, or an average of $61,000 between now and the end of the century for each Australian.

Migration and climate refugees

As islands and remote coastal communities are slowly inundated, North Australia will be the destination of refugees affected by sea-level rise, drought and extreme weather. Within Australia, Darwin residents and others in the north are already relocating to southern Australia due to increasing temperatures and drought.

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Within the NT, remote residents are already increasingly moving into larger towns. Increasing heat in Top End communities will compound other pre-existing challenges such as changing water availability and insufficient resources and infrastructure to adapt, which may result in increased migration into Darwin.

Tourism impacts

Kakadu National Park is the Top End’s world-heritage-listed tourism icon. The Kakadu floodplain is only 0.2–1.2m above sea level, making it vulnerable to even minimal sea level rise. 50–80% of Kakadu’s beautiful freshwater wetlands are predicted to be destroyed by rising sea-levels in the next fifty years. This will shrink the habitat of iconic wetland birds such as Magpie Geese and of other important Indigenous food sources.

In Central Australia, outdoor tourism during summer has already become increasingly hazardous due to hotter days and longer heatwaves.

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