The Transport Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan is one of 7 plans prepared by the Victorian Government for 7 statewide systems. The plans will help ensure Victoria’s climate resilience, now and into the future.

The challenge

The Transport system includes transport users, freight services, transport networks, facilities, systems and vehicles, and the people that plan, design, operate and manage them. Climate change has the potential to affect all aspects of transport operations, maintenance and construction, including through:

  • harm to assets
  • disrupted services, operations, maintenance and construction
  • disrupted access
  • discomfort to transport staff and users
  • increased public safety hazards.

The transport network is a key part of Victoria’s critical infrastructure. Roads, bridges and ports play a central role in facilitating access and egress during emergency events such as fires and floods. Climate-related road and rail incidents cost VicRoads and Public Transport Victoria about $220 million (including insurance claims) from 2004 to 2020. Flood damage, especially from 2011 flooding, accounted for about 80% ($176 million) of the total cost, with bushfire-related costs making up about 17% and landslides, storms and wind about 3%.

Climate-related events already incur major Transport system costs and maintenance requirements, and these are expected to grow in the future. The Transport system’s emergency planning, preparedness, response and recovery approaches need to address critical risks to transport users, infrastructure and assets from fires, floods, heat and other events. Transport infrastructure must be robust to avoid, withstand and recover from climate change impacts while continuing to provide essential services and support community wellbeing.

Work already underway

Current challenges are already being addressed. For more than 10 years, Victorian Government transport agencies have had policies that consider long-term climate change in the planning, design, construction, and operation of transport infrastructure. The Transport Adaptation Action Plan builds on these policies, including to:

  • Design transport assets to be resilient to potential risks and degradation, including climate change impacts.
  • Apply climate change adaptation standards for transport asset planning, design, construction, operations and maintenance.
  • Review emergency management plans to guide future preparedness, response and recovery of transport assets and services following extreme events.
  • Prioritise asset management according to key service factors, such as their importance, monetary value, community value and levels of use.
  • Factor climate change impacts into port operations, maintenance and long-term planning.
  • Build climate scenarios into transport project flood and drainage models, standards and design outputs.
  • Support passenger safety and wellbeing during heatwaves by ensuring access to drinking water and health infrastructure (such as defibrillators) at selected transport hubs.

Key priorities ahead

The next 5 years (2022–2026) will be focused on establishing a solid foundation for building the Transport system’s climate resilience, by improving knowledge, capacity and decision making approaches.

  • Strategically manage and invest in transport infrastructure that is at high risk of frequent and severe climate-related impacts.
  • Build on lessons from the 2019–20 bushfires – for example, assess local bridge and road suitability for emergency events and evacuations, and review single-road access to remote towns.
  • Partner with transport agencies and industry to help the Transport system recover faster from climate-related events through better-informed emergency preparedness, response and recovery.
  • Support vulnerable communities during climate-related events and contribute to the development of Community Resilience Plans.
  • Establish systems to quantify and report climate-related transport network incidents.
  • Integrate climate risk assessment into decision making to address climate change across all asset and project life cycles, and to understand when to defend against, accommodate or retreat from climate-related hazards.
  • Embed climate considerations in budgeting, procurement, business case development and life-cycle planning to ensure the sustainable financing of transport infrastructure and assets.
  • Invest in trials of innovative solutions to deal with future climate change impacts.
  • Share knowledge among transport agencies and critical infrastructure transport operators through the Transport Sector Resilience Network.

Case study: Victoria’s Sustainability Bond

In some cases, existing economic and financial frameworks have the potential to limit adaptation and undermine our resilience to climate change. We need to develop innovative tools to incentivise and fund activities that integrate climate resilience.

Sustainability bonds prioritise environmental and social benefits that are not yet integrated into existing economic and financial frameworks and instruments. The Treasury Corporation of Victoria launched its inaugural sustainability bond in September 2021. It will finance a mix of ’green’ and ‘social’ projects certified under principles set by the International Capital Markets Association.

The projects will support climate change adaptation and resilient infrastructure, sustainable water and wastewater management, and sustainable management of natural resources and land use. The bond provides a framework for the Victorian Government to target investors who are focused on environmental, social and governance outcomes and highlight Victoria’s investment in these areas.

Investors initially contributed $2.5 billion to the bond. This amount is expected to increase substantially over time with the Treasury Corporation of Victoria’s financing strategy.

Key 'green' projects financed through the bond include:

$420 million capital contribution towards a total investment of $2.3 billion for High Capacity Metro trains with improved passenger capacities

$880 million investment in the Solar Homes Program

$540 million for improved renewable electricity network resilience

$335 million for thermal upgrades and energy-efficient heating and cooling for low-income properties, and $112 million for social housing.

Further information

The Transport Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan will be delivered over the next 5 years (2022–2026), then updated every 5 years on the path to 2050.

Read the full Adaptation Action Plan for the Transport system

Page last updated: 15/02/22