As the effects of climate change make Australia’s coastal regions increasingly susceptible to extreme weather events, a nationwide audit of potential impacts and costs could be the best means of ensuring that the country's built assets remain safe and secure in future.

It may appear the Coalition has made itself an easy target for environmentalists and sustainability advocates, with policies that evince a blithe indifference to the potential effects of global warming. But according to Dr. Peter Cowell, an expert in coastal geomorphology from the University of Sydney, governments in Australia may…