Regional and local governments are often responsible for assets including roads and stormwater, parks and public realm, and community services and facilities. Local governments across Australia are tackling climate change adaptation, building resilience and making a shift to a low carbon future in a number of ways.

Australian experience can assist governments, industries and communities wanting to collaborate as they prepare and respond to climate change. Climate Change Services Australia can connect organisations to a network of regional governments who have embraced the challenge of planning and are acting collaboratively.

A number of Australian cities, states and towns have adopted targets for carbon emission reductions or renewable energy, including:

  • State of South Australia – net zero emissions by 2050
  • State of NSW – net zero emissions by 2050
  • State of Victoria – reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 15 to 20 per cent below 2005 levels by 2020, net zero emissions by 2050
  • State of Queensland – reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030, net zero emissions by 2050
  • City of Canberra – net zero emissions by 2050 at the latest
  • City of Adelaide – carbon neutral by 2020
  • City of Sydney – net zero emissions by 2030
  • City of Melbourne – net zero emissions by 2020

In South Australia, regional stakeholders have collaborated to prepare regional climate change adaptation plans. The plans identify features and aspects most vulnerable to climate change, prioritise what options the community can take, and describe how to proceed through partnerships in the region. The state of South Australia has a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and a corresponding policy framework to achieve it.

The state of New South Wales has a net zero emissions goal by 2050 and a Climate Change Policy framework released in 2017. Sydney is creating the Resilient Sydney Strategy, and is part of the 100 Resilient Cities program pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation. Every local council in metropolitan Sydney has nominated a resilience ambassador to support the program and ensure their part of Sydney is represented and engaged.

How is policy, planning and governance critical to effective climate change response?

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