Climate Adaptation and Coastal Rehabilitation Plan

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Recent record-setting disasters in Queensland, Tasmania and elsewhere in the country highlight how quickly climate change is altering our environment and increasing the exposure and vulnerability of Australian communities. The latest science suggests that the severity and frequency of many of these climate-related impacts will increase exponentially.

After six years of neglect from the Liberals, Australia urgently needs a national policy to build its resilience to climate change and adapt to inevitable climate impacts. The Liberal’s terrible record on cutting carbon pollution is matched by their record on climate change adaptation.

After six years of government, the Liberals have taken Australia backwards by:

  • Completely excluding climate adaptation from their 2017 Review of Climate Change Policies.
  • Making deep cuts to funding for significant adaptation work at CSIRO and completely de-funding the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), one of the hallmarks of the 2015 National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy.
  • Producing a National Disaster Risk Reduction Framework that fails to take climate change seriously.

Despite the Liberal’s negligence on this critical issue, an enormous amount of work has taken place and is currently underway to build Australia’s resilience to climate and disaster risk at state and local levels, in the private sector, civil society, at Australian universities and scientific research institutions and in many Commonwealth Government departments. This work needs national leadership to deliver community resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Around 85 per cent of the population now live in coastal regions and the Australian coast is of immense economic, social and environmental importance to the nation. Australians love their beaches and coastal environments, and they know climate change induced sea level rise poses a risk to their beloved beaches.

Australia’s coastal communities are already seeing the impacts of climate change and rising sea levels in increased coastal erosion, a loss of dunes and inundation. They rightly want leadership from government to address the climate impacts already being felt by their communities.

Labor’s Climate Adaptation and Coastal Rehabilitation Plan

Labor will act to build the resilience of communities to climate change impacts and restore our coasts.

Labor’s Climate Adaptation and Coastal Rehabilitation Plan will address the damage that the Liberals have done to national leadership and capacity in climate adaptation, re-invigorate

the crucial research needed to support adaptation action on the ground, coordinate local, state and national efforts to support climate adaptation and resilience, and it will deliver direct support to local communities and government to restore already impacted coasts.

Our plan includes:

  • Developing a National Framework for Building Climate Resilience, bringing together local and state governments, community groups, the businesses community, researchers and relevant Commonwealth agencies and departments. The National Framework will provide the leadership and coordination that has been lacking under the Liberals to develop plans, coordinate efforts, share information and inform other private and government processes and efforts.
  • Re-invigorating the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) to support the creation and dissemination of research into local climate change impacts, through re-funding of the program with a $12 million funding boost.
  • Introducing a Coastal Rehabilitation Fund to work with communities, local governments, and the Australian Coastal Councils Association to directly support local coastal rehabilitation projects that restore beaches and other environments and improve their resilience with $50 million of grant funding.

Labor’s Climate Adaptation and Coastal Resilience plan will also be informed by Labor’s triennial Australian Climate Change Assessments, which will provide the most comprehensive and detailed assessment of actual and potential climate change impacts on Australia ever performed. Our Plan represents the largest investment in climate change adaptation and resilience in over six years.

After six years of accelerating climate change impacts on our coasts and other environments, and after six years of neglect from the Liberals, a Shorten Labor Government will provide the leadership our communities and industries have been crying out for. Labor will ensure our communities are able to adapt and grow resilience to climate change impacts.

Only a Shorten Labor Government will restore our beaches, invest in the science and provide the leadership Australia desperately needs.