20 March 2013 — The Victorian government has highlighted the economic opportunities of climate resilient products such as synthetic turf, fire-resistant materials and products for green and ‘white’ roofs along with the need for “government preparedness” in its first Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Plan.

Some current fisheries sectors and/or regions could flourish, such as Gippsland, as a result of expected future fisheries for pelagic species, for example, yellowfin tuna and marlin, it says.

But green groups have slammed the plan for downplaying the need for action on climate change and a disregard for the impacts on lives and livelihoods.

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has also announced local government action on climate adaptation and sustainability will be supported by $6 million funding.

See our story on $6 million funding for action on climate adaptation

The Victorian plan espouses the need for “appropriate risk management strategies are in place for public assets and services, enhanced disaster resilience strategies are being implemented and government policies and programs encourage and facilitate climate resilience and adaptive capacity across the Victorian community.

But while preparing for potential disastrous weather, the plan also says that brings new opportunities for innovation and flexibility in business and industry – such as development of climate resilient building products.

“Examples include the increased demand for synthetic turf sporting facilities to replace vulnerable grass surfaces and development of innovative building solutions, such as fire-resistant materials and products for green and ‘white’ roofs,” it says.

“Major adaptation works such as the modernisation of irrigation or transport infrastructure.

“These could boost regional economies and create high skill local jobs through increased demands for engineering, building and construction services.”

Other opportunities include:

  • Growth of new crops due to a warmer climate with longer growing seasons. It is expected the average grain yields in the south west of Victoria could increase by 10-20 per cent until 2070,8 enabling farmers to diversify and expand grain production. Farmers experiencing reductions in long-term average rainfall may be able to switch to different enterprises or production systems.
  • Increased habitat range and populations for some fish species. This may create opportunities to develop or reposition fisheries industries. Some current fisheries sectors and/or regions could flourish, such as Gippsland, as a result of expected future fisheries for pelagic species, for example, yellow fin tuna and marlin.
  • A developing carbon market, in particular the Commonwealth Government’s Carbon Farming Initiative, can provide incentives for landowners to integrate landscape management, including revegetation and native plantings, which can provide biodiversity corridors.
  • The delivery of adaptation risk management services and products. This may create new market opportunities for businesses, for example, new products in the finance sector to manage climate risks where conventional insurance products fail to do so.

The plan “represents a whole of Victorian Government commitment to adaptation”.

Specifically, the plan addresses six key areas:

  • Existing adaptation responses: demonstrates the broad scope of Victorian Government adaptation responses already underway.
  • Roles and responsibilities: provides guidance on roles and responsibilities of government – in particular, state and local government – and the private sector, on the basis that climate risks are best managed by those closest to the risk.
  • Key strategies and priorities: establishes key whole of Victorian Government strategies and strategic priorities to manage the major short and long term climate risks to public assets and services and to build community preparedness.
  • Integrating climate risk management: reinforces the need to embed climate risk management across all portfolios of the Victorian Government and across all regions of the state.
  • Partnerships: supports capacity-building in local government through a strengthened adaptation partnership.
  • Regional focus: recognises the importance of place-based responses to managing climate risks and the need to develop regional partnerships and deliver effective action on the ground.

It says the first adaptation plan sets out the framework for managing climate risks to critical Victorian Government assets and services.

“With each subsequent plan, and as more information becomes available, our adaptive capacity will be strengthened.

“Discussions will continue with stakeholders, the Commonwealth, local government and the Victorian community.

“This plan will be evaluated with updates and progress reports made available on the climate change website: www.climatechange.vic.gov.au

The next Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Plan will be prepared in 2016.

Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth spokesperson Chloe Aldenhoven said the plan showed a lack of action on climate change and a disregard for the impacts on lives and livelihoods,

Ms Aldenhoven said the plan “recognised that climate change would lead to more frequent and severe heatwaves, bush fires, droughts, storms and floods, as well as sea level rises and coastal inundation.”

“It acknowledges that climate change will cost Victorian agricultural and tourism industries billions of dollars,” she said.

“It then goes on to suggest that ‘the increased demand for synthetic turf’ to replace grass ovals made vulnerable by climate change, presents an economic opportunity for Victoria.

“The callous indifference to the impacts of extreme weather on the lives and livelihoods of Victorians is brazen and utterly bizarre.

“The concrete actions coming out of the plan are in no way proportionate to the risks Victoria faces.

“This report demonstrates a Victorian government desperately seeking an excuse for inaction on climate change. The carbon tax alone will not stop climate change.

“We need to foster a Victorian renewable energy industry and close down polluting power stations to protect the future of Victorians.”

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  1. It’s easy and tempting to be cynical about this, and I agree that the Victorian government should have stronger policy promoting renewable energy.
    But I think it is beneficial to have an informed debate about climate change adaption. Firstly, it alerts the public to what Climate Change may mean practically. Secondly, a series of policy, review, programs, criticism will see more informed decisions made.