Final report released: Barriers to adaptation to sea-level rise

This final report details research funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility that investigated what legal, institutional and cultural barriers exist to climate change adaptation to sea level rise and examined how these barriers are addressed in local contexts.

The study found that, according to key actors in climate change adaptation in Australia, there are 5 five key kinds of barriers to adaptation: governance, policy, uncertainty, resources, and psychosocial factors. The governance barrier of uncertainty about roles and responsibilities across levels of government and sectors was seen to be one of the most important barriers to adaptation. The subsequent empirical research into community preferences for the distribution of responsibility for key adaptation tasks revealed that there was strong support for a significant role for government in all aspects of adaptation. There is recognition that adaptation to sea level rise should be a shared responsibility, but with distinct roles for each level of government. Local government was seen to be best placed to manage public assets, regulate decisions about private assets, and lead and coordinate public input for local planning. Federal government was viewed as the most appropriate entity to take responsibility for information provision on the risks of sea level rise, and to bear most of the costs of adaptation. State governments, while not viewed as the primary responsible entity for any of these key tasks, was seen to have a role in coordinating adaptation actions across local government areas.

View the final report

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