South Australian Integrated Climate Change Adaptation


South Australian State and Local Governments wanted to develop a consistent approach to climate change adaptation that would address the full range of likely climate change impacts. The resultant strategic, integrated and collaborative approach to climate change adaptation statewide aims to reduce climate change risk in a cost and resource effective manner and minimise cases of maladaptation that might eventuate from an ad-hoc approach.

Climate change adaptation action in South Australia (SA) developed over a number of years as governments, regions and the private sector began to understand the implications of climate change. The statewide collaboration was underpinned by the Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act 2007, South Australia’s Greenhouse Strategy 2007 - 2020, the Local Government Association Climate Change Strategy 2008 - 2012, and the development of a partnership that brought the two sectors together under a State and Local Government Climate Change Sector Agreement. Also in 2008 the Local Government Association of SA Mutual Liability Scheme (LGA MLS), insurers to the local government sector, required every council state-wide to participate in a climate change risk assessment process. 

The process was complicated and far reaching, the required resources and funds were significant. Opposition has been at times frequent and outputs can be technical and difficult to communicate. However, the collaborative partnership approach provides a wealth of resources; capacity to leverage funds and other resources from external sources; innovative ideas; champions with a wide range of knowledge; and perspectives and expanded opportunities for solutions.

Risks and Impacts Addressed 

Climate change impacts in South Australia include:

·         More record hot days and heatwaves affecting human health

·         Changing rainfall patterns and higher temperatures posing risks to agricultural areas and urban water supplies

·         Rising sea levels increasing vulnerability in coastal towns and infrastructure.

Drivers for Adaptation Action 

Adaptation statewide built upon earlier mitigation action and was enhanced at the state government level with the development of the Climate Change Adaptation Sector Agreements and at the local government level as a result of pressure by reinsurers to develop climate change risk assessments for every Council.

Outcomes Achieved 

·         State-wide climate change resilience and adaptive capacity

·         Council risk assessments

·         Regional integrated climate change adaptation plans

·         Specific research project outputs.