Making our way: Adaptive capacity and climate transition in Australia’s regional economies is a report from the Centre for Policy Development’s Sustainable Economy Program written by Dr Mara Hammerle and Toby Phillips.
The report looks at how government and communities can build locally-led responses to climate transition “from the ground up”.
Making our way examines the regional economies most affected by climate transition, and develops a multi dimensional, analytical framework that assesses their ability to adapt to change.
Making our way proposes and applies a framework to assess the adaptive capacity of ten local government areas affected by economic changes during the climate transition.
It provides guidance to policymakers on how to create responses to climate transition “from the ground up” with local communities.
A just transition puts the people most affected at the front of the pack for jobs, opportunities and projects.
Simply replacing anchor industries is not enough. Transition measures must increase economic diversity so local economies are more resilient, support projects that build on community strengths, and be shaped by leaders on the ground.
Taking this approach at a local level will help diversify our national economy, making Australia more resilient to global shifts that result from addressing climate change.
Having common data, approaches and understandings between levels of government will equip them to work better, faster and more cooperatively with affected communities.
Adaptive capacity describes a local economy’s ability to adjust to change. Making our way measures this capacity in 11 local government areas (LGAs) affected by climate transition.
It develops and applies a framework for measuring adaptive capacity using ten indicators across seven dimensions, including economic diversity, innovation and access to services.Communities with high levels of adaptive capacity will be better equipped to navigate change
Making our way finds that most communities affected by transition are below the regional average in economic diversity, access to services, and social capital.
However, the report also finds that the LGAs differ in many important aspects, underscoring the necessity of discrete transition plans instead of a one-size-fits-all approach.
While LGAs in NSW and Collie in WA benefit from dynamic local economies and strong domestic market connections that provide a good base to build upon with general business support, LGAs in the Pilbara and Central Queensland likely require more extensive planning and infrastructure investment due to their more highly-concentrated economies and fewer connections to nearby markets.
By leveraging the adaptive capacity framework, governments can better understand the specific strengths, needs and capabilities of local communities, and work with them to develop more effective and appropriate responses.
The Making our way report recommends:
Local transition plans that aim for resilience and adaptability rather than just new anchor industries;
Transition responses built “from the ground up” with local communities
Governments collaborating on realistic, ambitious plans for affected regions
Local governments identifying strengths and weaknesses in adaptive capacity
State and Federal governments providing funds, coordination and policy frameworks
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