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Knowledge and Research

Legislation, Policy and Action Plans

  • A Climate Change Action Plan and the South Australia Responding to Climate Change fact sheet have been developed by the South Australian Government, which identify actions that will tackle climate change. These actions include the following, and should be imbedded into the relevant lead agency’s business plan and progress against them reported annually:
    • clean energy – accelerate renewable energy production and develop a renewable hydrogen industry
    • economy – facilitate investment and innovation for businesses and industry to engage in climate-ready strategies
    • agriculture, landscapes and habitats – build the climate resilience of our environment, including supporting our agriculture industries, water supplies and biodiversity, and managing our carbon emissions
    • transport – facilitate transport options that result in reducing greenhouse gas emissions
    • built and urban environments – plan and develop to reduce risk and build climate resilience
    • communities – engage with communities to support adaptation to climate change.
  • The Australian Government has introduced the Climate Change Act 2022 that has established Australia’s greenhouse gas emission reduction targets and requires the government to provide an annual statement on climate change.
  • The South Australian Government was the first Australian state to legislate targets to reduce emissions as prescribed in South Australia’s Climate Change and Greenhouse Emissions Reduction Act 2007. This Act will soon be reviewed to update greenhouse gas emission targets and strengthen climate action.
  • The South Australian Government is developing a Hydrogen and Renewable Energy Act and established the Office of Hydrogen Power South Australia to facilitate the growth of sustainable renewable energy projects across the state. The Act is proposed to introduce a ‘one stop shop’ for the licensing and regulation of large-scale hydrogen and renewable energy projects.
  • The South Australia’s Green Paper on the Energy Transition discusses opportunities and challenges as South Australia transitions to a net-zero-emissions future.
  • Climate change provides information about the EPA’s role in supporting South Australia’s response to climate change for 2021–25.
  • The Planning Institute of Australia’s Achieving Net Zero Emissions outlines planning policies that are required to support the reduction in emissions from five key sectors, which include energy, manufacturing, built environment, transport, and agriculture, forestry and land use.
  • Planning for Climate Change identifies how the South Australian planning system is responding to the challenges and opportunities of climate change to ensure that development does not increase vulnerability to climate change, and contributes to climate change mitigation and directs development away from areas prone to hazards now and in the future.
  • The South Australian Fire and Emergency Services Commission has developed a Disaster Resilience Strategy to help our government and community build their capacity and resilience to respond to extreme events. SAFECOM also administers a number of grant programs that aim to build disaster resilience and risk reduction. South Australia’s future social, economic and environmental impacts from natural disasters will depend on the extent of proactive and well-targeted investment in climate change adaptation and improved resilience to natural disasters.

Climate-ready Industries and Communities

  • Climate-ready industry activities include the following:
    • South Australia’s multibillion-dollar grain industry is actively working on innovation as part of its future responses to climate change, via the SA Grain Industry Blueprint.
    • South Australian livestock and grain producers are being offered subsidised access to leading advisers and group workshop learning to assist them with facing adverse climate and other challenges through the AgRi-Silience program, which is a Livestock SA project. The project is part of the Farm Business Resilience Program and is jointly funded by the national Future Drought Fund and the South Australian Government.
    • Wine growers are addressing the resilience and environmental footprint of their industry and exploring more sustainable options, which are increasingly being demanded by consumers and retailers.
  • Climate-ready communities include the following:
    • The Local Government Association is facilitating collaboration between councils to share information and resources about climate change, ways of adapting and resilience building for communities. Regional Climate Partnerships have also been established to initiate actions that will strengthen the climate resilience of their regions.
    • South Australia has developed a Disaster Resilience Strategy 2019–2024 in response to the changing climate that will help identify how we prepare for, respond to and recover from emergencies. This strategy is planned to be reviewed by SAFECOM in 2024.
    • Urban greening is being facilitated through approaches such as water sensitive urban design to address urban heat islands, which are urban hot spots resulting from highly paved, concreted and densely built suburbs. These heat islands will intensify with rising temperatures and falling rainfall from climate change, and the health and wellbeing impacts of these can be mitigated by retaining existing vegetation on both public and private land, designing more green space into future developments and improving green space in existing developments. Developers have also found that greener suburbs are more attractive to purchasers, offsetting the costs of incorporating more green space.
    • South Australia has also been identified as having the weakest tree protection laws in the nation. A review that is currently underway needs to be completed regarding our tree laws and recommendations implemented, if appropriate, to help protect South Australia’s biodiversity that continues to decline.

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