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About this Website

About this website

Climate Ready’s website is for residents, holiday home owners and businesses in the Bayside City Council, Kingston City Council and Mornington Peninsula Shire areas. It will help you prepare for climate change in the long term.

Here you’ll find information about the effects climate change may have on your property and lifestyle, especially changes in the frequency or severity of flood, fire, drought and heatwave. You’ll also find detailed explanations of these climate change risks and understand why it’s important to prepare, even if these risks seem a long way off. The truth is, it’s already happening.

At centre is the Climate Ready action plan – a step-wise tool designed for anyone in the area, regardless of who you are, where you live or what brings you here.

It describes the choices available, depending on which climate change risks are most likely to affect you. Once you’ve chosen the best actions to take, the website becomes a detailed guide on how to take them. You’ll also be able to find out what others with similar climate change risks are doing.

The website is for long term planning, not dealing with emergency situations. You should always get in touch with local emergency services if there is an immediate threat to property or your safety.

Although you’ll also learn a few things about reducing greenhouse emissions, this is an added benefit, not the main purpose.  If wanting to take action on this, your local Council already has a range of programs to get involved in.

Climate Ready is a collaboration between Bayside City Council, Kingston City Council, Mornington Peninsula Shire and Federation University Australia, with funding and support by the Victorian government. 

About climate change

The Earth’s atmosphere has warmed significantly over the past 200 years, and this is largely due to human activity, not just natural processes. The rise in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere is trapping heat, causing land and oceans to warm at an alarming rate.

The result is changes to global and local weather patterns, for instance in the frequency and intensity of rainfall, or experiencing more extreme weather events, such as storms, heatwaves and periods of drought. This is happening worldwide, and we should be concerned about how this will affect our environment, economy and wellbeing in the years to come.

'Evidence of human influence on the climate system has strengthened over the past decades. Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes'.

Source - Climate Change in Australia – Projections for Australia’s NRM Regions

What are the causes of climate change?

Climate change is caused by excess carbon being trapped in the Earth’s atmosphere, causing atmospheric warming and a change in global climate patterns.

The greatest source of this carbon pollution is burning fossil fuels for energy, such as coal, oil and natural gas, as well as clearing land and some agricultural practices.

Carbon has entered the atmosphere for millions of years from forest fires, volcanoes and other natural events, but the carbon in greenhouse gases produced by humans is creating the highest levels of greenhouse pollution ever in the past 800,000 years.  That’s why we call this the ‘enhanced’ greenhouse effect.

Enhanced greenhouse effect explained

Watch this animation to learn how human activities are increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Global warming is a direct result of the enhanced greenhouse effect.

An illustrated animation of the Enhanced greenhouse effect. The 6 steps in the animation are provided below.

Greenhouse effect

Step 1: Solar radiation reaches the Earth's atmosphere - some of this is reflected back into space.
Step 2: The rest of the sun's energy is absorbed by the land and the oceans, heating the Earth.
Step 3: Heat radiates from Earth towards space.
Step 4: Some of this heat is trapped by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, keeping the Earth warm enough to sustain life.
Step 5: Human activities such as burning fossil fuels, agriculture and land clearing are increasing the amount of greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere.
Step 6: This is trapping extra heat, and causing the Earth's temperature to rise.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2013

Current climate impacts in Australia

The following maps and charts illustrate what climate change effects are already happening in Australia. Use the links if you’d like to study the detail.

The State of the Climate Report (BoM/CSIRO, 2014) provides a summary of climate changes currently happening in Australia.

WARMING

  • Australia’s climate has warmed by 0.9°C since 1910, and the frequency of extreme weather has changed, with more extreme heat and fewer cool extremes.

Australia's mean temperature warming

TEMPERATURES

  • Australian temperatures are projected to continue to increase, with more extremely hot days and fewer extremely cool days.

Projected temperature increase

RAINFALL

  • Rainfall averaged across Australia has slightly increased since 1900, with the largest increases in the northwest since 1970.

Rainfall averages

  • Rainfall has declined since 1970 in the southwest, dominated by reduced winter rainfall. Autumn and early winter rainfall has mostly been below average in the southeast since 1990.
  • Average rainfall in southern Australia is projected to decrease, and heavy rainfall is projected to increase over most parts of Australia.

Rainfall decile ranges

SEA LEVELS

  • Sea-level rise and ocean acidification are projected to continue.

Sea-level rise and ocean acidfication

FIRE WEATHER

  • Extreme fire weather has increased, and the fire season has lengthened, across large parts of Australia since the 1970s.

Extreme fire weather increases

Current climate impacts in Australia - images source: The Australian Bureau of Meteorology

WIND AND WEATHER

Learn about the main winds affecting Australian weather
The Climate Dogs are four of the drivers that influence Victoria’s Climate (8:59m).

Find out how 'Mojo', the fifth Climate Dog, has an impact on our weather (1:28m).

 

Climate change in the South Eastern Suburbs

Climate change won’t have the same effect across Australia, since prevailing weather patterns and the local geography have an influence.

The Bayside, Kingston and Mornington Peninsula Council areas are in a region referred to as the Southern Slopes.  

The climate change effects we expect in this region include:

  • Average temperature increases in all seasons.
  • More hot days and warm spells.
  • Fewer frosts.
  • Generally less rainfall in winter and spring.
  • Changes to summer and autumn rainfall is also possible, but we’re less certain of that.
  • Extreme daily rainfalls becoming more intense.  
  • Sea level rise will continue, as will the height of extreme sea level events.
  • More intense bushfires.

Check the FAQs for more about why the climate is getting warmer, how this a serious issue for everyone on Earth, and the difference between weather and climate.

Climate Changes Risks

Based on the most up to date climate science, the risks in the Bayside, Kingston and Mornington Peninsula Shire areas are flood and storm, coastal inundation, sea level rise, drought, fire and heatwave.  

Brochures and accompanying data sheets on the basic science and effects of climate change across Victoria can be found at www.climatechange.vic.gov.au/understand.

The following explains each climate change risk, what projections tell us and how this is likely to affect our lives and our environment in the future.  This is background to preparing your own action plan.  See Prepare for a summary of the kind of actions you can take for each climate change risk. Full details and how-to steps are explained once you’ve started your plan.

 

Flood iconFlood

Climate change is expected to increase the risk of flooding due to heavier rainfall and more severe storms.  It may rain less often, but when it does rain, storms will be more extreme.  The most common flooding types in Australia are flash flooding from short intense bursts of rainfall, overflowing rivers or from coastal inundation.

Flash flooding can be particularly serious in older urban areas where small creeks or drainage systems may not cope.  Low lying coastal areas may also be at risk from very high tides during storms and strong winds.

If you are near creeks, rivers, major storm water drains or low-lying coastal areas, or have already experienced flash flooding, you should include flood risk in your climate ready action plan.

Flooded walkway

 

How will increased flooding impact our region?

  • Houses, businesses and infrastructure such as roads, paths and bridges will be damaged.
  • Water and sewerage systems will be disrupted.
  • Transport services, electricity and telecommunications infrastructure will also be disrupted.
  • There will be higher levels of pollution in storm and flood water.
  • Sedimentation will increase in wetlands and waterways.
  • Demand for emergency services and their costs will rise.
  • Erosion will damage waterway plants.
  • Food may become less available.
  • As a community, we may experience social stress and disruption.

Here are two examples of what residents experienced when their homes were flooded.  Both highlight the importance of being ready for a flood and having a Home Emergency Plan and Kit.

The first describes the impact of a flood in Elwood and Middle Park on their lives and business. (5:22m)

The second describes an outer suburban situation. (7:00m)

 

Fire iconFire

While fire is a natural part of Victoria’s environment and has been for millions of years, the intensity and frequency of bushfires is expected to increase with climate change due to a combination of higher maximum temperatures, higher evaporation rates and reduced rainfall.

In the 2013-2014 season, Victoria had:

  • 19 days of Extreme and Severe Fire Danger Rating.
  • 16 days of Total Fire Ban.
  • More than 463,000 hectares of public and private land burnt.
  • 80 homes destroyed.

Photo of McCrae freeway fire

 

Bushfire weather in SE Australia: Recent trends and projected climate change impacts

This table shows the percent changes in the number of days with very high and extreme fire weather conditions expected in 2020 and 2050, relative to 1990.

 

 

2020

2050

 

Low global
warming

(+0.4°C)

High global
warming

(+1°C)

Low global
warming

(+0.7°C)

High global
warming

(+2.9°C)

Very high

+2-13%

+10-30%

+5-23%

+20-100%

Extreme

+5-25%

+15-65%

+10-50%

+100-300%

Sourced from Lucas, C., K. Hennessy, G Mills and J. Bathols (2007), "Bushfire weather in SE Australia: Recent trends and projected climate change impacts", Bushfire CRC, Australian Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO, Melbourne.

How will increased bushfire affect our region?

  • Public facilities such as schools, medical facilities, reserves and parks will be at greater risk.
  • Roads and railways will be at greater risk.
  • Demand for emergency response and recovery will increase.
  • Air quality will decrease, with effects on public and personal health.
  • We could lose already threatened species due to increased predation, loss of habitats, soil erosion and sedimentation in streams. 
  • Those most at risk are in the urban fringe, semi-rural properties next to bushland, and households with elderly residents who might have difficulty defending their homes.
  • As a community, we may experience social stress and disruption.

If you live in a fire risk area or have already experienced a bushfire, you should include a fire risk assessment in your Climate Ready action plan.

 

Drought iconDrought

Climate change is likely to cause significant decreases in average rainfall in the Bayside, Kingston and Mornington Peninsula Council areas, resulting in lower catchment water flows and more frequent and severe droughts.

Image showing rainfall decreases and drought increases

 

Photo of water storage impacted by drought

 

How will increased drought affect our region?

  • There will be greater pressures on agriculture, food supply and potable (drinking) water supply.
  • Droughts will become more frequent and severe.  
  • Water prices are likely to increase.
  • Water-dependent businesses such as nurseries, garden services, water suppliers and retailers may experience financial losses.
  • There will be less water in wetlands, creeks, rivers and damns.
  • Native plants and animals will be more stressed.
  • It will become more expensive to maintain infrastructure such as roads and buildings.
  • There will be less water to maintain parks, gardens, playing fields and other recreational areas.
  • Those most at risk will be households not connected to mains water supply and low-income households.

If you are in an area where drought is likely to affect your property or lifestyle, or if you’ve already experienced drought conditions, you should include a drought risk assessment in your Climate Ready action plan.

 

Heatwave iconHeatwave

A heatwave is an extended period of excessive heat, caused by a combination of temperature, humidity and air movement.

Heatwaves are the most underrated of natural disasters, since the bushfires that often happen at the same time tend to get most of the attention.  In Australia heatwaves have caused the greatest loss of life of any natural hazard, except from disease.

See: http://www.australia.gov.au/about-australia/australian-story/natural-disasters

Heatwave can affect anybody.  It can also affect the power supply, public transport and other services we rely on.  Heatwaves can make existing medical conditions worse and cause a heat-related illness, which may be fatal. 

Hotter, lasting longer and occuring more often

Heatwaves are becoming hotter, lasting longer and occurring more often

  • Over the period 1971–2008, the duration and frequency of heatwaves increased and the hottest days during heatwaves became even hotter.
  • The frequency of hot days has doubled in Australia in the last 50 years.  In the last decade alone, hot weather records have occurred three times more often than cold weather records.
  • Adelaide, Melbourne and Canberra are experiencing more intense hot weather than expected.  The increase in hot weather during 2000–2009 has already reached the best estimate projections for 2030.
  • The southeast of Australia stands out as being at increased risk from many extreme weather events, especially heatwaves, drought and bushfires.

Source - Heatwaves: Hotter, Longer, More Often by Professor Will Steffen, Professor Lesley Hughes and Dr. Sarah Perkins.
Creative Commons logo
© Climate Council of Australia Limited 2014

Photo of beach during heatwave conditions

 

How will increasing heatwaves affect our region?  

  • There will be greater pressure on hospitals and community services to care for vulnerable people.
  • Disruption to electricity supplies and public transport services (e.g. trains) will become more frequent.
  • Schools or workplaces may need to be closed more often.
  • Some people will increasingly experience heat-related illness such as heat cramps, heat exhaustion and heat stroke, existing medical conditions may worsen, and there may be more deaths amongst the most vulnerable.

If you are in an area where heatwave is likely to affect you, or if you’ve already experienced heatwave conditions, you should include a heat risk assessment in your Climate Ready action plan.

 

Storm iconStorm

Storms can happen anywhere, at any time of the year. The violent disturbance of the atmosphere is often accompanied by strong winds, intense rainfall, large hailstones and lightning.

Climate change may not result in an increase in the frequency of storms, but the storms we will experience are likely to be more intense, causing significant damage to homes, businesses and community infrastructure.

Photo of a storm event on the Mornington foreshore

 

How will storms affect you?

  • Falling trees and large branches may cause property damage.
  • Trampolines, outdoor furniture and poorly secured iron and tiles from roofing may become flying objects in very strong winds.
  • Intense rainfall may cause flash flooding.
  • Power outages, public transport delays or cancellations and more congestion on our roads often happen during or immediately after intense storms.
  • Storms can damage crops and orchards resulting in poorer quality and more expensive fresh produce.

Most areas experience storms from time to time, so you should include a storm risk assessment in your Climate Ready action plan.

Coastal iconSea Level Rise

As global temperatures warm and polar ice melts, sea levels are expected to rise.

The 2009 Australian government report on Climate Change Risks to Australian Coasts (pdf 10.97 Mb) found that:

  • Between 27,600 and 44,600 residential buildings in Victoria may be at risk of inundation from a sea level rise of 1.1 metres and storm tides of a 1-in-100 year storm.
  • The current replacement value of residential buildings at risk is between $6.5 billion and $10.3 billion.
  • Around 70% of residential buildings at risk in Victoria are in the Kingston, Hobsons Bay, Greater Geelong, Wellington and Port Phillip Council areas.
  • There are approximately 4,700 residential buildings located within 110 metres of ‘soft’ erodible shorelines.

In 2012, the Global Mean Sea Level was 225 mm higher than in 1880, and levels are currently rising by 3.1mm per year.  Projections indicate that sea levels will continue to rise and 1-in-100 year storm tides will become more frequent.  The number of properties at risk of coastal inundation may actually be understated, especially along the Port Phillip Bay coastline, due to the low resolution of topographic data.  The Victorian Government has asked local authorities to begin planning for a sea level rise of no less than 0.8m by 2100.

How will sea level rise affect our coast?

  • The risk of damage to coastal infrastructure, services and natural environments will increase, affecting roads, foreshores, boating facilities, and residential and commercial properties.
  • Drainage will become less effective due to more intense and frequent storm surges and floods.
  • Low income households and elderly households will be most vulnerable.
  • Businesses that depend on beach-related and coastal tourism may see a downturn.
  • Low lying coastal areas will become especially at risk of flooding.
  • Salinity of rivers, bays and coastal aquifers will increase.
  • Erosion will increase and shorelines will retreat and narrow.

 

Coastal iconCoastal Inundation

Coastal inundation is flooding of normally dry, low lying land along coasts, estuaries and adjoining rivers.  The primary causes are storm surges combined with high tides (storm tides) and extreme wave events.  Flooding can become worse in estuaries due to excessive rainfall in coastal catchments.

Sea level rise on its own will not have the greatest impact on the coast – the greatest impacts will come from sea level rise combined with extreme weather events.  For example, extreme flooding will happen when higher sea levels combine with storm surges, high or king tides and windstorms.

How will coastal inundation affect our coast?

  • Many coastal areas in the Western Port region are likely to see inundation happen more often due to the combined effects of sea level rise, storm surges and erosion.  These include low lying sandy beaches, tidal wetlands and erodible cliffs.
  • Storm surges will happen more often.  With sea level rise, the current 1-in-100 year storm surge average may happen once every 30 years in 2030, and an alarming once every five years in 2070.
  • The risk of damage to properties and infrastructure will be greater.  The number and value of properties at risk of a 1-in-100 year storm surge are expected to increase by 4% to 5% by 2030, and by 18% to 20% by 2070.
  • The region’s tourism industry and businesses will be affected.
  • Loss of coastal Crown and private land is likely.
  • Losses to local biodiversity, amenity and damage to places with heritage value are also likely.
  • There will be greater threats to human safety, including cliff hazards as erosion increases.

Source: The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Settlements in the Westernport Region; People, Property and Places Final report June 2008 (pdf 1.24 Mb)

 

Climate Adaptation in Your Region

Climate Adaptation

Weather and climate touch all aspects of Australian life.  What we experience here at home is part of the global climate system.  This website focuses on building community resilience to climate change over the long term.  It will help you understand why it’s important to prepare your own personalised Climate Ready action plan.

What is climate adaptation?

Adaptation is a process of adjusting to what we know or anticipate is on its way.  By adapting to climate change we can become Climate Ready. 

With climate change being one of the most important challenges facing us today, adaptation is everyone’s responsibility – individuals, families and households, business and government.  Without taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for a changing climate, we will see major adverse effects on the environment, our society and our economy in the years to come.

What is climate readiness?

Being Climate Ready means finding out about the likely effects climate change will have on your property, lifestyle and general circumstances, and making a plan to manage the risks.  Residents in the area from Bayside City Council through to Mornington Peninsula Shire may experience more intense floods and storms, more frequent and prolonged periods of drought and heatwave, coastal inundation, sea level rise and greater fire risks as a result of climate change. 

Adaptation is about increasing public and private resilience to climate risks through better decisions about managing our built and natural environment and taking advantage of opportunities.  Managing risk and adapting to climate change is the responsibility shared by everyone - all levels of government and business, communities and individuals.
Source: Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Plan (pdf 4.35 Mb)

Government Climate Change Action

All levels of Government are taking action to adapt to climate change, including mitigation such as reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  The Victorian State Government is working with local governments, businesses and communities across the state to develop effective climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies.  The Victorian State government climate change website provides information about climate change and the steps they are taking to reduce the impacts and adapt to the effects of climate change. See more at: www.climatechange.vic.gov.au

What your Council is Doing About Climate Change

Each local government area has a unique geography and population.  Although their priorities may differ, all Councils are taking action to adapt to climate change.  Find out what your local Council is doing.

  • Bayside City Council

    Bayside City Council actively promotes the social, economic and environmental viability of the municipality, and preparing for climate change is an important part of this.  Bayside’s approach involves:

    • Leading by example by reducing its own greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Assessing and understanding the local risks posed by climate change.
    • Adapting to the effects which climate change is likely to have on assets and services provided to the community.
    • Helping the community adapt through information and education.
    • Advocating for the local community’s interests at state and national levels.

    Key areas Council is working on are:

    Protecting essential infrastructure

    Infrastructure can last many years, so may be affected climate change in the long term.

    Activities include developing climate change infrastructure checklists; identifying and monitoring the infrastructure assets at risk; monitoring design standards for infrastructure and updating design briefs; reviewing maintenance programs for critical drains and areas prone to flooding; using Water Sensitive Urban Design techniques, such as rain gardens and swales to manage flooding; and stormwater capture projects in open spaces.

    Protecting parks, open spaces, waterways and biodiversity

    Climate change threatens open space and trees as a result of increased flooding and extreme heat. 

    Activities include stormwater precinct projects for key amenities; using a sustainable water management approach; accounting for climate change in tree management programs; protecting open space by planting trees that give more shade, improving air quality and reducing heat absorption from hard surfaces; controlling weeds and pests; planting drought tolerant species in open spaces; developing biodiversity corridors and habitats for wildlife; carrying out revegetation projects and protecting biodiversity along the coast.

    Community resilience to increased heat and flooding risks

    Bayside has a significantly large aging population and a small but increasing number of families with infants.  These groups, and people living in homes with poor heat control, are particularly at risk of heat stress. 

    Council’s Heatwave Plan and its Climate Friendly Seniors Project are two initiatives which inform and help these people deal with heat related risks.  Council also reviews and updates town planning controls for flood protection and mitigation regularly, particularly through flood mapping, assessing flood hot spots and developing localised solutions as needed.

    Managing the risks of sea level rise

    Bayside is working with several other Councils bordering Port Phillip Bay, and with government agencies involved in the management of coastal areas.

    Council activities include: improving how decisions are made for climate change planning; conducting detailed coastal vulnerability assessments to understand which locations are most at risk from sea level rise; preparing planning policies to guide planning decisions about the effects of future sea level rise, storm surge and erosion along the coast; reviewing the Bayside Coastal Strategy and coastal action plans; design and material selection guidelines for coastal areas; and designing or upgrading coastal facilities to be more adaptable to climate change, for instance through better protection, raising or relocating.

    Helping the community minimise impacts and realise opportunities

    With growing interest in healthier, greener living, Council has sustainable living programs to help households reduce their ecological footprint, become more energy efficient and better able to adapt to climate change.

    Council activities include: providing information which helps the community take advantage of broader government action on climate change, including information about renewable energy rebates and incentives; advocating on behalf of the community on climate change policies and programs; and playing its important part in emergency management.

  • Kingston City Council

    Kingston City Council includes climate adaptation in many of its strategies, strategically under the Council Plan heading of ‘Sustainability in Council.’  The full list of Council strategies can be found at Find a Strategy or Plan.

    Council’s key strategies, plans and activities for climate change adaptation and readiness include:

    Energy Efficiency Strategy

    The Energy Efficiency Strategy focuses on actions which reduce Council’s own energy use and emissions. The Strategy follows the carbon management principles of investing in efficiencies before off-sets.

    Integrated Water Cycle Strategy

    The Integrated Water Cycle Strategy acknowledges that there are many linked parts to the water cycle, and that, particularly in urban environments such as Kingston, we need to use water in a smarter way.  The strategy outlines the steps we need to take to become a “water sensitive city” by 2040.  Some of the most significant issues are water security, stormwater and groundwater quality, flooding, poor waterway health, and making better use of waste water and alternative water sources. 

    The video "Journey towards a Water Sensitive City" (4:25m) illustrates Council's approach and the projects involved.

    South East Councils Climate Change Alliance

    Kingston is a member of the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA).  Eight local Councils in the Port Phillip and Western Port catchment area make up the alliance.  SECCCA develops and delivers projects that foreshadow climate change and the risks it poses in the region, and together are a more effective voice than each Council working on its own.  Learn more at SECCCA’s website: http://www.seccca.org.au/

    Association of Bayside Municipalities

    The ABM represents over one million Victorians, comprising ten councils around Port Phillip Bay, acting as a collective voice to advocate on issues at local, regional and state level that relate to coastal management.  Learn more at the ABM’s websitehttp://www.abm.org.au/

    The Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership

    The Victorian Adaptation and Sustainability Partnership (VAS Partnership) helps state and local governments collaborate on climate adaptation and environmental sustainability issues.   The Climate Ready project is one example of a VAS partnership project.  Other examples at Kingston include a project assessing the economic value of green infrastructure, the Financial Risk Adaption Planning Process (FRAPP) and the Plan for Port Phillip Bay – a regional coastal adaptation framework.

    Improving Kingston’s Beaches

    Kingston’s foreshore stretches over 13 kilometres.  As the sole Committee of Management for this, Kingston conducts a range of activities to protect and enhance the coastline, including conserving significant flora species, maintaining recreational facilities and responsibility for foreshore fire management.  See Council’s Foreshore page for more information on local beach improvements.

    Coastal Management Plan

    The aim of Kingston’s Coastal Management Plan is to:

    • Identify which coastal values to protect, manage and restore.
    • Guide the foreshore’s future use and development.
    • Coordinate decision making and management on matters affecting the foreshore.
    • Engage with the community and our key stakeholders.
    • Establish an agreement between Kingston City Council (as the Committee of Management), the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the local community on how Kingston’s foreshore should be managed.
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council

    Mornington Peninsula Shire has been preparing for climate change for over a decade now.

    Early initiatives included development of a Renewable Energy Fund, Land Sustainability Rebate Fund and advocating for protection of the Green Wedge.  More recently, Mornington Peninsula has shown a strong commitment to carbon neutrality and embracing new technologies.  Over the next five years the Shire will reduce its corporate emissions as much as possible and work with the community to do the same.

    Mornington Peninsula Shire’s approach to climate change is firmly focused on community engagement, which was a key topic in our Your Community Your Future workshops in 2006.  In late 2007, the Renewable Resources Team was established to directly tackle climate change and the key issues of water, waste and energy conservation.

    Through its active involvement with the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance, Mornington Peninsula worked with the CSIRO in 2008 on a report to develop a detailed understanding how climate change will affect the locality.  The report, Impacts of Climate Change on Human Settlements in the Western Port Region: An Integrated Assessment, identifies the potential effects climate change may have on the region over the next 70 years.

    Mount Eliza Flood Alleviation Project - photo of pipes going into Canadian Bay Road

    Mount Eliza flood alleviation project - Laying pipes in Canadian Bay Road

    How is the Mornington Peninsula Shire Council addressing the issues identified in the CSIRO report?

    Droughts will be longer and more severe.  When it does rain the rain will be more intense leading to flash flooding and erosion.

    The Shire has reduced our use of potable (drinkable) water by 60% since 2002 by using recycled water for major sports grounds and planting drought tolerant grasses, as well as using water more efficiently in all our sports pavilions, public toilets and other buildings.  This saves an average of 75 Megalitres every year (1 Megalitre = 100, 000 litres).  In 2013 the Shire released its Smart Water Strategy to ensure a reliable and healthy water supply into the future.

    Temperature is predicted to rise by 3.5 degrees by 2070.

    Heatwaves are hard for any of us to cope with, but for the elderly or disabled, these heatwaves can be extremely dangerous and severely affect health.  Action plans have been developed to help the Shire assist elderly and disabled residents in these extreme heat conditions.  The Shire’s Heatwave Plan will also help the wider community withstand heatwaves, and protect assets such as roads and buildings.

    Reducing our greenhouse gas emissions.

    Mornington Peninsula is carrying out several projects to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions.

    Council Carbon Management

    • The Shire aims to become carbon neutral by 2020 and is currently developing a Carbon Neutral Policy and Implementation Plan.
    • The Shire’s 2013 Energy and Greenhouse Management Improvement Plan targets a 35% reduction in greenhouse gases from council buildings by 2017.  The plan focuses on improving energy efficiency in buildings through insulation, improved heating and cooling controls and installing energy efficient lights.
    • Removing methane gas from the Rye landfill and converting this to electricity.
    • Reducing the size of the Shire’s vehicle fleet.
    • Carrying out local renewable energy projects, such as purchasing solar power for 11 community halls.

    Renewable energy

    • The Shire has run several community group purchase schemes for solar power and solar hot water systems.  700 households have installed solar power as of 2015.

    Improving public transport and cycle paths

    • Public cycle paths have been built to encouraging cycling as an alternative to car travel.
    • From 2013 to 2015 the Shire ran Penbus, connecting students and job seekers on the Peninsula to tertiary education, training and employment opportunities.  The Shire is seeking further funding to continue the service.
    • In October 2015, the Shire released the Sustainable Transport Strategy for public comment.
    • The Shire supports the not-for-profit organisation Peninsula Transport Assist, a vehicle and volunteer sharing network that links volunteer drivers with residents in need of transport.

    Education

    • Tours at our Eco Living Display Centre educate residents on how to save water and energy, and reduce waste at home and in the garden.
    • A curriculum-linked schools education program is offered at the Eco Living Display Centre on the themes of energy, water and waste.
    • There are monthly workshops at the Eco Living Display Centre on sustainable living.
    • The Sustainable Homes Program was delivered through local community centres and libraries.
    • The Shire supports local schools’ Environment Week each year, educating over 2,000 students on sustainable living and environmental protection.

    Community Engagement

    • The Sustainability Street and Transition Towns programs have been introduced across the Peninsula.
    • The Shire has hosted guest speakers on climate change, including Paul Hawkins.

    Sea level is predicted to rise by up to .49 m putting coastal communities and infrastructure at risk of erosion and flooding.

    Modelling sea level rise

    The Shire took part in the State Government’s Future Coasts program through the Coastal Vulnerability Assessment in Western Port.  This study gave us a detailed picture of how sea level rise will affect Western Port.  The Shire has also partnered with the Association for Bayside Municipalities on a federally funded study into the effect of climate change on coastal buildings and roads in Port Phillip Bay.  Studies such as these show us where sea level rise is most likely, and help plan better for the future.  We are currently working with four other Western Port Councils on the Western Port Local Coastal Hazards Assessment.  This study is investigating the potential impact of sea level rise in the Westernport Bay.

    Coastal Management Plans have also been completed to help protect foreshore areas.

     

    High fire risk weather will increase placing ecosystems, life and property at risk.

    The Shire spends $2.2 million each year on fire prevention and employs a state funded Municipal Emergency Fire Co-ordinator.  Planning controls have also been introduced in all fire prone areas.  We have also implemented Fire Management Plans for 220 bushland and drainage reserves and conducted over 40 fire walk and talk sessions with the community.

    Storms will be more frequent and severe damaging buildings and roads and placing greater strain on emergency services.

    The Shire is spending $30 million over 10 years to improve drainage.  A key aspect of this is developing a Local Integrated Drainage Strategy.  This strategy will plan upgrades to the Shire’s drainage system so it can cope better with the intense rainfall expected with climate change.

    Partnerships

    South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA)

    Mornington Peninsula Shire is part of the South East Councils Climate Change Alliance (SECCCA), a partnership with seven other local councils to develop and deliver climate change adaptation and mitigation projects at a regional level.

    The Shire is currently working with SECCCA on three projects:

    1. The State Government funded Financial Risk Adaptation Planning (FRAP) initiative.  This project helps Councils integrate climate-related risk into the corporate risk assessment processes and prepare financially for the less obvious impacts of climate change. 
    2. The Save it for the Game program helps sporting clubs identify and implement energy saving actions.
    3. The Energy Saver study is investigating how to assist the most vulnerable in our community to increase their household energy efficiency and support their health and wellbeing while reducing energy use.

    For more information on SECCCA and their projects visit www.seccca.org.au

    ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability (ICLEI)

    ICLEI is the world's leading association of cities and local governments dedicated to sustainable development.  The Shire is part of a collaboration of 12 mega-cities, 100 super-cities and urban regions, 450 large cities and 450 medium-sized cities and towns in 84 countries.

    The Shire works with local governments around the world to promote local action for global sustainability:

    • Supporting cities to become sustainable, resilient, resource efficient, biodiverse and low-carbon users.
    • Building smart infrastructure.
    • Developing an inclusive and green urban economy and ensuring healthy and happy communities into the future.

    For further information go to the ICLEI Global website: http://oceania.iclei.org/