Climate Change Adaptation - Local Government

Net Balance’s flair for innovation and our underlying drive towards understanding ‘tomorrow’s agenda’, lead us to seek unique solutions for climate risk management. In particular, we have a track record in taking a unique approach to help local governments to respond and prepare for climate change. We focus on developing collaborative relationships, using adaptive management and robust decision making approaches to managing and preparing for climate change. 

We have a strong track record working with local government on adaptation and have developed a publicly available Adaptation Toolkit to assist organisations to incorporate climate change considerations across an organisation’s everyday operations.

Some recent local government projects that we have delivered are outlined below.

Climate change adaptation prioritisation tool - City of Melbourne

Net Balance has built a robust yet dynamic decision making framework and tool to assist the City of Melbourne to prioritise their adaptation actions. Based on the key principles of risk management outlined in ISO 31000 Risk Management Standard, the Prioritisation tool provides a systematic approach to ranking the Council’s adaptation actions. The tool prioritises based on the answers to key questions, such as how each action copes with the uncertainty of climate change, the effectiveness of the action to reduce risk and delivery of other additional benefits. The tool also includes consideration of project inter-dependencies and implementation lead times, which are key considerations when deciding on which actions to commence and when. 

The design of the tool is flexible, enabling additional actions to be included at any point in future, and most importantly, the tool balances the complexity associated with climate risk and adaptation actions within a user-friendly format. 

For City of Melbourne the tool ensures transparency of the decision making process surrounding the implementation of adaptation actions, provides a complete list of actions and progress of implementation, but most importantly it provides an efficient way to prioritise actions against robust adaptation criteria, which can then be fed into other council processes. 

Climate change adaptation strategy - City of Greater Geelong

Net Balance developed a climate change adaptation strategy for the City of Greater Geelong in 2011, which continues to set the bench mark for embedding climate adaptation into organisational processes today. Net Balance understood that the project required strong engagement and commitment from all levels of Council and achieved this by delivering a comprehensive engagement process. The project completed a climate change risk assessment and developed a framework to embed climate change considerations into business as usual decisions. To achieve this Net Balance built a strong understanding of the regional context and key local drivers influencing economic, social and environmental change in Geelong. Key to the success of the strategy was the strong working relationship developed with Council staff, which enabled the delivery of an innovative strategy with outputs that have recently been recognised on the national stage in the State of Australian Cities Report.

Infrastructure guidelines - City of Greater Geelong

Due to the often long time frames of infrastructure investment, Infrastructure guidelines are a must when organisations are seeking to embed climate change considerations throughout their operations. Net Balance has updated the City of Greater Geelong’s Infrastructure Development Guidelines, to ensure that all new infrastructure commissioned by the Council considers climate change. Using a principle based approach, Net Balance effectively balanced the engineering requirement of strict design specifications with that of the requirements for responding to an uncertain climate. The outcome for the Council was the inclusion of climate change considerations in the guidelines, and increased understanding across the Council of the various methods and solutions to manage the uncertainty associated with climate projections.

A plan for delivering an Adaptation Action Plan - Hume

Net Balance developed a climate change adaptation strategy plan for the City of Hume. The approach was highly collaborative and focused on capacity building within Council. The project included the delivery and facilitation of workshops designed to engage a cross-organisation working group of up to 30 people in adaptation action. The project outcomes included the development of a clearly articulated plan owned by project participants to be implemented by the Council and more importantly an engaged Council ready to respond to climate change.