Final SEQCARI Adaptation Options Main report

This report documents the final phase of the Human Settlements component of the of the broader three-year integrated multi-sectoral study of climate change adaptation options for South East Queensland (SEQ) – the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative (SEQ CARI). It builds on the study’s previous seven phases which involved: the identification and preliminary desktop analysis of key issues for SEQs human settlements; the selection, definition and description of appropriate case studies for closer examination of climate change; comprehensive literature reviews and document analyses in all five human settlement sectors; the development of preliminary adaptation options for the region and its six human settlement types; testing of preliminary adaptation options through a scenario planning process; and supplementary testing through further stakeholder engagement involving interviews, workshops and surveys.  These preceding phases led to, and informed, the development of specific sectoral and cross sectoral adaptation options. This phase involved a significant cross sectoral Human Settlements team effort and investment to synthesise the research findings through a series of team retreats and internal workshops.


All the Project Brief’s scope and intended outputs have been met along with the series of Human Settlements research questions. The three overarching principal project intentions that were relevant to the Human Settlements component have been addressed and the final suite of adaptation options contains adaptation programs that satisfy these applied requirements. Likewise, the eight principal research questions, along with the sector specific research questions have been addressed. The sectoral issues and trends previously identified in the first phase of the study have been addressed by the 21 policies, 95 programs, and 498 actions that have been developed across the Human Settlements component.


This study has been the first comprehensive regional study of climate change adaptation in Australia, and one of just a few worldwide. Its comprehensive nature is borne out through its coverage of the five principal Human Settlements sectors of: urban planning and management; coastal management; physical infrastructure related to local government; emergency management; and human health.


It is critical that relevant combinations of the proposed adaptation options, in the form of policies, programs and actions for each of the five sectors, are implemented to minimise SEQ’s vulnerability to future climate change impacts, including natural hazards. Failure to implement the appropriate adaptation options will continue to place the region, its settlements and population at risk. Furthermore, it could also lead to significant economic, social and environmental losses with further consequences for both the region’s liveability and sustainability.


The lack of scientific knowledge, the uncertainty associated with climate science and future risks from natural hazards, and the political sensitivities in dealing with climate change should not continue as a barrier to effective adaptation and delay the implementation of robust measures of adaption action to climate change with respect to human settlements which are characterised by major investments, long planning timelines and potentially vulnerable communities. This study has demonstrated that these barriers can be overcome through research strategies involving hypothetical case studies operating through a comprehensive scenario planning process. Participants involved in the extensive stakeholder engagement achieved in this human settlements study have also had opportunities to extend and improve their respective individual and institutional adaptive capacity to address climate change adaptation.


Whilst all of the adaptation options have been developed to address climate change, many of the recommended adaptation options represent no-regrets’ options where their implementation would contribute to improvements in the community, the landscape and society generally, regardless of climate change impacts. Thus it will be essential to identify particular ‘no-regret’ options (on a case by case basis), relevant to the particular case and circumstance when advocating for the funding of adaptation option packages.


Underpinning the whole Human Settlements approach to climate change adaptation is the notion of informed and confident political, private sector and community leadership, supported by an informed, engaged and prepared community that are reinforced through continuous awareness, training, education and capacity building programs that operate in a process of full stakeholder engagement leading to mutually agreed actions.  These initiatives are occurring in a process characterised by holistic and proactive responses and integrated and coordinated action, operating within mainstreamed adaptive management practices where a regional perspective cascades to local approaches which incorporate targeted responses.  All of these initiatives are supported by ongoing research.




Detailed Descriptions
ISBN 978-1-921760-82-2
Geographic and Temporal Extents
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Attributions and Constraints
CSIRO Climate Adaptation Flagship
Queensland Department of Community Safety Queensland Department of Environment and Resource Management Queensland Health International Water Centre Gold Cost City Council Queensland Department of Communities Sunshine Coast Public Hospital Unit Gold Coast Public Hospital Unit GECKO – Gold Coast and Hinterland Environment Council Queensland Police Service Surf Life Saving Australia The authors acknowledge the important contribution and cooperation of stakeholders from state and local government, non-government and community based organisations and private sector within SEQ who participated in the workshops, interviews and case study research. The Human Settlements team is very appreciative of the time and efforts of the Project Reference Group for their reviews, feedback and contribution to workshops. In particular, we wish to acknowledge and thank the following organisations : Australian Red Cross (Queensland) Queensland Coastal Council Group Sunshine Coast Regional Council Australian Institute of Emergency Services Urban Development Institute of Australia (Queensland Branch) Queensland Rural Fire Service Moreton Bay Regional Council Saint Vincent de Paul Emergency Management Queensland Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads Lockyer Valley Regional Council Queensland Department of Local Government and Planning State Emergency Service Property Council of Australia (Queensland) Queensland Council of Social Service Australian Coastal Society Local Government Association of Queensland Ipswich City Council SEQ Catchments
Darryl Low Choy, Silvia Serrao-Neumann, Florence Crick, Gemma Schuch, Marcello Sanò, Rudi van Staden, Oz Sahin, Ben Harman and Scott Baum, 2012, Adaptation Options for Human Settlements in South East Queensland – Main Report, unpublished report for the South East Queensland Climate Adaptation Research Initiative, Griffith University. This report should be cited as: