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Parks Victoria's response

Parks Victoria is the agency responsible for managing parks and reserves within the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning's (DELWP's) portfolio.

Parks Victoria has been adapting to climate change impacts, such as increased bushfire, for the best part of a decade. We now need to look more systematically at climate change.

Adaptation planning for the parks system will align with the DELWP and Government policy directions and will be coordinated with the work and lead responsibilities of other Victorian government agencies.

This risk management approach aims to inform adaptation planning for park management. The program involves:

  • Mitigation
  • Adaptation
  • Research and evaluation
  • Communication

Assessing the risks

To prepare for the challenges posed by climate change, it is important to understand the risks and the nature of the impacts.

Parks Victoria completed a Strategic Risk Assessment following Australian standards and the Australian Government’s guide for climate change risk assessment.

The Climate Change Strategic Risk Assessment Report (December 2010) (PDF, 3.45MB) details the risks that climate change poses to Victoria’s parks and outlines an adaptation plan for areas managed by Parks Victoria. A risk assessment summary (PDF, 680KB) has also been prepared.

Six key areas of risk are highlighted in this risk assessment.  They are:

  1. Increased bushfire impacts
  2. Increased flood and storm impacts
  3. Hotter drier recreation conditions
  4. Increased and generalised ecosystem stress
  5. Four particular ecosystems at higher risk
  6. Increased financial and economic costs and impacts on organisational effectiveness

Next Steps

The Strategic Risk Assessment is an important first step in identifying and prioritising the risks posed to parks from climate change.

Parks Victoria's climate change response program has a two stream approach:

  • Actively dealing with extreme weather events that are unfolding here and now – fire, flood, storms and drought
  • Working with DELWP and others on long-term research and adaptation to permanent climate change impacts such as warming, permanent shifts in rainfall and sea level rise.

The next step is to develop adaptation responses that will:

  • Focus on priority climate change issues.
  • Use an adaptive management approach.
  • Achieve balance between climate and non-climate risks.
  • Focus on cost effective actions.

Parks Victoria will consult with the community and its stakeholders during the adaptation planning process. As draft plans and reports are developed, they will be available here.