The natural and built environments in our region are protected from the impacts of climate change

Goal Feedback 2.2

Protecting the diverse flora and fauna in our region by working with existing landcare groups to tackle challenges on the ground

Our flora and fauna are already experiencing multiple threatening processes from pests, land modification and fragmentation. These threats are likely to be even more damaging under the influence of a changing climate.

We see signs that permanent headwaters and streams are becoming more intermittent and ephemeral in some parts of the regions. Sensitive environmental systems like the RAMSAR Wetlands, Redgum forests, and the Murray and grassy woodlands will be sensitive due to their water requirements.

We must respond with adequate and timely actions if we want to protect these species.

While there is an enormous amount of information on biodiversity, most of it hasn’t been put into the context of climate change which is a significant barrier to considered adaptation action.

Objective Feedback 2.2.1

Working with Traditional Owners to protect places of Cultural significance

Throughout the Loddon Mallee, even in the most developed regional cities like Bendigo, the landscape holds the imprint of thousands of generations of Aboriginal people.

While not always physically evident in the landscape, there are many places where our Aboriginal communities continue to practice culture. These include places for spiritual or ceremonial practices, as well as places where traditional plants or mineral resources occur and are traded.

Supporting Traditional Owners to manage the impacts of climate change on culturally significant places is essential. Inaction will carry a spiritual and cultural toll on Traditional Owners by significantly hampering their ability to practice cultural traditions passed down through countless generations.

These impacts include the destruction of cultural sites (as a result of floods, for example),  the disappearance of spiritually essential species (such as totem animals) and plants and animals used for traditional food, medicine and other cultural practices. There is also a health toll brought on by the suffering of experiencing the decline of their lands. They have a moral obligation to care.

Objective Feedback 2.2.2

Caring for our waterways and wetlands by working  with community organisations and water management agencies to best manage limited resources

The Loddon Mallee is home to many unique and significant waterbodies including RAMSAR wetland and the Murray, the Campaspe and the Loddon Rivers. Our towns, regional cities, industries and critically endangers species relay on these water assets as a resource and are highly valued by our community.

The region already has highly variable rainfall, and streamflow is now occurring against climate change. It’s essential to adapt our management practices to protect these water bodies. We are already experiencing drying trends in the recent decades that are projected to continue into the future. Managing these water assets will also be challenging under pressures from increasing demand and decreasing supply.

Understanding our variable climate and climate change impact locally on these assets is vital to ensure informed decision-making across responsible waterways and wetland authorities.

Objective Feedback 2.2.3

Support existing housing and building stock in the region to meet current energy and thermal comfort standards

Most of our existing housing and building stock in the region doesn’t meet the current energy or thermal comfort standard.

They were built without energy efficiency in mind, so get very hot in summer and cold in winter. We see the impact that has on people now. This situation will only worsen in a changing climate.

Objective Feedback 2.2.4

Protect historical buildings to weather the impacts of climate change

In our regional towns and cities, we have buildings that have cultural and historical significance to many communities.

Many of those assets are over one hundred years old and are already in poor condition.

If we want to have these assets for future generations, they will need protection from a future of harsher weather conditions. This requires investment in retrofitting older buildings with more insulation, double glazed windows, and shading devices where appropriate. Older appliance and heating/cooling systems can also be upgraded to reduce the overall energy usage.

Objective Feedback 2.2.5

Enabling our infrastructure to be climate ready by upgrading ageing assets to withstand more extreme weather events

It is important to protect the public assets that are important in our region, including roads, rail, electricity, water, waste services, and communications.

These essential services are vital to the economies, liveability, and ongoing future of the region. However, many of these services are ageing with regulation around construction not sized to handle the additional stressors of a more extreme climate. Thus, assessments of these services should be conducted, and all utilities at risk of the effects of a changing climate should be upgraded to withstand the added pressure.

Risk management is the primary purpose of banks and insurance agencies, so much of this work for the private sector is already underway. However, we are seeking to work at the community level to gage which public assets they see most at risk, which provide the most value, and what resources are required to protect them into the future.

Objective Feedback 2.2.6