Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) this week (March 16) approved allocating funds, subject to 2021/22 Budget deliberations, to develop a Climate Risk Management Strategy.

The item was adopted at the March Ordinary Meeting of Council.

TRC Planning and Development Committee chair Cr Megan O’Hara Sullivan said since joining the Queensland Climate Resilient Councils (Q CRC) program in November 2019, Council had been working with the program to understand the key risks associated with climate change in the Toowoomba Region.

“Working through the elements of the Q CRC program has placed Council in a better position to strengthen our organisation’s skills and capacity to plan for, and respond to, the challenges posed by climate change, as well as any opportunities that arise,” Cr O’Hara Sullivan said.

“Council is implementing parts of the Climate Risk Management process through the work that is being performed as part of the Toowoomba Region Futures program (to prepare a new planning scheme), disaster management planning, enterprise risk management and a range of other TRC programs and operational activities.

“Council will prepare its strategy using the Climate Risk Management Framework for Queensland Local Government, which has been developed by the Q CRC program based on leading national and international processes and practices.

“By using the framework and guideline, Council will be in a position to develop a clear policy position and strategy on how it plans to deal with climate risk.

“Funding the strategy will allow Council to advance its planning response and preparedness to manage the risks associated with the effects of climate change.

“Council’s Planning and Development Group will lead the organisation’s development of a Climate Risk Management Strategy for the Toowoomba Region.”

Cr O’Hara Sullivan said 40 councils across Queensland were participating in the program.

“Council has hosted presentations from experts on the financial, legal, insurance and infrastructure implications for our Region,” Cr O’Hara Sullivan said.

TRC Planning and Development Committee portfolio leader Cr Bill Cahill said participating in the Q CRC program had provided Council with access to specialist knowledge, skills and resources delivered by the program.

Cr Cahill said the steps in the Framework aligned with planning that was progressing to develop a Climate Action Strategy, which had been identified for inclusion as part of Council’s Operational Plan for the 2021/22 financial year.

“It also supports Council’s obligations under the State Planning Policy to consider the effects of climate change as part of addressing state interests in preparing the new planning scheme,” Cr Cahill said.

“In addition, Council’s Disaster Management principal has been consulted to ensure the development of a Climate Risk Management Strategy integrates and supports the work already being performed by Council to review the Local Disaster Management Plan and undertake a risk assessment in accordance with the Queensland Emergency Risk Management Framework.

“Risks associated with climate change affect every area of Council’s operations and a dedicated strategy will address our responses and mitigation plans”.