Climate change policy context

Climate Change Act 2017

Victoria was amongst the first governments in the world to legislate a net-zero emissions target in the Climate Change Act 2017. The Act provides a legislative foundation to manage climate change risks, maximise opportunities and drive transition to a climate-resilient community and economy.

The Act requires the government to develop a Climate Change Strategy every five years, to set out how Victoria will meet its targets and adapt to the impacts of climate change (refer below) and sits alongside other key Victorian Government energy and climate change initiatives including Victoria’s Climate Change Framework, Victoria’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan 2017-20 (refer below) and the Victoria’s Renewable Energy Action Plan.

Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy

Victoria’s Climate Change Strategy for 2021-25 commits Victoria to cut emissions by 28-33% 2025, and by 45-50% by 2030 on the way to net-zero emissions by 2050. It also lays out how the Government will achieve this. Of particular relevance to the north central region and this RCS, the Strategy includes

Sector based emissions reduction pledges for 2021–25 including:

  • ‘Land use, land use change and forestry’ sector pledge which focuses on; investing in low-carbon landscapes through sustainable plantations and incentivising plantings of shelterbelt trees and agroforestry, restoring natural habitat on public and private land to enhance carbon storage and caring for our forests.
  • ‘Agriculture’ sector pledge which will involve testing new technologies and practices for the Victorian context, with farmers supported to use information and tools to realise emissions reduction opportunities on-farm.

Renewable energy will play a key role in achieving Victoria’s 2050 net-zero emissions goal. The legislated Victorian Renewable Energy Targets will stimulate new investments in large-scale renewable projects including solar farms proposed in the north central region, creating jobs and providing flow-on benefits for supply chains, related services and the regional community. Development Plans for the Renewable Energy Zones (REZ) within the north central region are to ensure that investments are coordinated, timely and deliver positive outcomes for those communities.

Victorian Climate Change Adaptation Plan

Victoria’s Climate Change Adaptation Plan will:

  • Build a detailed understanding of Victoria’s exposure to climate change risks and impacts.
  • Catalyse partnerships for integrated and effective responses to climate change.
  • Tackle immediate priorities to reduce climate change risks.

The following sector-based Adaptation Action Plans (AAPs) will also be relevant for RCS delivery:

  • Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan for Primary Production is due for completion in 2021 and will inform adaptation planning for agriculture in the region.
  • Climate Change Adaptation Action Plan for the Natural Environment System is due for completion in 2021 and will inform adaptation planning for biodiversity in the region.

The Guidelines for Assessing the Impact of Climate Change on Water Availability in Victoria have been developed to provide tailored guidance on how to apply hydroclimate science for water resource planning applications and to promote a consistent approach to climate change impact assessment across the water industry.

Regional Plans

Adapt Grampians (Northern Grampians, Pyrenees, City of Ballarat and Hepburn Shire) is a regional hub for information sharing, learning and inspiration to ensure we adjust and thrive in our changing climate. At the time of writing, the Grampians Region Climate Adaptation Strategy is being finalised.

ADAPT Loddon Mallee (rest of the region) aims to increase community resilience by building climate knowledge, grassroots leadership skills and supporting place-based adaption action. At the time of writing, the Loddon Mallee Climate Ready Plan is being finalised.

Both of these regional strategies will support and guide the delivery of the Victorian Climate Change Strategy in the region, considering people, places and sectors.

North Central Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan

The North Central Climate Change Adaptation and Mitigation Plan 2015 remains a relevant guide for climate action with regards NRM in our region. The Plan describes the implications of climate change for Land, Water and Biodiversity. It maps the relative vulnerability of waterways and remnant native vegetation across the region and also carbon potential. A range of adaptation and mitigation actions are identified. A priority direction has been developed to renew this plan by 2023.