Securing Australia’s Future: Roundtable Summary

Future Earth Australia at the Australian Academy of Science is leading a process to consolidate and extend a broader agenda of proactive and productive reform of climate adaptation, alongside a clear acceptance of the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in order to secure Australia’s future. After the devastating bushfires of last summer, it is clear that Australia needs an evidence-based policy response to the range of emerging threats posed by environmental change in order to secure Australia’s future. To this end, we welcome the Prime Minister’s comments earlier in 2020 on the need to focus on resilience and adaptation for all Australians—and argue it must be done in a substantive, inclusive, community-based manner.

We contend that adaptation and resilience must be framed with respect to enabling a just transition for all Australians. We recently consulted with a range of sectors across Australia to inform the foundation and framing of a National Adaptation Summit planned for early 2021. We asked: 1) how we might rethink adaptation in light of the deep transformation required in Australia’s society and economy; 2) what are the strengths, weaknesses and range of adaptation policies over the years; and 3) how we can bring community knowledge and preferences into adaptation planning.