Infrastructure Victoria’s webinar series most recent edition “Reducing emissions and adapting infrastructure for Victoria’s changing climate”, was held on Tuesday 21 March 2023.
The webinar series brings people from across sectors to share perspectives, challenge ideas and identify opportunities. This webinar was timed to coincide with the beginning of Infrastructure Victoria’s public engagement program for the 2025 version of Victoria’s 30-year infrastructure strategy.
The webinar explored how governments, investors, builders, and owners of infrastructure are preparing for the increased risk of extreme weather due to climate change when designing, investing, adapting, or maintaining infrastructure. It also discussed progress in efforts to decarbonise infrastructure and to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The webinar speakers and panellists included:
- Jonathan Spear, Chief Executive Officer, Infrastructure Victoria (Host)
- Dr Scott Rawlings, Director - Science and Reporting, Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability Victoria
- Lauren Rickards, Professor at La Trobe University and a lead author on the Australian Chapter of last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report
- Duncan Paterson, Director of Investor Practice, Investor Group on Climate Change
Webinar: Reducing emissions and adapting infrastructure for Victoria’s changing climate (Infrastructure Victoria)
Mr Spear posed questions to the panellists, exploring “What does resilient infrastructure mean and how does it support a resilient state? Decarbonising and adapting – how do we do both so that infrastructure functions effectively in a changing climate? Funding opportunities and challenges? Learning from other jurisdictions?"
Dr Rawlings discussed the environmental indicators that policy makers are using to understand the key climate change risks.
Dr Rawlings explained that “this is a timely opportunity for this conversation. Like Infrastructure Victoria’s strategy work, the Commissioner for Environmental Sustainability is working on the five-yearly Victorian State of the Environment 2023 Report to be tabled in the second half of 2023.
Dr Rawlings explained that the Commissioner has engaged with a broad range of stakeholders from across Victoria and indeed Australia - from government to non-government organisations, academia, business, and community - to develop the suite of indicators to report on. The Victorian State of the Environment 2018 Report provides the Commissioner with the baseline against which to monitor Victoria’s environmental condition, trends, data quality and related sustainability issues in 2023,” explained Dr Rawlings.
Dr Rawlings highlighted that “You manage what you measure; so the importance of taking the time to develop and adaptively manage indicators cannot be underestimated.
Mr Spear posed that, “It's getting hotter but what does that mean for how we plan infrastructure?”
Dr Rawlings explained that “We have several projection indicators in the SoE Report. Mitigation and abatement indicators are a critical story within adaptation. We look at green infrastructure and blue carbon in our reporting and we’re seeing reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. The Victorian Government is meeting its renewables targets but there’s a lot more work to do in sectors such as transport.”
Dr Rawlings said, “We should point out that in 2021 we released the Victorian State of the Marine and Coastal Environment (SMCE) 2021 Report, and legislation requires the Commissioner to report on socio and economic indicators in that report.
There are interesting findings in the SMCE 2021 Report relating to coastal inundation and coastal infrastructure. A critical aspect of the Commissioner’s legislation is that the Commissioner is independent to government. The recommendations that the Commissioner includes in this year’s Victorian State of the Environment Report, will require a response in 2024.”