The Climate Change Act 2017 took effect on 1 November 2017. It establishes a long-term emissions reduction target of net zero by 2050, with interim emissions reduction targets set for five-year periods from 2021. The Act also requires the government to develop a Climate Change Strategy and Adaptation Action Plans every five years from 2021 for key systems vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The Act mandates periodic reporting of the following measures:
standalone reports on the science and data relevant to climate change in Victoria
annual GHG emissions reportingssessment reports at the end of each interim target period.
To develop the five-yearly emissions reduction targets, the Victorian Government is required to seek expert independent advice. In March 2018, an independent panel of experts released an issues paper that explored the issues relevant to setting interim emissions reduction targets for Victoria for 2021 to 2025 and 2026 to 2030, and trajectories to net zero emissions by 2050.
Climate change responses are being integrated into federal, state and local government policies and strategies across many sectors. Recent notable publications include Protecting Victoria’s Environment – Biodiversity 2037, which outlines a vision for Victoria’s biodiversity in a time of climate change; Water for Victoria, the 2016 water plan, which links climate science and adaptation to water management; and the Agriculture Victoria Strategy, which identifies research, and capacity-building programs that help farmers adapt to climate change, as priorities.
Sustainability Victoria is delivering the TAKE2 program, designed to support individuals, government, business and other organisations to help Victoria achieve net zero emissions by 2050. The program requires government agencies to make pledges to act on climate change, while businesses and the community are invited to make their own public commitments to reduce emissions in Victoria. The program is designed to build momentum towards a lower GHG emissions future as well as recognising organisations that are leading the way.
State and Commonwealth agriculture ministers have initiated a work program on climate change. The program covers climate change impacts, managing emissions across the sector and identifying the risks and opportunities of adaptation in agriculture. A national approach to climate change in the agriculture sector will be delivered to the Agriculture Ministers’ Forum by May 2019.
In April 2016, the Victorian and Commonwealth governments jointly funded the construction of a Doppler weather radar in the Wimmera, to extend the Bureau of Meteorology’s (BoM) ability to provide farmers in the region with more accurate rainfall data.