From the Newsroom

‘Confidential science’ for CVC staff eyes only

Geoff Helisma

Clarence Valley Council (CVC) is currently exhibiting its draft Disaster Resilience Framework (DRF) and an associated document, Physical Climate Risk Assessment; summary for policy-makers (SPM)– submissions to the framework close at 4pm on Monday February 28.

However, despite a unanimous decision at the November 2021 CVC meeting – to place the draft DRF and the study that informs the DRF, the Climate Change Impact Assessment (CCIA) on public exhibition –, acting general manager Laura Black declined the Independent’s request for a copy of the CCIA.

She also declined a request “to speak to an authority about the Climate Change Impact Assessment / Disaster Resilience Framework – draft, so I can have the context clear in my head before I start writing or asking specific questions”.

The Independent’s emailed enquiry (as directed by Ms Black – CVC’s communications policy does not give direction on how media should interact with the operational side of CVC) pointed out that in the section titled ‘PRIORITY 3: Enhanced Investment’, the draft DRF states that a “desired outcome” is that the “CCIA is shared with all sectors of business, community, and other LGAs, to identify and leverage the broader economic value and opportunity created by investments in disaster risk reduction and resilience”.

Ms Black responded with the following statement: “The Draft Resilience Framework is not yet adopted.

“It includes a number of strategies for action, one of which is ‘Developing & implementing strategies, planning & reports for future investments’; a desired outcome of this is that ‘CVC’s CCIA is shared with all sectors of business, community, and other LGAs to identify and leverage the broader economic value and opportunity created by investments in disaster risk reduction and resilience”.

“The document does not say the CCIA is currently available.

“The CCIA is confidential science that needs to be articulated through the development of strategies, planning and reports that will inform business, community and other LGAs.

“One of the examples of this our use of the CCIA is page 15, which can inform Council’s decision making taking into consideration climate change risk.”

Mayor Ian Tiley said his “personal view is there is no reason why the scientific report shouldn’t also be in the public arena”

“Given that the council resolved to put the scientific report on an exhibition that should have occurred,” he said.

CVC-Disaster-Resilience-Framework-ON-EXHIBITION 15

Page 15 outlines “climate change impacts on CVC’s assets, infrastructure, operations and business”, which warns that “Earth’s climate system has warmed over recent decades; this warming will affect the frequency and intensity of a wide range of weather and climate-related risks in the Clarence Valley LGA”.

The graphic’s “explainer” states that “this data represents a modelled future state, which is uncertain, and higher or lower values could occur. Climate values are 20-year averages, in order to best represent climate. Data has been used from multiple sources.” Image: CVC draft Disaster Resilience Framework.

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