Decision-making and Governance - Protect Our Winters Australia

Decision-making and

Governance

Decision-making and Governance

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The greater climate mitigation action that can be achieved, the greater the range of possible adaptation options is, and the more likely adaptation action will generate desirable outcomes.

The number and diversity of people who are passionate about the alps represents a huge opportunity for collaborative, decisive, and substantial climate mitigation and adaptation action.

There are social and institutional barriers that hinder climate mitigation and adaptation.

Climate mitigation and climate adaptation both need to occur across all levels of government, in partnership with stakeholders and knowledge holders. Both mitigation and adaptation require strong leadership at a state, national, and global level.

Section Contents

  • Minimal effort to curb emissions
  • Medium effort to curb emissions
  • Maxmimum effort to curb emissions
  • Mitigation and adaptation options
    • Mitigation
    • Adaptation
  • Social and Institutional barriers
    • Short-termism and path dependency
    • Culture
  • Decision-making frameworks
  • Stakeholder and knowledge values
    • Artificial snowmaking in select areas to maintain endangered species in situ
    • Transitioning to year-round or summer tourism
  • Governance
  • Governance Opportunities

Summary

The Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC) was established in 1986, with an MOU signed between NSW, VIC, ACT, and federal national park authorities for the cooperative management of the Alps. The AALC has a whole-of-alps focus and existing relationships with First Nations, communities and community groups (such as the Kosciuszko Hut Association and Landcare), Alpine resorts, and government. However, the AALC’s focus is ecosystem preservation, rather than adaptation to preserve social and economic values. Limited resources mean that the AALC has focused on keeping alpine habitats intact, employing many of the “no regrets” actions such as pest and weed control. However, the AALC has limited capacity to focus on individual species or develop the more novel and transformative responses to climate change across the entire alps landscape that are required.

Governance changes in the Australian Alps could address some of these issues, provide a facilitator and implementation mechanism for deliberative spaces, and improve the adaptive capacity of the Alps. One recent change has been the re-establishment of the Australian Alps Ministerial Council (AAMC) in June 2023, comprised of the federal, NSW, VIC, and ACT Environment Ministers. Re-establishment of the AAMC is an opportunity for climate adaptation and mitigation action, however, this group still faces challenges associated with democratically elected governments, such as short-termism. Broadening the scope and resourcing of the AALC would enable a whole-of-alps approach with a specific adaptation focus, allowing exploration of novel and transformative responses to climate change that is cognisant of the challenges and opportunities across the entire alps. Specifically including deliberative spaces in the AALC’s remit could also enable the conversations with communities and First Nations that will be critical to make adaptation decisions that preserve values.

Recommendations

Governments should facilitate conversations between all Australian Alps stakeholders and knowledge holders to determine which values can and should be maintained in the Alps.

Deliberative spaces and an implementation mechanism for such spaces need to be integrated into the Australian Alps governance system.
The Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC), catchment management authorities, and regional organisations of councils have a critical role as these deliberative spaces due to their capacity to build local relationships with communities, First Nations, and businesses.

The scope and resourcing of the Australian Alps Liaison Committee (AALC) should be expanded to include a whole-of-alps approach focused on climate adaptation and community engagement.

Further adaptation strategies specific to the Australian Alps should be developed that explicitly address future trade-offs, just adaptation, and collaboration with stakeholders and knowledge holders. These strategies should consider employing a climate adaptation framework such as the Resist-Accept-Direct (RAD) framework.

Download this section

This page is a summary of the ‘Decision-making and Governance’ section from the report Our Changing Snowscapes: Climate Change Impacts and Recommendations for the Australian Alps.

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Protect Our Winters Australia acknowledge the traditional custodians of the land upon which we live, work and play. We pay respects to the Elders, past, present and future, across the many Nations. Their ancestral ties to country have never been extinguished, and sovereignty never ceded.

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