Adapting to climate change requires new approaches to strategic planning at state, regional and local scales and the development of learning organisations at all levels of government. In this think tank, held at Northcote Town Hall on 5 July 2010, local policy and decision makers worked with overseas experts to consider how to better integrate adaptation in state and local planning. Adaptive learning is a continuing and long-term process. Large scale social change is required to recognise climate risks and effectively respond to them. It should not take disasters to provoke action or create the realisation that governments or communities are not sufficiently well-prepared to deal with the impacts of climate-related event.