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No community within Australia remains untouched by climate change. Our country is highly exposed to impacts including record breaking heat, more dangerous bushfire seasons, coastal flooding and supercharged storms. These extreme weather events are worsening, and the impacts are reverberating throughout our communities.

As the level of government closest to the community, councils are at the heart of responding to climate impacts. When disaster strikes, local governments work closely with communities to cope and respond. They are also often left with the task of cleaning up – and paying for – the mess, while they keep delivering the essential services that so many residents rely on.

From Margaret River to Hepburn, and from Byron Bay to Cairns, cities and towns across Australia are cutting their emissions, switching to clean energy and building greener, more efficient and resilient communities. The momentum is tangible and benefits like cleaner cities and healthier communities are there for the taking.

Key findings:

  • Climate change is an immense challenge for all levels of government, but its impacts are felt most acutely at the local level.
  • Worsening extreme weather, driven by climate change, is compounding costs for councils. This includes mounting damage to council-owned assets, rising insurance premiums and increasing liability risks.
  • Local government is playing a leading role in responding to climate change, but there are common barriers that councils face in trying to take further action.
  • Protecting communities from worsening extreme weather, and minimising the costs borne by them, requires climate leadership at all levels of government.
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