Abstract: The rapid uptake of political and community acceptance of climate change in Australia is placing significant pressures for local governments to examine their vulnerabilities to climate change as well as their need to undertake an expedited review of potential mitigation and adaptation strategies. However there is a dichotomy between the actual need for a local level strategy and the capability of Australian local governments to do so. This paper explores the challenges surrounding climate change policy and suggests the adaptation and mitigation frames limit the scope of the policy debate and inhibit the development of local government climate change strategies. It explores the costs and opportunities that climate change brings to local governments and draws on the South East Queensland experience to examine the available policy instruments. This paper fosters and strengthens the policy debate about local government¶s role and responsibilities in dealing with climate change. It also highlights the potential risks and vulnerabilities of local governments, both at the corporate and community level, under a range of changing climate scenarios.