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Media Release
The Hon Greg Hunt MP
Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment and Heritage

13 December 2006

Westernport focus of national climate change study

The Victorian community of Westernport is to take part in a nation-wide research project to identify the impact of climate change on Australian communities.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Heritage and Member for Flinders, Greg Hunt, today announced Australian Government funding of $498,000 for an assessment of the impacts of climate change in the Westernport region.

Mr Hunt said while climate change was a global issue that required a global response, local action and local research was needed and he was keen to support the project.

“Climate change is real and a challenge that will affect us all and we need data and research to make the best decisions and options for action,” Mr Hunt said.

“Involving Australian communities, businesses and industries and helping them to adapt to the inevitable effects of climate change is a key part of the Australian Government’s $2 billion climate change strategy.”

Mr Hunt said the research would involve an integrated assessment of the impacts of climate change on settlements in the Westernport region. In particular, on coastal areas and on the urban growth corridor, focusing on housing, accommodation, infrastructure and planning.

The Westernport Greenhouse Alliance, including Bass Coast, Cardinia, Casey, Frankston and Mornington Peninsula councils will carry out the project in partnership with Marsden Jacob Associates, Victorian Government agencies, and the Regional Development Company.

The results of the project, which is due to be completed by June 2008, will not only provide information and adaptation options for our region, but other communities across Australia.

The research will draw on a range of disciplines, bringing together knowledge from economics, policy and law, social science, and climate change science to provide a better picture of how climate change will affect Australian communities.

Mr Hunt said Australia’s populated settlements, such as towns and cities, were identified by the 2005 Climate Change Risk and Vulnerability report as a national priority for further vulnerability and adaptation research.

Media contact:
John Deller on 0400 496 596 or Gina Schwass on 0418 620 020

Commonwealth of Australia