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Keywords:

  • adaptation;
  • climate change;
  • retreat;
  • policy options;
  • regional networks;
  • local government

Abstract

Globally, sea-level rise is expected to impact on many coastal regions and settlements. While mitigation of global greenhouse gas emissions remains an important task, adaptation is now seen as a critical component of the policy equation. Local government is a key player in adaptation planning and managing risk through their mandated role in land use planning and development control. Yet, managing the predicted impacts of climate change is proving to be a complex and difficult task for planners and policy makers. This paper reports on a case of local government deliberation on possible planning responses to address future sea-level rise impacts in New South Wales, Australia. Using structured, expert opinion of planners and other technical experts engaged in a collaborative network in the Sydney region, we explore the feasibility of implementing planning and policy measures at the local and regional scales to respond to inundation risk as a result of sea-level rise and storm surge events. Our research shows how local governments employ specific scale-oriented strategies to engage private and public actors at different scales to manage legal, financial, and technical risks in coastal adaptation.