Thursday, 12 July 2012

Western NSW towns face uncertain climate change future


By Richard Gifford on Flickr
The tourism blurb says White Cliffs, an opal mining town in the far west corner of NSW, has a "last-frontier kind of appeal". However, a new report for the federal government says White Cliffs is the most vulnerable town in Australia to the impact of climate change.

By 2050, Dubbo may be the western frontier as local economies in the hottest parts of the state succumb to the changing weather.

The report, Australia's Country Towns 2050: What Will A Climate Adapted Settlement Pattern Look Like? by the Centre for Housing, Urban and Regional Planning, University of Adelaide and the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility assigns vulnerability ratings to country towns with populations of at least 200 at least 50 kilometres from the coast, taking into account their exposure, sensitivity to climate change as indicated by their weather and their industry base, as well as their capacity to adapt based on education levels and internet access. Towns with the largest predicted rainfall and temperature changes, and high dependence on agriculture, were rated more vulnerable. Remoteness and low education levels counted against them, as did low population and low connectedness to the internet.

Western NSW does worryingly poorly in the report, with the 4 most vulnerable towns in NSW being White Cliffs, Tottenham, Ivanhoe & Wilcannia. White Cliffs and Tottenham also rate as the most vulnerable in Australia (and all 4 are in the top 8 most vulnerable towns in Australia). Also amongst the 20 most vulnerable towns in NSW are Lake Cargelligo(8),
Tullamore(9), Goodooga(16), Brewarrina (19) and Gulargambone(20).

Rural towns face the final frontier (Daily Liberal - Dubbo)

White Cliffs on the brink (The Land)

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