|dc.description.abstract||Most of Australia’s population resides in coastal cities, but many of these communities are highly vulnerable to climate change. This makes the challenge of adapting to build resilience a high priority. Although effective government policies and plans are essential, they are not sufficient for a successful transition. Governments also need to generate broad public support to make the necessary changes to the way people live and work. Raising awareness, improving public knowledge, and effective community engagement are therefore crucial.
This thesis makes an important contribution to this field by asking how better community engagement can improve climate change adaptation policy-making and planning. Local governments play a vital role in climate change adaptation, so the QCoast2100 program was selected as a case study because it enables councils to develop their own Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategies through a process that includes significant community consultation. The methods used in this thesis include a literature review, a policy analysis, a media analysis, and a survey of key stakeholders. A framework for analysis was synthesised from three components: (1) The five levels of public participation of IAP2 (Inform, Consult, Involve, Collaborate, and Empower); (2) The seven types of policy instruments identified in the Australian Policy Handbook (Advocacy, Network, Money, Government Action, Law, Behavioural Economics, and Narrative); and, (3) Four different types of knowledge (individual, traditional, local, and scientific).
It was found that community engagement should be shifted towards the upper end of the IAP2 spectrum (i.e., to collaborate and empower), and that Indigenous and traditional knowledge needs to be better integrated into the processes of policy-making and planning. The public’s awareness/knowledge of climate change can improve engagement in decision-making, and this in turn can further raise the community’s level of awareness/knowledge. The media has an important role to play, with the key barriers to improvement being a lack of community understanding and the reluctance of some councils to share knowledge and information.||