A total of 249 responses were received in the community survey. Respondents were asked two open-ended questions:
- Q1: What actions do you think TRC could take over the next 5-10 years to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
- Q2: What actions do you think TRC should take to prepare for the impacts of climate change?
The analysis of the two open-ended questions was undertaken in four stages. In stage one, each response was read individually and split into separate suggested actions. The 245 responses to Q1 were split into 947 individual actions (averaging 4 suggested actions per respondent), while the 215 responses to Q2 were split into 698 individual actions (averaging 3 suggested actions per respondent). Some responses did not refer to specific actions, responded ‘don’t know’ or instead commented on other aspects of the survey: these were labelled ‘N/A’.
In stage two, each individual action was grouped into three categories: the environmental issue, the action category and the Council area of operations. Actions were classified as ‘climate’ if they specifically mentioned a climate-related word such as carbon, climate, emissions. Further details on action category and Council area of operation coding are provided in the relevant sections below.
In stage three, all groups were reviewed and consolidated into a smaller number of key categories.
In stage four, Q2 responses were further analysed to identify whether each action was a mitigation or adaptation action, and whether adaptation actions referred to either hazard, exposure or vulnerability.
It is important to note that qualitative data responses can cross multiple categories and be subject to reader interpretation. Results from this qualitative analysis are presented in this brief report, with underlaying raw data available in the survey response spreadsheet.
Two respondents specifically thanked the organisers/Council for undertaking the survey:
‘Thanks very much TRC for undertaking this survey. I am so pleased to see the Council being proactive about climate change. Please keep going and become a leading Australian council on this issue. Everything that makes the Tablelands such a wonderful place to live, work and produce is under threat from climate change’ (respondent #109)
Conversely, thirteen respondents expressed either a negative attitude towards taking action on climate change (n = 9) or disbelief regarding climate change science (n = 4).
‘Be brave. Be very brave. Stand up to BIG BROTHER. There is no human induced climate change’ (respondent #142).
1. Q1: What actions do you think TRC could take over the next 5–10 years to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions?
1.1 Environmental issue
Actions were first categorised according to the environmental issue they referred to. Climate-related actions accounted for 44% of the 947 actions suggested by respondents for Q1 (Table 1).
Table 1: Q1 actions grouped by environmental issue
|Environmental issue||Number of actions||%|
1.2 Action category
Actions were then categorised according to their action category. Actions that mentioned vehicles or public transportation, for example, were categorised as ‘transport’ related. Actions that suggested sustainable behaviours in the home or community were categorised as ‘sustainable behaviours’ (Figure 1).
Figure 1: Actions TRC could take over the next 5-10 years to reduce gas emissions grouped by action category
The most commonly suggested action category was transport (n = 159). Within this category respondents suggested supporting/purchasing electric vehicles (n = 52), supporting/developing public transport (n = 46), installing charging stations (n = 24) and enhancing cycling infrastructure (n = 22).
Actions related to renewable energy were the next most frequently mentioned (n = 157), with general statements indicating an increased use of renewable energy across the region would be beneficial (n = 57). Respondents also suggested prioritising renewable energy on Council buildings (n = 32), supporting/investing in larger-scale renewable energy projects (n = 24) and facilitating increased energy efficiency in houses (n = 21).
The third most common suggestion related to trees; either planting more trees (n = 86) or stopping further removal of any trees (n = 32).
1.3 Council area of operations
Actions were also grouped by ‘Council area of operations’. This grouping best reflected the area of Council operations related to implementing each action. This grouping was used because respondents often suggested Council do different tasks related to each action; for example, that they implement policies to drive climate action (categorised as ‘policies/strategic planning/rules’) or advocate to other Councils and governments to do the same (categorised as ‘advocate/lobbying’). For example, a suggestion for Council to commit to a target or goal was coded as ‘policies/strategic planning/rules’:
‘Commit council to a net zero 2035 target’ (respondent #85)
Further, other actions suggesting that Council operations be changed or adapted to implement a climate action were coded as ‘council operations/funding’:
‘Reduce Council’s energy consumption through efficiency measures’ (respondent #247)
Figure 2: Council tasks related to implementing each action suggested by respondents in Q1
The most frequently mentioned area of Council operations for climate action in Q1 responses was ‘council operations/funding’ (Figure 2) (n = 453). Many of these actions referred to increasing energy efficiency on Council facilities, altering Council employee behaviours by reducing travel, and offering funding or incentives to others in the community to do the same.
Respondents also suggested 208 actions for implementation within the policy/strategic planning/rules area of operations. These included changing policies around higher density urban development and incorporating climate monitoring processes within Council operations.
The third most common area of operation was community facilities/infrastructure (n = 134). These suggested actions referred to providing more green spaces and shaded community facilities, as well as a community garden, charging stations for electric cars and cycling paths.
2. Q2: What actions do you think TRC should take to prepare for the impacts of climate change?
In total 220 respondents suggested actions in their responses to Q2, while 25 respondents simply referred to the actions they suggested in Q1.
2.1 Environmental issue
Following the same analysis procedure as Q1, actions were first categorised according to the environmental issue they referred to. Climate related actions accounted for 49% of the 698 suggested actions (Table 2).
Table 2: Q2 actions grouped by environmental issue
|Environmental issue||Number of actions||%|
2.2 Action type
Actions suggested by respondents in Q2 most frequently related to general climate change actions (Figure 3). Of these, 282 appeared to relate to climate adaptation:
‘Help raise awareness with the local community, for example more intense storms are likely to increase hazards and damage to the local roads — including trees falling onto roads, and in some cases topsoil being washed off paddocks and blocking drains and culverts’ (respondent #180)
A total of 360 actions referred to mitigation measures:
‘Ramp up recycling/upcycling and locally-sourced, sustainable industry/products/methods and educate the public well. Be a leader, educator, beacon. Work collectively’ (respondent #167)
It was unclear for many suggested actions whether they referred to adaptation or mitigation, particularly when referring to climate change-related actions (n = 56).
Figure 3: Actions TRC should take to prepare for the impacts of climate change grouped by action and adaptation/mitigation categories
The majority of suggested adaptation actions referred to preparing for extreme weather events:
`In planning, consider the impacts that an increasingly variable climate and climatic extremes will have on matters such as water availability, land use and the changes this may place on future agricultural production, population movements and other developments` (respondent #182)
Adaptation strategies were also commonly suggested for general climate change actions, such as:
‘Ensure town planning decisions are made taking into account possible climate change impacts’ (respondent #109)
In contrast, mitigation actions most frequently referred to trees: both planting new trees and retaining existing trees (n = 56). This was followed by transport-related suggestions, such as increased electric cars and charging stations (n = 44).
2.3 Council area of operations
Responses were also grouped according to ‘Council area of operations’. The most frequently mentioned actions given in response to Q2 suggested that new policies/strategic plans/rules be implemented to prepare for the impacts of climate change (Figure 4).
Figure 4: Council tasks related to implementing each action suggested by respondents in Q2
2.4 Hazards, exposure & vulnerability
The final stage of analysis involved categorising adaptation actions only suggested in Q2, according to whether they specifically referred to either hazards, exposure, or vulnerability.
- Hazards: These are defined as a physical event or trend that may cause loss of life, injury, or other health impacts, as well as damage and loss to property, infrastructure, livelihoods, service provision, ecosystems, and environmental resources. Adaptation actions were reviewed and coded according to the specific hazard mentioned. A total of 188 actions identified a hazard.
- The most frequently mentioned hazard was ‘multiple hazards’ (n = 78), followed by ‘heat’ (n = 26), ‘bushfires’ (n = 17), ‘cyclones’ (n = 15) and ‘flooding’ (n = 14)
- Exposure: These are defined as People, assets, activities or services in hazard-prone places or settings. Adaptation actions were reviewed and coded to identify what particular entity as exposed. Comments which did not clearly identify an exposed entity were not included. A total of 121 actions identified an entity that would be exposed to a particular hazard.
- ‘People’ were most frequently identified as those exposed to climate adaptation risks (n = 48). Following this, ‘habitat’ (n = 10) was mentioned, primarily in relation to bushfire hazards. ‘Urban infrastructure’ (n = 9), ‘water storage’ (n = 9), ‘housing’ (n = 7) and ‘road infrastructure’ (n = 7 were also frequently mentioned.
- Vulnerability: This is defined as Susceptibility to the impact of hazards and lack of capacity to cope or adapt. – Can be subdivided in physical, social, economic, and environmental vulnerability. Actions that identity an exposure entity were reviewed and coded according to what particularly vulnerability these entities had. A total of 121 actions identified the type of vulnerability exposed by a particular hazard.
- ‘Physical’ vulnerabilities were most frequently identified by respondents (n = 106). In contrast, ‘social’ vulnerability was mentioned by eight respondents, ‘economic’ vulnerability by five respondents and ‘environmental’ vulnerability by two respondents.
 Four responses were identical (ID#247, 248, 250 and 251). Only ID#247 was retained in order to not skew results
 Note: often respondents did not include text clearly identifying whether actions related to ‘mitigation’ and ‘adaptation’ measures. As a result, these groupings should be interpreted with caution.
 ‘Physical’ vulnerabilities referred to physical impacts such as damage to road or water infrastructure. ‘environmental’ vulnerabilities refer to damage to habitat or environmental ecosystems. ‘social’ vulnerabilities refer to impacts on social systems or community networks, while ‘economic’ vulnerabilities refer to financial disruptions or other economic impacts.