Central Queensland is amongst the most vulnerable of Australia’s regions to climate change, with an economy largely based on carbon-intensive industries and their suppliers. This paper reports on the climate change awareness and preparedness of business owners in Rockhampton, with a view to informing a regional approach to climate change management. The key finding is one of maximum vulnerability but minimum awareness in the region. Businesses remain generally uncertain and unconvinced of climate change issues. They are not aware of climate predictions, how these will impact business, and how they should respond. Most businesses have not assessed risks and opportunities that may arise: instead, they are focussed on the potential impacts of a carbon-based tax system, which is seen as a punitive and politically-derived impost. However, the study also indicated that businesses are willing to change to their minds: they agree that the issue is important and that it will impact their businesses; they are hungry for more information on climate change, funding programs and new opportunities. Six recommendations are given for achieving a regional approach to climate change. These focus on the obvious need for regional-level engagement, information and awareness programs, since these will help address uncertainty and motivate local businesses to participate in climate change activities. Regional planning, benchmarking and evaluation are also needed to monitor success in meeting climate challenges over time.
|Keywords:||Rockhampton, SMEs, Regional, Benefits and Opportunities|
Senior Research Officer, Centre for Environmental Management, CQ University, North Rockampton, Queensland, Australia
CQ University, Australia
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