Deadline Approaches For Climate Change Survey
19 July 2012 at 10:43 am
Welfare Peak Body, the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) is calling on the community sector to participate in its inaugural national survey to identify the extent of the sector's exposure to climate change and extreme weather risks in Australia.
There are just two weeks remaining for organisations to be involved in what ACOSS has described as the largest survey of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world.
“We have a target of around 700 and are only about half the way there. So it’s vitally important that sector organisations fill in the short survey in the next week so we get as good a picture as picture as possible of where the sector is at on this important front,” Chief Executive of ACOSS, Dr Cassandra Goldie said.
"We know that people experiencing poverty and disadvantage will be first and worst affected by climate change, including extreme weather events and natural disasters.
"There is widespread concern that Australia's community sector is highly exposed to climate change and extreme weather risks. For the first time this national survey will give us a good picture of the extent of that exposure, and the effects of organisational strain or failure during extreme events on service provision and, crucially, on its client-base.
"The project will also look at the sector's capacity to become prepared, as well as its capacity to make an effective contribution to societal resilience using its specialist people, buildings, assets and services. This is crucial information for informing our capacity to deal with possible future calamities."
The research is being designed and supervised by principal research investigator Dr Karl Mallon, Director of Science and Systems at Climate Risk. Dr Mallon said that "the survey will help answer some burning questions, such as what happens to people experiencing homelessness if the shelters are flooded? What happens to families in crisis if the crisis phone-lines go down in a storm? What happens if mental health services are overwhelmed after a bushfire?"
"The evidence is that we can't take these services for granted under climate change, unless the sector is helped to adapt. On the plus side, the fact that the sector has a strong local presence, as well as specialist people, assets and services suggests that it can also be part of society's coping strategy," Dr Mallon said.
The survey has been funded by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF).
For more information about the survey click here and see the survey here.