Fair for whom? How residents and municipalities evaluate sea-level rise policies in Botany Bay, Australia

Authored by: Anne Maree Kreller , Sonia Graham

Routledge Handbook of Climate Justice

Print publication date:  November  2018
Online publication date:  November  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138689350
eBook ISBN: 9781315537689
Adobe ISBN:


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Sea-level rise will have significant impacts on the growing urban coastal population. The climate justice literature highlights the importance of ensuring that vulnerable urban residents are not marginalised during the development and implementation of climate change adaptation policies. This chapter investigates how residents and local government decision-makers view the fairness of SLR adaptation policies in the most vulnerable coastal region of Sydney, Australia: Botany Bay. Interviews were conducted with four local government staff responsible for adaptation planning in the City of Botany Bay and Rockdale City Council. An online survey (n=49) obtained community-level perspectives about the fairness of adaptation planning. Adaptation planners were concerned about ensuring that diverse interests were consulted (equal participation of all) and that climate adaptation planning prioritises impacts that will affect the greatest number of residents (greatest good for the greatest number). Yet few residents believed the policy-planning processes to be fair; they didn’t believe that residents had the opportunity to contribute to sea-level rise adaptation planning or that their views were considered. To bring residents and staff perspectives into alignment will require a more thorough understanding of how local perceptions of fairness are socially constructed and how planning processes can achieve meaningful inclusion.

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