There is global consensus among scientists that human activities are increasing levels of greenhouse gases and contributing to a change in the global climate. Climate change is a significant and lasting change to the statistical distribution of weather patterns over prolonged periods and is expected to increase temperatures by up to 2°C, increase the number of days over 35°C, reduce rainfall, and cause sea levels to rise by at least 0.9m, warming and acidifying oceans in the process. It also has the potential for severe weather events to become more frequent and intense.
The City is committed to climate change response, the protection and enhancement of our environment, and working in close partnership with the community to ensure it is sustainably managed for future generations to enjoy.
Turn the Tide on Plastic
In May 2019, the City of Rockingham Council endorsed a Single Use Plastics and Balloons Policy, along with a unique guideline which provides detailed information to assist in making the switch away from single use plastics. The policy provides controls that minimise the adverse impacts of these disposable materials on the environment, and particularly marine wildlife.
The policy requires that single use plastic items be substituted with compostable or reusable alternatives and applies to all City operations, traders operating with a permit issued by the City and events held in public places, where approval is required by the City. Compliance with the policy will be required as a condition of approval for all new trading permits, however, an initial transition period of 12 months will be applied to allow traders time to adjust.
Implementation of this policy is an important part of the City's ongoing commitment to a sustainable environment and will ensure the City continues to be a place where the "coast comes to life".
Observed sea level rise is tracking along the higher end of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) projections and the trend is expected to continue. Coastal climate change hazards including coastal erosion and inundation attributable to rising sea levels, and changes to the frequency and intensity of storm events are expected. It can be argued that they are already being experience. The State Planning Policy 2.6 requires local governments to consider a 0.9m sea level rise.
While shorelines are naturally dynamic, changes to sea levels, sediment supply and transport, and altered wave and swell patterns attributed to a changing climate will have different impacts in different local areas. Given the rapid development along the City's extensive coastline and localised accretion/erosion regimes, the City recognised that a more thorough understanding of coastal dynamics and coastal vulnerability at a local scale was required.
The City has acknowledged that climate change may bring significant changes to the region, particularly coastal zones, and is participating in a number of projects to better understand the potential risks and opportunities, and to take actions that reduce the City's carbon emissions.
A Coastal Hazard Risk Management Adaption Plan is currently being prepared, with a draft due to be released mid 2019.
To better understand the local risk, the City is working with other local governments to share resources and undertake research.
The Cockburn Sound Alliance is a collaboration between the cities of Cockburn, Fremantle, Kwinana and Rockingham and the Department of Defence. The focus of the project is to clarify areas at risk of climate change coastal vulnerability and areas that require further study to understand the risk within the Cockburn Sound, Owen Anchorage and Garden Island east.
The Peron Naturalist Partnership (PNP) is a partnership between the local governments of Bunbury, Busselton, Capel, Dardanup, Harvey, Mandurah, Murray, Rockingham and Waroona and the State and Federal Government which aims to build resilience in regional coastal communities, reduce risks and optimise opportunities associated with climate change risks and climate vulnerability.
The PNP project identified that until 2110 inn the Peron Naturaliste region:
- erosion is a far more pervasive issue than flooding
- 800 hectares of residential land would be subject to increased flooding risk
- close to a 200m wide strip along the whole extent of the coastline is at risk from erosion
- the value of the affected assets at risk along this section of coastline is approximately $1.2 billion, and $1.1 billion of assets are worth saving, at a cost of around $120 million
- ownership of coastal protection assets need to be clarified
- there is a need to request funding to address limitations highlighted in report.
Waterwise Councils Program
The City of Rockingham Water Efficiency Action Plan was endorsed by Council at the October 2016 meeting and the City has begun implementing the actions outlined in the document.
On the basis of this Action Plan, the City was endorsed as a Waterwise Council by the Water Corporation and the Department of Water in 2017. The endorsement was recognition of the City's outstanding approach to sustainable water management.
The City aims to provide a range of opportunities for environmental education and engagement on waste avoidance and management, assists residents, schools and community groups to adopt more sustainable practices.
Sustainability Snapshot Report
The Sustainability Snapshot Report highlights the City's key initiatives and achievements so far on our journey towards a more sustainable future, and will provide a framework for future strategy development. Some key initiatives highlighted in the most recent report is the City's Energy Efficiency Program, a Methance Capture Facility in operation at the City's landfill and the Carbon Neutral projects funded to offset emissions from the City's fleet.