Adaptation Actions under the newly released NSW EPA Climate Change Policy and Climate Change Action Plan 2023-26

  • Market Insight 16 February 2023 16 February 2023
  • Asia Pacific

  • Environmental Law

In our first and second articles in this series, we looked at the First Pillar and Second Pillar of the EPA’s Climate Change Policy and Action Plan, which contained actions relating to Informing and Planning, and Mitigating. In this third article in the series, we look at the Third Pillar, actions to ‘Adapt’ which deliver on the objectives of the Policy to make NSW more resilient and adapted to a changing climate.

Pillar 3: ADAPT

The third pillar recognises the EPA’s acknowledgment that actions to adjust to actual or expected effect of climate change are necessary to enable communities, business and the community to plan for, and recover from impacts of climate change. Broadly, the 6 actions of Pillar 3 relate to actions that are designed to build resilience to impacts of climate change which includes an expectation that the regulated industry will contribute to building resilience in a fair and reasonable way.

Two of the Pillar 3 actions are actions that the EPA and NSW Government are already undertaking in some manner and include:

  • protecting the environment during emergency response and recovery, and increasing preparedness for emergencies arising from the effects of climate change;
  • through intergovernmental cooperation, ensure that climate risks are considered and appropriately managed in native forestry operation, recognising the carbon storage and sequestration potential of native forests.

Four of the Pillar 3 actions are new actions to be implemented over the next three years. Whilst these actions are typically policy based, at least one will have an impact on EPL holders. These actions include:

  • Action 22; developing an agency adaptation and resilience delivery plan to guide how the EPA will deliver on its responsibilities under the NSW Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, including its regulatory responsibilities.
  • Action 23; develop and implement environmental resilience programs and initiatives to better respond to emergencies and disasters. This includes developing sector-based initiatives that will assist EPL holders build their own climate change resilience, with a primary focus on building resilience in the waste sector through the development of contingency waste capacity and overall climate preparedness.
  • Action 24; preparing and adopting climate change resilience guidance for key regulated industry sectors. The guidelines will include performance outcomes the EPA seeks to see from those key regulated industries. These guidelines will play a role in assisting EPL holders develop CCMAPs and will be developed in consultation with industry-sector advisory groups.

What this means for business and EPL holders

  1. As noted in our other article in this series, EPL holders should look out for the formation of the industry-sector advisory groups. These groups will play a significant role in developing and guiding the implementation of the Action Plan and will represent a powerful voice for regulated industries.
  2. Within the next 24 months, EPL holders in key regulated industries should expect guidance to be prepared for climate change resilience which will specify industry specific performance outcomes and assist in the development of CCMAPs. Once this guidance is published by the EPA, EPL holders within the key regulated industries will need to consider the impacts of the guidelines on their business in a manner that limits the legal and operational risks.

EPL holders should plan early and provision to properly implement the above actions.

We can assist EPL holders, and other affected parties such as landowners and developers, in understanding the legal risks and opportunities arising from the implementation of the Policy and Action Plan.

Other articles in this series:

Pillar 1: Actions to Inform and Plan

Pillar 2: Actions to Mitigate

A copy of the Climate Change Policy and Climate Change Action Plan are available here.

Clyde & Co remains committed to mapping and understanding climate change risk alongside a growing network of cross-sector experts and collaborators, to help our clients navigate the rapidly evolving risk landscape they face. If you would like to discuss the issues raised and how this may impact your business, please contact one of our authors. For more thought leadership articles on the climate change related topics, visit our Resilience Hub and our Climate Change Risk webpage.


Additional authors:

Jessica Kim (Summer Clerk), Isobelle Fox (Summer Clerk)

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