Monday, June 27, 2022

Government documents used for climate change preparation kept secret after AAT hearing

Conflict within the Coalition on climate policy has made it harder for public servants to give frank advice about preparing for worsening weather extremes like floods and fires, according to the sworn testimony of a senior bureaucrat.

The comments came in July last year during the Coalition’s legal attempt to maintain secrecy over climate scenarios “war-gamed” by some of the top bureaucrats in the country.

Under “Project Climate Ready”, the scenarios were mapped out in 2018 in anticipation of the kinds of major disruptions expected from climate change, by a now-defunct group called the Secretaries Group on Climate Risk.

In 2019, the ABC obtained some documents relating to the group’s activities, but details of the scenarios were not released.

The ABC fought the decision to withhold the documents at the Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) but was unsuccessful.

The ABC is not going to appeal the decision in the Federal Court, so is now publishing the revelations from last year’s hearings.

Internal conflict making preparation for climate change difficult

In testimony before the AAT last year, the deputy secretary of the Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, Jo Evans, said the release of the scenarios would be against the public interest.

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