Country towns told to brace for climate change


Country towns told to brace for climate change

Updated May 21, 2012 17:50:14

A population expert says the effects of climate change will not necessarily decimate rural communities if the right plans are laid.

Professor Graeme Hugo is the director of the new Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide.

He says annual rainfall is already declining in south-eastern parts of the country but says rural communities can survive if governments start preparing now.

“Certainly the changes in rainfall have so far been the most significant impacts of climate change and these are likely to get worse over time, with overall rainfall decline in the south-eastern part of the continent,” he said.

“But there’s no reason why with good policy we can’t adjust to those changes. They won’t require massive redistributions of population but I think we do have to understand what the full implications of climate change are going to be not just on the economy but on the communities, particularly in rural areas.”

Professor Hugo also says more work needs to be done to understand the working habits of baby boomers.

He says 42 per cent of Australian workers are baby boomers and says more are remaining in the workforce past retirement age.

“We really don’t know too much about what baby boomers’ attitudes and preferences actually are,” he said.

“I think it’s a bit simplistic to suggest that because we’re living longer, we can work longer. There are an enormous number of health issues, of industrial relations issues, employer attitudes, worker attitudes.

“All of these things are going to be necessary to be addressed in this quite complex area.”

Topics:climate-change, population-and-demographics, rural, sa, adelaide-5000

First posted May 21, 2012 16:22:11

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