Regional and remote communities in Northern Australia are among Australia’s most vulnerable in the face of climate change. They face potential sea level rise, more intense dry spells, increasing and longer temperatures peaks and the risk of more intense cyclones and floods (Marshall, 2015). Sociologically and ecologically diverse regions such as the Southern Gulf Catchments region (Southern Gulf) face an uncertain future. The Southern Gulf is a vast and flat region with pastoral, mining and Aboriginal communities living on low lying flood plains and islands. To the south on the higher ground of the Mount Isa Inlier bioregion, the predominant industry is mining and pastoralism. The region also contains areas of significant biodiversity, with the Gulf of Carpentaria being a wetland of international significance.
This report builds on work undertaken in other natural resource management (NRM) regions of Tropical North Queensland. Four regions have previously undertaken a socially-orientated approach to climate change adaptation planning at a regional scale (Dale et al., 2011). Initial research explored the potential to use social resilience indicators in the Wet Tropics sub region. This work was subsequently extended in 2012 and 2013 to the Torres Strait, Cape York Peninsula and the Northern Gulf of Carpentaria (see Dale et al., 2014; Dale, Vella & Cottrell, 2015).