Government documents used to prepare for climate change are kept secret after the trial of the Administrative Court of Appeal

Conflicts within the Coalition over climate policy have made it difficult for civil servants to give honest advice about preparing for worsening extreme weather such as floods and fires, according to sworn testimony of a senior bureaucrat.

The comments came in July last year during the Coalition’s legal efforts to maintain secrecy over a “war game” climate scenario by some of the country’s top bureaucrats.

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

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

The ABC contested the decision to withhold documents at the Administrative Court of Appeals (AAT) but to no avail.

The ABC won’t appeal the decision in Federal Court, so it’s now publishing revelations from last year’s trial.

Internal conflicts make 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 releasing the scenario would be against the public interest.

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