In Bellingen, on the mid-North New South Wales coast, we understand what's at risk from climate change. Our current reality spells it out.
In the past month I've watched smoke engulf our town from out-of-control bushfires burning along the ridge line.
We have seen an extreme fire season extended into early spring. The massive fires over on our escarpment and to the west have burnt in forests that contain Antarctic beech, remnants from when Australia was part of the Gondwanaland supercontinent, that have never burnt before.
This has been a massive wake up call for the Bellingen Shire Council, and the residents, to the increasing danger extreme bushfires pose to life and property.
As the mayor of Bellingen Shire, I believe that local governments need to take every step necessary to protect their communities from the challenges of climate change, and that includes releasing any information that helps our residents make informed choices about their future.
Climate hazard maps spell out the potential dangers that lie ahead unless urgent action is taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions that are driving climate change.
Bushfires, sea-level rise, coastal flooding and soil contractions, which can damage building foundations, are some of the risks facing communities across New South Wales - and hazard maps are a crucial tool to help residents and local governments identify which areas are most under threat, and to develop climate resilience plans to meet the challenges that lie ahead.
But at present, there is no adequate framework which enables local governments to share climate hazard data without opening the floodgates to potential legal challenges from property owners whose property value may be negatively affected by the release of this information.
Smaller local governments simply can't afford to contest these sort of challenges - we need to focus our resources on keeping our communities safe.
We need our state government to step up and develop a comprehensive climate risk framework, which would enable us to release climate hazard data, so that our residents are properly informed about climate risks.
It's time for all levels of government to work with the community to urgently cut our greenhouse gas emissions and to build climate resilience into our communities to prepare for the changes to our climate that are already locked in - indeed, that many of us are already living in.
Cr Dominic King is mayor of Bellingen Shire Council