Planning for Climate Change in the Coastal Regions of New South Wales

28 Aug

 

Newcastle forshore

By David Holland

The Risk Model, as described in the following paper,  is an approach for local councils in NSW to plan for future climate change induced sea level rise in an equitable and proactive way.

It allows local government to approve developments that are under the maximum State Government of NSW benchmarks set at 900mm over the present flood levels while at the same time reduces risks to litigation due to damage of properties from climate change brought by property owners who’s developments are below this maximum standard set by the State Government. (Often a maximum standard set by State Governments become a minimum standard for local government due to the threat of litigation by land owners.)

This standard has become an enormous problem to land owners in at risk locations along the coast of New South Wales. In recent times insurance policy premiums have skyrocketed. Land values have been affected and general political hysteria is evident. Many protests by land owners have been seen on the Central Coast of New South Wales in Australia but council seem unable to bring a solution to the problem. Councils have reacted to political pressure by removing notification on land records of land affected by the potential of flood due to climate change. This action leaves individual councils and maybe the councilors open to litigation in the future when a climate change flood event inevitably occurs.

This action by the councils is brought about by a head in the sand belief that climate change has not been proven and no evidence locally can be seen.

The New South Wales Government seems to be paralysed by the disquiet on the coast. Seemingly unable or unwilling to discuss the issues and look for solutions for the social and economic problems mounting in the coastal regions.

The attached paper written in January 2010 addresses the issues and provides a series of solutions to the dilemmas created by this State of New South Wales policy. The paper discusses solutions to the misunderstood threats of the effects of climate change to low-lying properties in both the long-term and the short-term.

The paper also predicts the now evident effects of the policy and worsening social effects of the reaction to the policy.

This policy without an identified strategy has caused insurance premiums are going through the roof, and at the same time caused the market prices of properties to plummet. As these market reactions continue, we are to expect unimaginable social disruptions unless positive steps are taken urgently. This paper sets a benchmark for a constructive strategy to manage at risk land due to the effects of climate change in coastal regions.

Following is the paper that discusses some solutions to climate induced sea level rise:

Planning for Climate Change in the Coastal Regions of New South Wales

 

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2 Responses to “Planning for Climate Change in the Coastal Regions of New South Wales”

  1. Habitat Association August 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    Reblogged this on Habitat Association and commented:

    In the late 1990’s I recognised that climate change was a real threat to our coastal environs. With wilder weather events predicted under climate change our coastal dunes were vulnerable. Our settlements and streets were also vulnerable to these wilder storms. Now with the reality of sea level rise caused by the ocean’s expansion and the melting of kilometers thick ice on the polar land masses, Australians living on the coast need to be concerned how government is going to plan for our future with regard to land management and risk mittigation related to property values and our wealth accumulated in these coastal properties.

    • Kevin August 29, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      Coastal Councils know (and have known for some time) that the sea level is likely to rise and that coastal erosion will occur with both increasing frequency and severity of storm events; there is really no realistic alternative than they they advise potential residents of this known threat. Removing Sec 149 notifications won’t make the problem go away, nor will it increase property values or reduce insurance premiums – it will just mean people are likely to buy or build in potentially dangerous areas. It will also probably expose Councils who have not acted in good faith to litigation and compensation when the inevitable catastrophes and loss of life occur.

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