Climate Commission Report - Implications

Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Thursday, 26 May 2011]
Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Helen Morton


Hon LYNN MacLAREN to the minister representing the Minister for Planning:

(1) Is the minister aware of the Climate Commission’s recently released report entitled “A Critical

(2) Has the government taken steps to identify the areas that are most vulnerable to sea-level rise and other
high sea-level events such as storm surges in the coastal zone of Western Australia in which no new
development and no new infill development should be permitted?

(3) If no to (2), why not?

(4) If yes to (2), what steps have been taken?

(5) Has the government considered its potential legal liability if it permits development in areas that it
knows or should know are vulnerable to high sea-level events?

(6) If no to (5), why not?

Hon HELEN MORTON replied:

I thank the member for some notice of this question. The following information has been provided to me by the
Minister for Planning.

(1) The minister is aware of many reports of this nature.

(2) The government has taken steps to identify areas that are most vulnerable to sea-level rise and other
high sea-level events such as storm surges in the coastal zone of Western Australia. A high resolution
bathymetric and seabed survey of the coastal areas between Two Rocks and Cape Naturalist was
undertaken in 2009. This has been used to support the development of spacial models and used in
various projects such as the collaboration of the Department of Planning, the Western Australian
Planning Commission and Geoscience Australia to deliver a new storm surge inundation modelling
tool, which is currently being piloted in Bunbury and Mandurah and, later, in Busselton.

State planning policy 2.6 requires that the potential climate change impacts on sea-level rise and storm
events be taken into account in local and regional planning strategies, structure plans, schemes,
subdivisions, strata subdivisions and development applications as well as other planning decisions and
instruments relating to the coast. New development is required to be appropriately set back to provide
natural protection over the 100-year planning time frame. Infill development is required to be set back a
sufficient distance to provide immediate natural protection with an understanding that future protection
needs are no different from that for existing adjoining development. SPP 2.6 is being reviewed and the
policy will be further developed and additional guidance provided on how potential impacts should be
taken into consideration to achieve good planning outcomes. In May 2010, in recognition of growing
knowledge on climate change and nationally adopted increases in sea-level rise projections, the Western
Australian Planning Commission adopted a position statement amending the mean sea-level rise value
in SPP 2.6 from 0.38 metres by 2100 to 0.9 metres by 2110. This was endorsed by cabinet in August

(3)–(4) Not applicable.

(5) The matter of potential legal liability is considered in planning decisions. Through SPP 2.6, the
government makes coastal planning decisions based upon the most up-to-date information available.

(6) Not applicable.