Coastal populations - climate change impacts

Extract from Hansard
[COUNCIL — Tuesday, 1 November 2011]
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Hon Lynn MacLaren; Hon Helen Morton

COASTAL POPULATIONS — CLIMATE CHANGE IMPACTS

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

My question is with reference to the August 2011 Climate Commission report titled “The Critical Decade:
Western Australia climate change impacts”, particularly to findings in relation to sea level rise documented on
page 6 of the report.

(1) What resources and funding will be made available to assist local governments with coastal populations
to undertake coastal vulnerability assessments as a priority?

(2) What funding and resources will be made available to local governments with coastal populations to
implement actions based on the findings in the report, in particular that in Fremantle the 20-centimetre
rise in sea level since the 1880s has been accompanied by a threefold increase in flooding from high sea
level events; and that Mandurah, Busselton, Rockingham and Bunbury are at the greatest risk of
inundation as sea levels rise, and the most vulnerable in terms of erosion and adverse impacts on
buildings and infrastructure located on sand dunes?

Hon HELEN MORTON replied:

I thank the member for some notice of the question.

(1) The state government is assisting local governments to undertake coastal vulnerability assessments
through a range of cash and support activities as opportunities arise. The Department of Transport’s
coastal protection program grants approximately $1 million annually. The Department of Planning’s
Coastwest grants program has funding available for a wide range of partnership projects between local
coastal managers and community for on-ground coastal rehabilitation, restoration and preventive
conservation projects, including those that actively engage the community in identifying, discussing and
preparing for the consequences of climate change on their local coastal areas and assets.

As part of a new state government location information strategy, managing coastal vulnerability is one
of four priority initiatives. Over five years, $5 million is being provided for the improvement of
baseline datasets such as bathymetry, coastline movements, tide information and ocean conditions—sea
and swell—essential to undertake coastal vulnerability and coastal protection analysis.

The Departments of Planning, Transport and Environment and Conservation are providing staff time to
assist groups of local governments to undertake regional climate change vulnerability and adaptation
projects. These contributions have been essential in leveraging funds from commonwealth programs
such as the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility and the Coastal Adaptation Decision
Pathways project.

(2) In addition to the funding and resources mentioned in (1), it is worth mentioning some specific projects
that are directly assisting the specified local governments. The Department of Planning, through an
arrangement with Geoscience Australia, has commissioned storm surge and inundation modelling for
Bunbury and Busselton. For the region from Rockingham to Busselton, the Departments of Planning,
Transport and Environment and Conservation are working in partnership with the respective local
governments on developing flexible adaptation pathways for the Peron–Naturaliste coastal region. The
direct state government contribution is $50 000 in cash, and $80 000 in-kind support. A range of
regional baseline coastal studies have and will continue to be undertaken by the Department of Planning
as part of its strategic regional planning programs.