IPCC shows need for foresight on WA coastal development

1st April 2014


The latest IPCC report released confirms the growing risk to infrastructure in WA’s coastal communities and the urgent need to update State Government laws on coastal development, Greens MLC Lynn MacLaren says.
“The IPCC has forecast that low-lying coastal zones will be vulnerable to storm surges, coastal flooding and sea-level rises; that there will be more frequent flooding in urban areas; and that there will be breakdowns in infrastructure and critical services such as electricity, water supply, health and emergency services due to increases in extreme weather events,” Ms MacLaren said.
“These are not far-off or make-believe forecasts but real issues that we need to adapt our planning framework and address now – or else sleepwalk into an expensive liabilities disaster.
“Firstly, we urgently need a plan to identify the coastal areas that are at risk of storm surges, coastal flooding and sea level rise; secondly we need to stop new infrastructure being built in these locations and thirdly we need to identify responsibilities for managing  future coastal risk.
“The Greens’ Climate Change Readiness Coastal Planning and Protection Bill would deliver all these things and plugs an existing gap in planning policies for WA’s coastal zone.
“Under our Bill, each local government managing land in the coastal zone will be obliged to prepare an adaptation plan and a management plan to ensure the protection of the environmental, social, cultural and economic values of the coast – however, in doing so, they will be supported by State coastal planning legislation that restricts new infrastructure from being built in locations where it is inevitable that it will become unsafe.”
“A development at Port Kennedy has already been re-mapped due to insufficient setbacks. This kind of thing will happen more often if our laws aren’t updated.”

Authorised by Lynn MacLaren © 2017

Hon Lynn MacLaren MLC - Member for South Metropolitan Region Legislative Council, Parliament of Western Australia