Councils seek guidance in preparing for sea level rise

By Staff Writer

In their submission to the New South Wales Government’s draft sea level rise policy, the Local Government and Shires Associations of NSW have called for clearer guidelines on preparing for sea level rise.

Shires Association president Cr Bruce Miller said the draft policy on sea level rise lacked technical guidance on predicting the impacts of sea level rise.

“One thing we felt was missing was a set of clear guidelines on how councils can estimate and plan for the effect of rising sea levels and associated natural hazards, such as severe storms and coastal recession,” Cr Miller said.

“The guidelines need to help councils implement viable solutions and must be developed in close consultation with Local Government to ensure the best possible outcomes for both local communities and the environment.”

Cr Miller said the guidelines would also need to explain liabilities issues, including the exemptions in section 733 of the Local Government Act.

“At this stage, it’s not entirely clear what is covered by this section,” he added.

Local Government Association president Cr Genia McCaffery said councils would also require extra funding to plan for sea level rise.

“Councils have devoted significant resources to preparing for climate change – from implementing innovative policies, to undertaking community education campaigns, so it’s really important the State Government gets this policy right,” Cr McCaffery said.

“Lack of funding is a huge obstacle for us at the moment, and we’ve highlighted this in our submission.

“Any funding available to councils must come with clear explanations on exactly how the funding will work and who is eligible for it.”

Related Story: Sea level rise projections are ‘extreme’

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