Tasmanian Government announces sea level rise planning allowances and coastal inundation mapping

TASMANIAN Climate Change Minister Cassy O'Connor and Local Government and Planning Minister Bryan Green last week announced Tasmanian sea level rise planning allowances and state-wide coastal inundation mapping.

"These maps and allowances will provide guidance for future development and adaptation in light of the impact of coastal hazards exacerbated by climate change," Ms O'Connor said.

Ms O'Connor said the sea level rise planning allowances will ensure all land use planning for Tasmania's coastal areas allows for sea level rise of 0.2 metres by 2050 and 0.8 metres by 2100 relative to 2010 levels.

"A sea level rise planning allowance aims to maintain the level of precaution (or risk tolerance) that is presently acceptable in planning approaches (for example through building codes and standards)," the Minister said.

"In simple terms, the planning allowance is the vertical distance that an asset needs to be raised so that the present likelihood of flooding does not increase as sea levels rise."

Ms O'Connor said the introduction of the allowances, which are based on a peer reviewed methodology by Dr John Hunter of the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC), means Tasmania is no longer the only Australian state without a sea level rise benchmark.

The Minister said the sea level rise allowances will be given effect through various planning instruments as part of the Coastal Protection and Planning Framework process.

Mr Green added that the government has also developed coastal inundation maps based on the best available scientific evidence regarding climate change and the risk of flooding in Tasmania's coastal areas as a result of storm surge.

"The inundation maps are powerful planning tools as they show us where permanent inundation and storm surge is likely to occur in the future," he said.

The allowances and maps only relate to inundation at this stage, not erosion of soft shorelines, or impacts associated with this erosion - these effects need to be considered separately.

"Similar maps depicting areas in the coastal zone that are vulnerable to erosion will be completed early next year," Mr Green said.

"The sea level rise planning allowances and inundation maps will be critical inputs into the Statewide Coastal Hazards Code currently being developed by the Tasmanian Planning Commission to guide coastal zoning in council planning schemes.

"These tools - along with consideration of how to plan for and manage risks to properties and significant natural and cultural values - will be important elements of the Government's Coastal Protection and Planning Framework which is also currently being developed."

More information about sea level rise planning allowances and the coastal inundation and hazards maps is available from the Tasmanian Climate Change Office's website at <http://www.dpac.tas.gov.au/divisions/climatechange/what_the_government_is_doing/new_tools_to_improve_planning_for_sea_level_rise_and_coastal_hazards>.

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