Ian Hitchcock, Eurobodalla Regional Coordinator of the NSW Coastal Alliance met with Mike Kelly on 12th December 2016 when he met with locals in Narooma Peter Barnard was there asking questions about the Princes Highway corridor and the future of the Princes Highway passing along the coast and through Narooma. Also present were representatives of Narooma RSL to discuss the proposed Memorial Avenue along the coastal section between Dalmeny and Kianga (see article here) Ian Hitchcock, as Eurobodalla Regional Coordinator of the NSW Coastal Alliance asked Mike Kelly specifically about the NSW Coastal Management Act and NSW Coastal Management SEPP 2016. As the subject is complex Ian passed on the following with an assurity from Mike that they would be passed on to his colleagues in the NSW government.
The NSW Coastal Management Act was passed by the NSW Parliament in May 2016 subject to the inclusion of a State Environmental Planning Policy, incorporating mapping of the four coastal management zones – wetlands, littoral rainforest, vulnerable areas, and general use areas.
The draft SEPP has now been released with the promised mapping. The Minister has advised that the mapping will now be completed by the Office of Heritage and Environment in consultation with local councils, using current council mapping and policies.
The Eurobodalla Shire Council has adopted extreme IPCC climate change predictions, and a 4 metre AHD coastal hazard “investigation” zone. This guarantees that the Narooma Flat behind us, and many other commercial and residential areas in the Eurobodalla will be zoned “vulnerable to coastal hazards”, in the new SEPP.
The legislation, the SEPP, and a Section 117 Ministerial Direction, make it almost impossible to gain approval for a normal development in a “vulnerable” area. Development will be restricted to temporary (transportable) buildings, or time limited development where the buildings and infrastructure must be removed after an agreed time period. These restrictions support a policy of “planned retreat”.
If passed into legislation without the mapping being finalised and agreed with local communities, the outcome could be devastating. Developers will not invest in areas labelled for “retreat”, and local economies will collapse.
The NSW Labor Party opposed the Act, but it was passed with Greens and other minor party support in the upper house. Labor was the only party to recognise the economic repercussions that this legislation could have on coastal communities
On behalf of the NSW Coastal Alliance, I ask that Federal Labor supports its NSW colleagues in trying to defeat the passing of the SEPP, at least until all mapping is completed and agreed with local communities.
The NSW Coastal Alliance wants to see an end to “planned retreat” as the NSW Government’s first option solution to sea level rise and coastal hazards in low lying coastal areas. We want to see management and mitigation plans to protect our coastal assets. The NSW Government could start by spending the $83 million reserved for coastal management administration on practical solutions instead of regulation and retreat.
We also want to see uniformity in the classification of coastal zones. Delegating this responsibility to individual local councils with differing views in climate change predictions, is a State Government “cop out”.
Climate change is also a national problem that involves all States and Territories. It is time we saw some real leadership at the Federal level from both sides of Parliament.