Proposed NSW sea-level benchmarks are extreme

15 May 2009

The NSW government seems to believe the sea will be higher here than in Queensland, South Australia or Victoria, according to the Urban Taskforce.

The Taskforces chief executive, Aaron Gadiel, said that the NSW governments draft sea level rise projections were based on an extreme scenario.


If were to believe government projections, in 2050 as you cross the state border from the Gold Coast into NSW, youll see a 13 centimetre jump in the sea level, Mr Gadiel said.

How can you be standing in ankle-deep water in Coolangatta and be knee-deep in Tweed Heads?

It’s ridiculous for anyone to suggest water levels will change on the state boundaries.


Proposed sea-level benchmarks in NSW are the most extreme scenario.


Climate change is happening and it must be planned for. But planning must be based on facts, not fear.


Development applications will be blocked on land affected by projected sea level rises.


But NSW figures dont match-up with the projections by other states.


Victoria has adopted a benchmark of an 80 cm sea level rise to the year 2100, but NSW is suggesting a benchmark of 90 cm by the year 2100. South Australia has a 30 cm benchmark by 2050, but NSW is proposing a 40 cm benchmark for the same timeframe.


In Queensland, the Gold Coast City Council engaged the CSIRO to develop a sea level rise benchmark for its local area. This Council now requires developers to make an allowance for a sea level rise of 27 centimetres over the next 50 years well below the NSW proposed benchmark.


The scientific material publicly relied upon by the Department of Environment and Climate Change doesnt explain why the sea will rise much further here than elsewhere on the east coast, Mr Gadiel said.


Mr Gadiel said that the International Panel on Climate Change had prepared several global warming scenarios. Depending on which scenario is adopted, the degree of expected warming alters. Different scenarios make distinct assumptions about global economic growth, technological change and the future concentration of greenhouse gases.


The actual rate of warming and sea level rise – will depend on how we, as a global community, alter our carbon-dependant lifestyles, Mr Gadiel said.


The science tells us that the sea level rise benchmark for 2100 could be as low as 36cm much less than the 90cm stated in the NSW governments draft projections.


This isnt some academic debating point -this will affect peoples right to live and holiday on NSWs coastline.

Ordinary people are going to be deprived of the right to build new homes.

Its important that we get this right.

This means relying on the best research available, not jumping at shadows.


The Urban Taskforce is a property development industry group, representing Australias most prominent property developers and equity financiers.


For every $1 million in construction expenditure, 27 jobs are created throughout the broader economy. The construction activity made possible by property developers contributes $69 billion to the national economy each year and creates 709,000 direct jobs. The construction industry is Australias third largest source of employment.