Coastal councils assets at risk

Shoalhaven is among the coastal NSW Local Governments that will be substantially affected when sea levels rise due to climate change. It is predicated that up to 344 kilometres of roads, 20 kilometres of railway line and 95 commercial buildings will be affected in the municipality.

The report entitled "Climate Change Risks to Coastal Buildings and Infrastructure" was recently released by the Federal Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet.

In releasing the report, Greg Combet said that governments of all levels need to be aware of the potential future costs of climate change and that "we can also reduce our vulnerability to impacts we can't avoid by using the best available science to plan timely and cost effective adaptation measures."

It is predicated that a range of coastal assets will be at risk from the combination of flooding and erosion, including between 5,800 and 8,600 commercial buildings, between 3,700 and 6,200 light industrial buildings and between 27,000 and 35,000 kilometres of roads and rail.

Shoahaven has already undertaken a detailed climate change risk management assessment of its public assets. Council's planning considered a wider range of public assets such as community buildings and sewage and water supply infrastructures.

"Council has also being doing its own work so that it is well placed to respond to climate change scenarios," said Mayor Paul Green."Council has appropriate processes in place to ensure it can continue to deliver a high level of service to the community.

"We have Asset Management Plans and inspection regimes in place and are actively developing, implementing and updating flood risk management plans and a Coastal Zone Management Plan to ensure we are considering the latest scientific information.

"This ensures that, in partnership with our community, we are well placed to adapt to the challenges that climate change and sea level rise will bring.

"However the Federal and State Governments need to better resource and fund local councils to respond to this emerging issue in the longer term and I have already written to both levels of government in this regard."