Victoria must act now on climate risk
The publication of the Port Phillip Bay Coastal Hazard Assessment today provides another stark reminder of the very real risks and challenges Victorians face as result of climate change.
The Assessment, comprising a series of maps and summary reports, clearly shows that several built-up coastal areas – including Port Melbourne, Elwood, Werribee, Altona, and Queenscliff - are vulnerable to sea level rise, storm surge inundation and erosion.
With Victoria experiencing extensive flooding for the second time in 15 months, the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) will call on the Minister for Planning to use her powers under the Planning and Environment Act to update planning schemes to reflect known climate and flood-related risks.
MAV President David Clark said the release of the Port Phillip Bay Coastal Hazard Assessment was welcome, and that a critical next step will be the State Government taking the lead on updating relevant planning schemes to reflect the hazards identified.
“We must ensure the Victorian planning system adequately manages the risks of development in terms of climate impacts, including flooding and inundation,” he said.
“The State is clearly best placed to quickly amend planning schemes to ensure they accurately reflect known risks. Continuing the current town-by-town, council-by-council approach is not an option, it leaves our communities at risk and, as Victorians affected by the 2022 and current floods results can testify, leads to high costs and heartbreak. State leadership is urgently needed.”
Following the Black Saturday bushfires, the Victorian Government recognised the need for change and took responsibility for applying bushfire risk in all planning schemes using a streamlined mapping and implementation process.
“The State Government already updates planning schemes for bushfire risk, why shouldn’t it do the same for flooding, inundation and erosion risk? This would mean Victorians have consistent and transparent decision-making processes, which will allow them to make informed decisions about where and how to build or live.”
The 2022 Kompas report estimates sea level risk and storm surge impacts on land and property along the Victorian coast to reach a loss of $337 billion by 2100, with economic losses in residential areas mostly occurring around Port Phillip Bay.
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