Protecting the coast

Environment Defender’s Office NSW Northern Rivers education officer Mark Bryne talks about climate change and coastal policy at the Lennox Head community centre.
Environment Defender’s Office NSW Northern Rivers education officer Mark Bryne talks about climate change and coastal policy at the Lennox Head community centre. Megan Kinninment

WHILE Australians prepare themselves for the carbon tax, the “hot issues” of climate change and rising sea levels were on the agenda at a Lennox Head workshop put on by the Environment Defender's Office NSW (EDO), Northern Rivers, on Saturday.

Attending the workshop was a range of local residents, planners, developers, environmentalists and politicians who were told about coastal erosion, planned retreat and changes made in 2010 to the NSW Coastal Policy.

The science surrounding rising sea levels, estimated to be 40cm by 2050 and one metre by 2100, was a “moving feast”, EDO education officer Mark Byrne said.

“There is uncertainty surrounding climate change – the science is rapidly changing,” he said.

While Lennox Head and Belongil were identified as hot spots for erosion and rising sea levels, the entire coastal zone would come under more pressure with population growth and climate change effects, Mr Byrne said.

“We're here today to look at what changes have been made to legislation and what's going to be needed in the future.”

Policy to date had been as much about protecting governmental liability as bio-diversity protection, Mr Byrne said.

The complex and multiple layers of coastal policies were discussed, with Lennox Head resident and NSW MLC Catherine Cusack saying the public needed clearer policies around development in coastal zones.

“It's unworkable at the moment,” she told the meeting.

The development of public infrastructure in coastal zones also needed more scrutiny, she said.

Topics:  climate change lennox head rising sea levels workshop

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