Ballina misses sea level probe
A NEW Federal Government report on rising sea levels has failed to name Ballina as an ‘at risk’ coastal area, despite the town being listed by the NSW Government as vulnerable to climate change.
The report, Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts, says 2000 homes will be inundated in the Tweed Valley if sea levels rise by 1.1 metres by 2020 and a severe storm hits.
The report, released on Saturday by the Federal Department of Climate Change, found that almost 1000 homes in the Clarence Valley could also be inundated.
Director of the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, Professor Roger Tomlinson, said he was surprised Ballina was not listed in the report, which assessed every state.
“It is listed by the NSW Government as one of the 19 hot spots for rising sea levels,” he said.
Professor Tomlinson said it was the first time a Federal department had tried to assess the extent and cost of rising sea levels, and the increased risk of extreme storms.
“It’s a very good attempt at a first pass of an assessment at a Federal level, but it will be refined in the future,” he said.
The report also found almost 200 homes in the Byron Shire were within 110 metres of soft coastline and would be threatened as rising sea levels caused more coastal erosion.
Professor Tomlinson said Geoscience Australia had prepared most of the report using existing data.
He said the Government geographical surveyors looked at existing information, so he couldn’t say if Ballina was omitted by mistake or because of new ways of digitally modelling terrain.
“I would most certainly have had Ballina on my list of vulnerable coastline spots,” he said.
Last month Professor Tomlinson told the NSW Coastal Conference that much of Ballina would be inundated if sea levels rose by 90cm by 2100.
He said East Ballina Heights would become ‘East Ballina Island’ and it would be questionable whether the town could remain a place to live.
The new Federal report found 250,000 homes would be threatened by rising sea levels and storms, and $63 billion in infrastructure was at risk.