DEVELOPMENTS along the Australian coast will be pushed back another 50m to accommodate sea level changes, erosion and severe storms.
A predicted increase in the sea level from 0.38m to 0.9m will result in the setback increasing from 100m to 150m.
The State Government is confident the revised policy will accommodate coastal planning for the next 100 years.
But the Urban Development Institute of Australia (UDIA) is worried the revision policy is too rigid.
UDIA chief executive Debra Goostrey said sea level increases needed to be addressed but she believed there were best-practice solutions that could be considered, rather than a 50m setback across the board.
“The UDIA believes that more flexibility for developers is required to ensure that land is not unnecessarily sterilised for any form of development,” she said.
“Alternatives such as sea walls could be implemented in some cases to protect development from a potential (sea level) rise.
“Worldwide, new technologies and engineering solutions are popping up all the time and it is important to acknowledge that there could be other ways of protecting new developments.”
Planning Minister John Day said the WA Planning Commission found it necessary to amend the policy in recognition of nationally accepted and adopted increases in sea level rise projections.
“The practice of requiring development setbacks and foreshore reserves has been in place in WA since the 1930s, which means WA is somewhat better placed than other States to deal with the impacts of rising sea level and storm events,’’ he said
“The decision has followed careful consideration and reflects the latest information from the International Panel on Climate Change and the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation and is consistent with other state jurisdictions’ policy positions.
“The position statement places the State in a sound position to avoid negative and costly impacts of sea level rise on coastal development.
“It will ensure our State’s coastal planning guidelines are based on the most up-to-date information, common sense and a precautionary approach.”
Ms Goostrey said there should be greater flexibility and freedom for developers and builders.
“If a developer chooses to use the land for recreation facilities or restaurants and they are aware there is a risk that in 50 or 100 years that area may be affected by sea level rise, it should be up to them to take that risk,’’ she said.
A full review of the State Coastal Planning Policy has begun, with proposed changes expected to be released for public consultation and comment by the end of the year.