The Tasmanian Government has announced the state’s first sea level allowances and statewide coastal inundation mapping in a bid to offset the effects of shifting sea levels.


State Minister for Climate Change, Cassy O’Connor, said the allowances are crucial for the state’s future adaptation to the effects of climate change.


"These maps and allowances will provide guidance for future development and adaptation in light of the impact of coastal hazards exacerbated by climate change, and I had the pleasure of briefing local government representatives and staff on these matters last Thursday," Ms O'Connor said.


"The sea level rise planning allowances will ensure all land use planning for Tasmania's coastal areas allows for sea level rise of 0.2 metres by 2050 and 0.8 metres by 2100 relative to 2010 levels.”


"A sea level rise planning allowance aims to maintain the level of precaution (or risk tolerance) that is presently acceptable in planning approaches (for example through building codes and standards).


"In simple terms, the planning allowance is the vertical distance that an asset needs to be raised so that the present likelihood of flooding does not increase as sea levels rise.”


State Local Government Minister Bryan Green said the Government had also developed coastal inundation maps based on the best scientific modeling regarding climate change and the risk of flooding in Tasmania’s coastal areas as a result of storm surge.


"The inundation maps are powerful planning tools as they show us where permanent inundation and storm surge is likely to occur in the future," he said.


"The maps show that across the State up to 980 houses could be permanently inundated as a result of sea level rise by 2100.


"The maps also show us that there are currently 620 homes that could be impacted by a significant storm tide event, and that by 2100 this will increase to 1 815."


The allowances and maps only relate to inundation at this stage, not erosion of soft shorelines, or impacts associated with this erosion - these effects need to be considered separately.


"Similar maps depicting areas in the coastal zone that are vulnerable to erosion will be completed early next year," Mr Green said.


"The sea level rise planning allowances and inundation maps will be critical inputs into the Statewide Coastal Hazards Code currently being developed by the Tasmanian Planning Commission to guide coastal zoning in council planning schemes. 


"These tools - along with consideration of how to plan for and manage risks to properties and significant natural and cultural values - will be important elements of the Government's Coastal Protection and Planning Framework which is also currently being developed."


For more information about sea level rise planning allowances and the coastal inundation and hazards maps, visit the Tasmanian Climate Change Office's website here