Thursday, March 9, 2023
Mackay and Whitsunday Life
Last year I attended a coastal leaders forum that brought together leaders from 41 councils. This was an opportunity for our coastal leaders to gather, share ideas and find ways to work together to improve the liveability of our communities impacted by coastal erosion now and into the future.
The Insurance Council of Australia commented at the forum, $150m is given out each day in Australia for insurance claims. Government has invested heavily in a solution to the insurance crisis with a re-insurance scheme, which at the outset looks promising to assist many families in Australia who suffer high insurance costs to protect their homes.
As of July 1, 2022, the re-insurance pool was accepted in parliament and passed. This pool is designed to support insurance companies, the pricing is available in a report found at arpc.gov.au.
At the forum, I was interested to hear that a nature-based solution like a 30m wide stand of mangroves will reduce wave height and therefore reduce erosion. Sea walls are costing $8000 per lineal meter, and nature-based solutions are $1000-$2000 per lineal meter (these figures have not been ground truthed with current labour and material shortages).
Our government pays 3 per cent funding for pre-disaster measures and supplies 98 per cent of funding for post-events. Natural hazards will continue to happen, and we can’t dwell on the past. We need to be risk intelligent and risk aware. Tomorrow won’t look like today and we need to gather more information to make informed decisions.
The State Government needs to make changes in legislation for Local Government regarding planning schemes, LUP, and flood plain models. Buyback and retreat must be part of ongoing conversations.
My takeaways for our region:
● Coastal hazard adaptation is very real, and our council will be able to better inform our community once the coastal hazard adaptation study (CHAS) is complete. As part of the CHAS we must always remember our coastline is not just for the people that live on the coast, it's our entire community that uses it for recreation and we must be concerned about the loss of community amenity and community trauma coastal erosion causes.
● The three levels of government need to work together.
● Implementation of CHAS in our region can’t come soon enough and must include nature-based solutions.
Cr Alison Jones
Mackay Regional Council