From Watts Up With That?
Essay by Eric Worrall
Local governments attempting to apply new Victorian state sea level rise building permit rules to residential blocks bought in good faith are creating legal chaos.
Coastal councils urge action after rejecting permits over sea level rises
Coastal councils are pleading for state government guidance as they find themselves rejecting planning permits for new houses because of the risks of rising sea levels.
Bass Coast Shire is among several Victorian councils in coastal locations saying it is being forced to dash the dreams of beachside living due to the risk of inundation.
Councils from along the state’s 2500-kilometre coastline, and the national body representing planners, want the state government to roll out consistent flood maps across the Victorian coastline to identify where building is, or is not, allowed so property owners and purchasers are in no doubt about the rules for individual sites.
They fear the ad hoc nature of the current system leaves them open to costly claims for compensation and lengthy tussles with landowners through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT).
To further complicate matters, the state government is also at odds with some councils over its sea level rise predictions, which are based on 15-year-old projects and considered outdated by many scientists.
The real problem is not sea level rise, even if it occurs, or the Bass Coast Shire council. The problem is the authoritarian, deep green Victorian state administration, which appears to believe they have an unfettered right to tell people what risks they can take with their own property – even when that involves changing the ground rules after people have purchased residential land in good faith.
But what else would you expect, from an a state administration which in 2021 decided the appropriate response to a lockdown freedom protest was to open fire with rubber bullets, even though the protestors were unarmed.