Doubts over Rising Sea Levels, Make State Government Rethink Sunset Clauses

News of the Committee comes nine months after the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal refused a townhouse development in the Gippsland town of Toora, in part because of the potential for the inundation of rising sea levels in the future.

The Government has since told planners to apply a level of 80 centimetres as the predicted sea level rise over the next 100 years, when proposing a project on coastal land.

This decision has concerned some, who argue research on rising sea levels in still inconclusive.

A spokeswoman for the Planning Minister said the Committee will debate and discuss introducing a “sunset clause” to coastal developments, which grants a permit for specified periods, after which further application would be needed to extend the permit.

Planning barrister Clem Newton-Brown said there is nothing to stop a council or VCAT from imposing sunset clauses on permits. “They are often seen in outdoor advertising permits.”

“Sunset clauses would be a good compromise as they work within the framework of predicted rises,” he said. “Whatever (rising sea level) figure State Government wants to adopt, sunset clauses would still have a place to protect the rights of landowners in the short term.”

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of