The potential impacts of climate change were discussed in February 2010 by Councillors and senior staff from Mosman, Manly, Warringah and Pittwater Councils at the SHOROC Climate Change Information Seminar held at the Harbord Diggers.

“The coastal and low lying areas of the SHOROC region from Mosman to Pittwater are particularly susceptible to rising sea levels” said Clr Anne Connon, SHOROC President and Mayor of Mosman. “It is critical we get our response to this threat right. We’re holding this Seminar to collectively discuss our options, potential legal implications and what other councils are doing”.

The Seminar organised by SHOROC, the Shore Regional Organisation of Councils, includes presentation sthroughout the evening from: Andrew Paul, ‘Climate Change and Sea Level Rise ? Impacts on Costal Foreshores; Dr. Karen Blackmore ‘Climate Change in the Hunter and Central Coast Regions’; and Dr Alice Howe ‘Lake Macquarie City Council’s Response to Sea Level Rise’.

Guest Speakers will present integrated assessments of sea level rise impacts on coastal areas and key insights into socio-economic and coastal engineering studies. The presentations will also identify the potential risks from sea level rise and proposed range of adaptive responses to protect against the identified physical and community risks of climate change.

Mosman Manager of Environmental Services, Mehreen Faruqi, will facilitate a Q&A session with councils and the expert panel of guest speakers. Clr Connon said those in attendance will be presented with information on the issues related to climate change in coastal areas in Australia together with information on the legal responsibilities of councils in the face of the predicted impacts of climate change. “The Councillors are also calling for consistency in Federal and State guidelines for sea level rise to enable robust planning. The State guidelines estimate sea level will rise by 0.9m, while Federal guidelines estimate rises by 1.1m. This makes it difficult for councils to plan and potentially will put us at risk of legal action” said Clr Connon.

SHOROC would like to thank the guest speakers addressing the Seminar, a number of whom travelled from interstate, and SHOROC member councils for their support in making the Seminar a success. Presentations from the Seminar are available with permission from the presenters.