LAKE Macquarie City Council has endured a ‘‘constant attack’’ from critics of its sea level rise policy, mayor and MP Greg Piper says.
‘‘Professional officers and councillors have been referred to as idiots in the media, unfairly too,’’ Cr Piper said in a speech to State Parliament last week.
‘‘Uncertainty around the exact rate of sea level rise does not mean the science is flawed and should not delay prudent action.’’
Cr Piper said councils were following the state government’s sea level rise policy but faced ‘‘vociferous resistance’’.
He said NSW coastal councils were at the forefront of adapting planning laws to meet rising sea levels, but had been ‘‘left to do this without the obvious support of the NSW government’’.
‘‘Deferring tough decisions about sites affected by coastal hazards or flood risks may be appealing to certain interests, but tomorrow’s residents and their governments will be the losers,’’ Cr Piper said.
He said the vast majority of people in the community believed climate change was real and caused by human activity.
‘‘These people are not scientists, but they put their faith in the powerful view of the majority of climate scientists,’’ he said.
‘‘It is disappointing that a relatively few sceptics or outright deniers gain disproportionate attention.’’
He said councils needed to deal with the reality of rising sea levels.
The Newcastle Herald reported last month that the NSW government was planning to overhaul sea level rise policy.
Cr Piper said he hoped a government review would provide ‘‘strong guidance as to how councils deal with these challenges’’.
The Herald reported recently that Belmont businessman Jeff McCloy was planning a class action against Lake Macquarie councillors for devaluing and restricting waterfront properties with its sea level rise policy.
The Back to Basics Coalition has urged the state government to place a moratorium on the council’s sea level rise policy.