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Planning approaches in Tasmania


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Planning system

The framework for Tasmania’s planning system is set out in the Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993 (the Act).

In late 2015 the Act was amended to provide for the introduction of a single planning scheme for the State; the Tasmanian Planning Scheme. The Tasmanian Planning Scheme will consist of State Planning Provisions (SPPs) to ensure consistency in the planning controls applying across the State, and Local Provisions Schedules (LPSs) to provide the necessary flexibility to address local issues. Information on the Tasmanian Planning Scheme can be viewed at the Department of Justice’s Planning Reform website.

The SPPs, which include a Coastal Inundation Hazard Code and a Coastal Erosion Hazard Code, came into effect on 2 March 2017. Local councils are now required to develop LPSs that include the state-wide coastal erosion and coastal inundation hazard maps, which incorporate an allowance for sea-level rise (more information below). Local councils which have more detailed mapping may be able to modify these maps in their LPS. Decisions on applications for use and development will be made based on the application of the SPP Codes and the mapping in the LPSs.

Tasmanian Planning Policies will also be introduced as part of the State’s planning reforms. A consultation draft of the Tasmanian Planning Polices was released in April 2017, and can be viewed here.

The Tasmanian Planning Scheme will strengthen the Tasmanian Government’s management of coastal hazards risks to future developments across the State.

Regional Land Use Strategies will remain part of the Tasmanian planning system and will provide strategic guidance for land use planning in Tasmania.

In 2016 the Tasmanian Government engaged CSIRO to provide updated sea-level rise projections and planning allowances for Tasmania. The updated allowances are based on the sea-level rise projections provided in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s Fifth Assessment Report (IPCC AR5).
Tasmania has sea-level rise projections and planning allowances for each coastal municipality in the State, as well as statewide averages for 2050 and 2100 (both relative to 2010 sea levels). The sea-level rise planning allowances for each coastal municipality can be found in this table: Tasmanian Local Council Sea Level Rise Planning Allowances.

Climate challenges

Tasmania is Australia’s island state, with a total area of 68 401 square kilometres and a population of around 520 000 people. Almost half of Tasmania’s land mass is held in reserves and operates as a net carbon sink.

No place in Tasmania is more than 115 km from the sea, with many population centres and industries focused on the coast. The State’s coastline features a diverse range of natural and cultural values and iconic landscapes, as well as being a major economic asset through tourism, aquaculture, ports and shipping and renewable energy.

Due to its position in the Southern Ocean, Tasmania enjoys a cool temperate climate. The impacts experienced as a result of climate change are therefore likely to be less severe in Tasmania than in other Australian states and territories.

The Climate Futures for Tasmania (CFT) project is the most important source of Tasmanian climate change projections at a local scale. Between 2010 and 2012, the Antarctic Climate and Ecosystems Cooperative Research Centre (ACE CRC) published the CFT reports that presented the first fine-scale local climate information for Tasmania.

Through CFT modelling, we have an understanding of how the Tasmanian climate is likely to change between now and 2100.

The modelling projects the following major changes for Tasmania:

  • a rise in annual average temperatures by between 1.6 and 2.9°C by 2100
  • a significant change in rainfall patterns from season to season and from region to region, with more rain expected on the coasts and less in central Tasmania
  • an increase in rainfall intensity and associated flooding and the possibility of longer periods between rain events
  • an increase in storm instances, which is likely to result in increased flooding, coastal inundation and estuarine flooding
  • more hot summer days and more heat waves than experienced in the past
  • substantially reduced incidence of frost
  • an increase in East Coast water temperature by up to 2 to 3°C by 2070 relative to 1990 levels. [1]

Key planning polices/strategies

Coastal planning in Tasmania is guided by the State Coastal Policy 1996 (SCP). The SCP is a statutory document that applies to the whole of Tasmania and includes all islands except Macquarie Island, which is subject to a special management regime.

Southern Tasmania Regional Land Use Strategy 2010-2035

Regional Land Use Strategy of Northern Tasmania

Living on the Coast: The Cradle Coast Regional Land Use Planning Framework

Key planning legislation

Land Use Planning and Approvals Act 1993

Local Government Act 1993

Further information available at Tasmanian Planning Commission

Relevant state-wide coastal datasets

The Tasmanian Government’s Land Information System Tasmania (LIST) provides a range of open source datasets that are relevant to the coastal zone. These include:

  • LIDAR Coastal Index
  • LIST Coastline (MHWM)
  • Land Tasmania Aerial Photography
  • LIST Hydrographic Areas.

These datasets can be accessed via the following link:

The Tasmanian Shoreline Monitoring and Archiving (TASMARC) project provides surveyed profiles of over 30 beaches throughout the state. Changes to the profile of the beach due to coastal processes are measured by comparisons of the surveys over time (  

Other relevant information

Tasmania's Climate Change Action Plan

On 1 June 2017, the Tasmanian Government released Climate Action 21: Tasmania’s Climate Change Action Plan 2017-2021:

Climate Action 21 sets the Tasmanian Government’s agenda for action on climate change through to 2021. It reflects the Government’s commitment to addressing the critical issue of climate change and articulates how Tasmania will play its role in the global response to climate change.

Through the delivery of action 5.4 of Climate Action 21, the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Tasmanian Climate Change Office is working with coastal managers to understand and manage the impacts of coastal hazards to existing settlements and values.

Climate Action 21 includes a commitment to establish an aspirational long-term target to achieve zero net emissions by 2050, which aligns with the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

The Tasmanian Government has committed $3 million in funding to implement Climate Action 21. This builds on over $400 million already invested by the Government to support action on climate change, including a significant investment in irrigation, infrastructure and the Tasmanian Energy Efficiency Loan Scheme.

Coastal Hazards Package

In response to the risks presented by coastal inundation and erosion the Coastal Hazards Package (the Package) was released by the Tasmanian Government in 2016. The Package provides statewide mapping of coastal erosion and coastal inundation, which is publically available via the LISTmap website. 

The Package forms an important input into the Tasmanian Planning Scheme, which includes statewide planning codes, policies, and provisions for risks and hazards from coastal erosion and inundation.

The work undertaken to develop coastal hazard mapping is ensuring consistency and certainty in how planners, developers, property owners and managers take into account sea level rise and coastal hazards in any new coastal developments.

The Package also provides guidance for managing coastal hazards in the land use planning and building system. It adopts a risk-based approach based on the best available evidence to inform appropriate planning and building controls.

Tasmanian Coastal Adaptation Pathways Project

Through the Tasmanian Coastal Adaptation Pathways (TCAP) project, the Department of Premier and Cabinet’s Tasmanian Climate Change Office has worked in partnership with local councils in 12 of the communities at greatest risk from coastal erosion and inundation.

The aims of the project were to help Tasmanian communities and decision-makers to adapt to climate change impacts by:

  • raising the communities’ awareness of their vulnerability to the impacts of coastal inundation and erosion 
  • improving the ability of coastal councils and communities to plan and respond to likely climate scenarios; and
  • examining risk management and adaptation options that will improve communities' ability to manage risk and reduce the impacts of inundation and erosion.

The TCAP approach was to work with local councils and communities through a step-by-step approach to consider adaptation options for vulnerable coastal areas.

Step 1 - Councils nominate coastal areas that are vulnerable to climate change.

Step 2 - Using coastal hazard mapping and a risk management approach, the coastal risks for each of the coastal communities are identified and analysed.

Step 3 - The project takes this analysis to the relevant local councils and communities and supports them to consider adaptation options using a flexible planning pathway (JPEG).

Three rounds of TCAP were completed between 2011 and 2015. The Tasmanian Government is building on the outcomes of the TCAP through the delivery of Action 5.4 of Climate Action 21.


Coastal Communities Adaptation Planning portal

A suite of training modules were produced by the Tasmanian Government to further support community-based coastal adaptation planning. The modules are based on the methodology used in the Tasmanian Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways Project (TCAP) and have a strong emphasis on involving the community in adaptation planning in coastal settlements. The modules outline processes for undertaking a risk analysis and determining adaptation options (referred to as ‘pathways’ in the modules) for a community that has been identified as being at-risk from coastal hazards. Risks might include erosion or inundation and may be current day or projected future risks. More information can be found here