Submission to Commissioner – Public Inquiry (Central Coast Council)

Submission to Commissioner

Notice of Public Inquiry – Central Coast Council

Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State, Federal and Local Governments (Case Study Central Coast Region, NSW)

Submission Focus: Term of Reference #3


Ms Roslyn McCulloch


Office of Local Government

Locked Bag 3018

Nowra 2541


Dr. Ray Rauscher

U4 #25 Waratah St East Gosford 2250  

M 043 500 4844

H 4311 6674                                                                           Dated: 18 June 2021




1. Local Government Rates and State Cost Shifting to Local Government

1.1 Local Government Rates

1.2 State Cost Shifting to Local Government

2. State and Council Planning and Financing a Growth Centre

2.1 Major Open Space and Wildlife Corridor Systems

2.2. Local and Regional Roads

2.3 Bus Transport and Bus Shelters

2.4 Transit Ways

2.5 Bikeways

2.6 Gosford Transport Interchange

2.7 Footpath and Curb and Gutter Provisions

2.8 Cultural and Community Service Facilities

2.9 Heritage Planning

2.10 Library and Recreation Facilities

2.11 Central Coast CBDs Main Streets Upgrading

3. Local Government Reform and Central Coast Growth Centre Costs

3.1 Local Government Reform Process

3.2 State Significant Areas

3.3 Central Coast Region Gaining City Status

3.4 New Approaches to Funding Growth Centres Such as the Central Coast

3.5 Governance and Elections Review



I make this submission to the Commissioner of the Public Inquiry into the Central Coast Council (NSW) (herein called the Council). On the basis of Terms of Reference of the Inquiry I wish to address several items under Terms of Reference #3, ‘other matter that warrants mention particularly those that may impact on the effective administration of Council’s functions and responsibilities or the community’s confidence in the Council being able to do so’.

In addressing the #3 Term of Reference I submit that one critical issue that has affected the operations of the Council (leading to this Inquiry) is the implications of planning and financing for the Region as a Growth Centre. The public focus (and the rightful seeking of information by all parties) since the dismissal of the Councillors by the State has been primarily on: the Council’s debt; cost of the amalgamation of two councils into one; and, responsibilities of Councillors and Council staff. While these are important and central questions I submit they are broadly hinged on a general lack of funds available for this Council (given a number of uniquely regional features) to be addressed herein.

The planning and financing of growth centres is examined in the context of the roles of State (New South Wales) and Local Government (Central Coast Council). It is acknowledged that the Federal Government of Australia plays a significant role across its Parliament and Departments in planning and financing growth centres. The submission, however, focuses on the Terms of Reference of the Inquiry.

The submission is written in the light of the Central Coast Council’s current position (May 2021) of a budget deficit of $547m (a major part of which was brought over from the pre-amalgamated councils). Any review by the State (via the Commissioner’s inquiry work and recommendations to the State) in the planning and financing of a growth centre such as the Central Coast (thus Central Coast Council) needs to reference the Federal Government’s role and responsibilities.


In the development of any urbanizing area (city or region) there are fundamental planning and financing tools. At various times the governance bodies contribute different expertise. The starting point for any review is the Central Coast Region being declared a NSW Regional Growth Centre in 1975 (Central Coast Structure Plan (DoP 1975).


In examining growth centre planning and finance, the significance of population growth on the Central Coast needs to be first addressed. Population growth on the Central Coast has been a major issue since 1975 (noted in the above Structure Plan release). Hence the region has experienced growth from 70,000 residents (1975) to the current population of 354,915 (February 2021) and a projected population of 414,615 in 2036 (additional increase of 59,700 people as noted above) (references: idcommunity demographic resources and Central Coast Planning Strategy 2036 (DPIE 2018).

Projecting ahead 20 years from 2036 to 2056, this author estimates a likely population will be close to 500,000 (½ million) (an increase of 85,385 from the projected 2036 population). In summary from the 2021 population (354,915) there could be an increase of 145,085 people on the Central Coast by 2056 (that is within 35 years). To examine this projection within a timeline looking backwards from 2021 to 1986 (35 years) is not considered by most as a long timeline. In conclusion, population growth and the challenges it presents to the State and Central Coast Council’s planning and financing is a core and significant factor for the public and governance.

The aspect of sustainability (environment, social and economic) is also essential to address by all parties (including the Commissioner of this Public Inquiry). What choice within governance decision making (State and Local) will be offered to Central Coast residents in determining an optimum and sustainable population (and cost to service that population) for the Central Coast?  There are three major factors within this population question that will need to be considered in any review by the Commissioner now and State and Local Government at all times, namely:

1. Quality of life of all Central Coast individuals (including implications of Covid-19 pandemic)

2. The movement of a portion of Greater Sydney’s growing population (under State planning timeframes) to the Central Coast

3. Impact of population increases on the environment of the Central Coast

Growth Centres

It’s acknowledged that the Central Coast Region is one of five NSW urban growth centres within and adjacent to Greater Sydney. The other four centres are: South West Sydney; Western Sydney; Illawarra-Wollongong; and, Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Area. Planning and financing for all growth centres includes, and to herein be addressed:

1. Local Government Rates and State Cost Shifting to Local Government

2. State and Council Planning and Financing a Growth Centre

3. Local Government Reform and Central Coast Growth Centre Costs

1. Local Government Rates and State Cost Shifting to Local Government

There are two questions here (rates and cost shifting) for the State and the Council to address:

1.1 Local Government Rates

The submission acknowledges a decision this month by the New South Wales Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) (in determining Council’s request) for a rate rise of 15% (an increase above the 2% allowable annual rate rise increment as set by the State) over three consecutive years. Given the harmonizing of rates across the whole of the Central Coast (as required by the State), the rate rise will be significantly higher than the 15% within in the pre-amalgamated Gosford City area. The harmonization adds an additional 27.1% average increase in rates in the old Gosford City area. The rates in general will fall within the pre-amalgamated Wyong Shire area.

The rates question is acknowledged to be a complex and most significant one for Council and all ratepayers of the Central Coast. Coupled with the rates question is the issue of asset sales to raise funds to bring the debt down (noted above) as is currently proceeding  Both of these two issues and several others are core items in respect to meeting costs of a regional growth centre such as the Central Coast. The issues are especially important given the planned regional population increase (approximately 59,700 to 2036, only 15 years from 2021) under State residential release area planning.)

1.2 State Cost Shifting to Local Government

Cost shifting signals a council carrying financial impositions by the State. The cost shifting is within a context of a council existing as a statutory body created by the State. The council’s councillors, for example, can be dismissed by the State (as occurred with the Central Coast Council in 2020). Thus cost shifting to local government, as one issue, needs review, including (for example) in areas of:  waste charges; and, costs associated with State owned land and water assets such as Tuggerah Lakes and their foreshores. The Lakes and foreshores, for example, require continue Council upgrading, recreation use provisions and maintenance (i.e. dredging and stabilisation of The Entrance Channel). Finally, at the same time local government in Australia has no constitutional recognition to better position itself in areas such as cost shifting. It’s understood that most Australians favour a local government constitutional recognition.

2. State and Council Planning and Financing a Growth Centre

There are a number of questions for the State and Council to address under planning and financing of a growth centre as follows:

2.1 Major Open Space and Wildlife Corridor Systems

Major open space provisions such as the Coastal Open Space System (COSS) needs review to determine a greater funding role of the State and Federal Governments (including planning, additional land acquisitions, use of and maintenance of these spaces). In addition, the State needs to examine how conservation and wildlife corridors can be further established, expanded and maintained (see State Government’s North Wyong Shire Structure Plan 2012). This is especially so in the growth development release areas such as Lake Munmorah and the extension of the COSS program into all of the former Wyong Shire area of the Central Coast.

2.2. Local and Regional Roads

Many of the roads on the Central Coast are designated ‘local’ by the State (thus funded by the Council). A State review of those roads that could more logically be designated ‘regional’ is needed. In addition, many roads designated ‘regional’ and maintained by Council under agreement with the State (with a subsidy to Council) needs to also be reviewed. The State indicated via a press release on 25 Jan 2021 (Coast News) that it will be reviewing these road designations throughout the State to (quote) ‘ease the associated costs to councils (and thus ratepayers)’.

2.3 Bus Transport and Bus Shelters

The State, given its provision of leasing new buses to Central Coast bus companies (as well as the State collection of fares and provision of information plinths) should also take over the role of providing bus shelters.  There is a pressing need for bus shelters over the entire Central Coast. Apparently the Council does not have the financial ability to provide and maintain these shelters. In one suburb alone, Springfield, there are 18 bus stops in the main bus route (total stops covering both directions) and only 2 shelters. This situation exists in a suburb that was targeted by State zoning for rapid development in the 1970s (50 years ago). It’s surmised that the Central Coast residents’ low bus patronage (excluding school runs) is partly a result of poor bus infrastructure such as appropriate and modern shelters (i.e. containing lighting, etc.).

2.4 Transit Ways

It’s noted the State has funded (around year 2000) 3 new Transit Ways (Parramatta to growth centres of Liverpool, Rouse Hill and Blacktown). This included state of the art bus shelters (with time boards, bike racks, adequate seating, night lights and emergency telephone). There are many opportunities for the State to undertake Transit Ways on the Central Coast. The first such route would be from Woy Woy via Gosford, Erina, Bateau Bay, Tuggerah, Wyong, North Lakes and Wyee. It is understood that the Central Coast Sustainable Transport Group submitted this proposal to the NSW Minister for Transport in 2020.

2.5 Bikeways

There appears to be a major need for a greater take up by the State in financing bikeways and related infrastructure on the Central Coast. The current expenditure on bikeways is inadequate in meeting the bikeway plans as adopted by the Council.

2.6 Gosford Transport Interchange

The Gosford Transport Interchange needs a total upgrade similar to Newcastle Interchange. This is particularly the case for the bus waiting area as this area is antiquated and totally inadequate for a growth centre.  Upgrades such as electronic bus time signage, seating and commuter protection from wet weather needs attention in a master plan. This would include finance from the State and/or private public partnerships (PPPs) (such as the Newcastle example cited).

2.7 Footpath and Curb and Gutter Provisions

The State needs to consider assisting Council in undertaking footpath and curb and gutter provisions throughout the urban areas. It is understood that there is a Council 50 to 60 year backlog (mostly in established areas) in the provision of this essential infrastructure.  The Council budget is miniscule compared to this backlog, suggesting some urban areas will never see adequate footpaths and curb and guttering. In respect, for a growth area designated in 1975 as noted in the introduction, this situation would appear to be a dysfunction of governance provisions. The issue thus needs a partnership solution between the Council and the State.

2.8 Cultural and Community Service Facilities

Cultural and Community Service facilities on the Central Coast need to receive better State and Federal Governments support in planning, financing and upkeep. This upkeep of facilities happens extensively in Sydney where State cultural facilities, for example, are readily State funded. This includes Sydney’s museums, culture, performing arts centres, and the recent (2021) $40m upgrade of the Wharf Theatre in The Rocks.

There is a recent case study on the inability of State, Federal and Local governance to engage the Central Coast community to build a Central Coast Performing Arts Centre (PAC). The project was promoted over 20 years (2000-2020) by the local community. The failure to see this facility eventuate (as reported in the local newspapers The Advocate and Coast News over several years) appears to be attributed to a lack of agreement (in site location and finance) by the State, Federal and Council.  As a result it’s suggested the Central Coast community’s confidence in the three levels of governance working together was diminished. A review of projects such as PAC would be valuable for future need provisions (often generated from the community level). 

2.9 Heritage Planning

The State needs a major role in heritage planning (including signage) in centres such as Gosford City Centre and other major and minor Central Coast CBDs.

2.10 Library and Recreation Facilities

In respect to Gosford CBD library (replacing the existing one) it has taken Council (given funding shortages) over 25 years (1996-2021) to plan, allocate finance, and agree on a site. On 17 Feb 2021 the Council (via the Administrator) agreed to finance the new library. This long timeline suggests Council’s inability to be able to finance some major service provisions such as libraries and recreation facilities and thus needing review. Central Coast residents note, for example, the State is assisting Greater Sydney in the rebuilding, upgrading and operation of the NSW State Library and numerous sporting complexes. The State has financed the new Parramatta Stadium (2020) and has put forth plans to rebuild other Sydney stadiums.

2.11 Central Coast CBDs Main Streets Upgrading

The State may need to expand areas of financial assistance and consider joint programs with Council to upgrade many Central Coast CBDs and main streets. These include, for example, CBDs of Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina, North Gosford, East Gosford, Erina, Bateau Bay, Long Jetty, The Entrance, Tuggerah, Wyong, Toukley, Budgewoi and Northlakes. This could include a review of funding for upgrading and provision of traffic calming, public amenities (i.e. toilets), open spaces, infrastructure, rest areas, landscaping, passive recreation, children’s play areas, seating etc.).

3. Local Government Reform and Central Coast Growth Centre Costs

There are several questions for the State and Council to address under local government reform and the continuing Central Coast growth centre costs, as follows:

3.1 Local Government Reform Process

On a broad basis the State Government may need to review its local government reform processes. The State for example commenced its local government reform investigations in 2012 (main document being Destination 2036). It’s noted that this process commenced before the State legislated amalgamations in 2016 within the Local Government (Council Amalgamations) Proclamation 2016.

The State’s amalgamation steps affected the Central Coast councils of Gosford and Wyong. It is understood in effect that the two councils were amalgamated (as a Central Coast Council) via an ultimatum by the State (as reported in the Sydney and Central Coast papers in late 2015). It was reported that the Gosford Mayor’s delegation to the Minister for Local Government at the time was informed the State would amalgamate the two councils were Gosford Council not to agree to amalgamation. In general the resident sentiment on the Central Coast (then and now in 2020) appears to be that the residents were not effectively and fully engaged by the State in its amalgamation review process. That said, the State may need to review the full implications of the amalgamation, including related costings incurred by the new Council, extended finance impositions on ratepayers now and into the future (noted above), and State to local government cost shifting (also noted above). Finally, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) needs to examine reforms of local government from that tri-governmental level. This group is chaired by the Prime Minister of Australia Scott Morrison and has equal sitting rights with the States afforded to the Australian Local Government Association.

3.2 State Significant Areas

A review may be needed on the implications (i.e. planning and finance at State and Council levels) of the State designation of ‘State Significant Areas’. Gosford City Centre, for example, is designated a revitalisation area (under the State’s Gosford City Centre Revitalisation Program 2018). There are planning and finance implications of this designation for Gosford CBD. A wider public understanding of this State planning process is needed, given there are  other major development areas that would warrant State initiated (in cooperation with Council) revitalization attention. These may include centres within the following urban growth corridors:  Woy Woy-Umina Corridor; Somersby to Erina Corridor, Tuggerah-Wyong to Warnervale Corridor, The Entrance-Long Jetty and Bateau Bay Corridor, and Northlakes to Lake Munmorah Corridor.

3.3 Central Coast Region Gaining City Status

The loss of the designation of ‘Gosford City’ under the amalgamation noted above may need to be addressed by the State. City status, for example, has a range of financial, state, national and international advantages to capitalise on.  The State, it is noted, refers within its State Significant revitalisation plans for Gosford CBD (see above 3.2) as plans for the ‘Gosford City Centre’.

The State may wish (in cooperation with Council) to establish and fund a ‘Committee to Investigate Central Coast City Status’. The committee would investigate all implications (pluses and minuses) of the potential for the Central Coast achieving city status. Such a committee could spend up to two years to complete its task (including engaging the electorate and working within the Central Coast Council chambers). In time the Committee (in cooperation with Council) would present a report for comment to the electorate and then to the State. The report would include comments on how other urban and regional areas have achieved city status.

In addition, it is important to ensure democratic procedures are used in consideration of city status. A referendum on city status could be considered for the 2024 NSW local government elections. Were the results to indicate a majority in favour of city status the implementation of that move would again be the responsibility of the Committee to Investigate Central Coast City Status. The referendum could offer names for such a city, including for example: City of Gosford Wyong, or City of the Central Coast. Within a city designation there could then be designated a number of city centres for planning and financing, including:  Gosford Centre (potentially keeping its current State designated ‘regional capital’), Woy Woy-Umina Centre, Tuggerah-Wyong Centre, The Entrance-Long Jetty Centre, Toukley Centre, Northlakes Centre, and so forth.

3.4 New Approaches to Funding Growth Centres Such as the Central Coast

Despite the development of the Central Coast (as a designated Growth Centre), there appears inadequate financing (Federal, State and Council levels) of a range of affordable and social housing, open and public spaces and sustainable transport (examples noted above). New approaches to funding costs related to urban development, especially in growth centres, will also need scrutiny. There needs, for example, to be linked four (4) year budgets of the three levels of government – Australian, State and Local. This budgeting arrangement would give certainty to urban planning and financial needed at that third level of local government. The current short term continual and expensive grants competition within the State-local government framework (often highly politicized) needs to be reformed.

A State review of this financing challenge could incorporate looking at expanding the band of urban development finance approaches. One system widely used in other countries and occasionally in Australia (i.e. in transport projects such as the planned Aerotropolis in Southwest Sydney and Metro Sydney) is Value Capture Planning (VCP). The subject covers developer provisions and land value capture levies. See a current book (2021) on the subject of VCP entitled Renewing Cities with Value Capture Planning (Rauscher 2021). The book develops a VCP model and applies this model to four growth areas (case study in brackets): Greater Sydney Inner City (Waterloo-Redfern); Greater Sydney Middle City (Canterbury-Bankstown); Central Coast (Gosford City Centre); and, Newcastle Greater Metropolitan Area (Newcastle West End).

3.5 Governance and Elections Review

There have been recent suggestions by Central Coast residents over the 2020 and 2021 period (see Coast News) and by the previous Council Administrator (Dick Persson) of the need for a local government governance and elections review. The governance of Council (including number of councillors, ward systems, and structures for engagement of the public) is an important review area given the Central Coast is a growth centre. The Administrator has recommended a referendum for the coming Sept 2021 election with one option being to reduce the number of councillors from 12 to 9 and wards from five to three. This decision by the Administrator at the time appears to be premature until all reports (including the Commissioner’s) to State government are complete and recommendations considered.

A wide review of the Central Coast as a Growth Centre (especially for planning and financing) is critical (as noted in above examples).  A review could tie into the State’s local government reform process noted earlier (see above 3.1). The review could also tie in the Federal Government’s review of local government planning and finance. This could include consideration of constitutional recognition (1.2 above). Finally, there are many other alternatives that should be considered in reviewing governance for planning and financing growth on the Central Coast and other growth centres (noted in the introduction above). Some of these alternatives relating to Greater Sydney and growth centres are addressed in the recent book Cities in Global Transition (Rauscher 2017 Chapter 18).


There are several conclusions drawn from this submission for the Commissioner to consider, including:

  1. Many of the suggestions within this submission could apply to other NSW council areas (especially nominated Greater Sydney and Regions Growth Centres as noted).
  • A full State review (in consultation with the Australian and local governments) of the position of local government in regards to planning and financing growth and development is needed. This would include examining Federal, State, and local governments’ roles as noted in numerous examples covered within this submission.
  • An examination is needed of Federal, State and local government sustainable population projections (as noted in the introduction and including post covid-19 urban planning implications).
  • Any State review needs to project ahead to the year 2036 and 2056. These are the years the NSW State, for example, is using in its forward planning (as noted).
  • The State will need to carefully and comprehensively consider all recommendations by the Commissioner for this Inquiry and the range of suggestions contained in the submissions likely to be made.

In closing, these issues of planning and financing of growth and development at the local government level have been raised for many years and in many other localities of the State and nation. The importance of these issues, for example, has been expressed by a full spectrum of Central Coast interests. These interests cover residents, businesses, elected officials and institutions.

I trust the Commissioner’s report will provide the State with needed directions of change within the parameters of the Inquiry’s third term of reference (that this submission focused on) in addition to the two other terms of reference.

Respectfully submitted

_______________________________                                  _______________

Dr. Ray Rauscher                                                                   Dated 18 June 2021

U4 #25 Waratah St

East Gosford 2250  

M 043 500 4844

H 4311 6674 


Department of Planning (1975) Central Coast Structure Plan. State Government, Sydney

Department of Planning, Infrastructure and Environment (DPIE) (2018) Central Coast Planning Strategy 2036. State Government, Sydney

NSW Government (2012) Destination 2036. NSW State Government, Sydney

NSW Government (2012) North Wyong Shire Structure Plan.  NSW State Government, Sydney

NSW Government (2016) Local Government (Council Amalgamations) Proclamation 2016. NSW State Government, Sydney

NSW Government (2018) Gosford City Centre Revitalisation Program 2018. NSW State Government, Sydney

Rauscher, Ray (2017) Cities in Global Transition. Springer Publishers, Switzerland

Rauscher, Ray (2021) Renewing Cities with Value Capture Planning. Springer Publishers, Switzerland

Submission for a State and National Inquiry into Planning and Financing Growth Centres at the Local Government Level

Author: Raymond Charles Rauscher

Executive Summary

The catalyst for this submission are the proposer’s (Rauscher) conclusions reached in researching the planning and financing of Australian urban growth centres at the local government level. One main conclusion is the need for the State and Federal Governments (in cooperation with peak Local Government bodies) to examine different models (including value capture planning) to best plan and finance these growth centres. It is the Federal urban growth policy making that directly affects States and Local Government bodies. This applies, for example, to the Central Coast Council, a case study focus of this submission. In summary, it is proposed that the NSW State and the Federal Government initiate an inquiry under the title State and National Inquiry into Planning and Financing Growth Centres at the Local Government Level.


I would like introduce myself as a resident and town planner living in East Gosford, Central Coast on New South Wales. I have lived on the Central Coast since 1978 and have witnessed the actions of the three levels of government (Federal, State and Local) in planning and financing the growth of the Central Coast. I am making this submission given in particular the current challenges local councils (such as the Central Coast Council) face in planning and financing infrastructure and services in urban and regional growth areas.

I have recently completed three papers on the above subject that may assist all three levels of government in considering this submission’s proposal. The papers are as follows (with a brief comment after each, including how to access the papers):

  1. Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State, Federal and Local Governments (Case Study Central Coast Region, NSW) (Rauscher 18 June 2021)
  • Planning Infrastructure Contributions within a Value Capture Framework (Rauscher 11 Sept 2021)
  • Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR) (Rauscher 2021)
  1. Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State, Federal and Local Governments (Case Study Central Coast Region, NSW) (Rauscher 18 June 2021)

This above paper (attached) (11p) was written in the light of the Central Coast Council’s (case study) current (2016-2021) planning and financial challenges in meeting growth centre needs. The paper was submitted to the NSW Commissioner of Public Inquiry – Central Coast Council (Term of Reference #3 – Other Matters). The paper examines planning and financing of growth centres (case study Central Coast) in the context of the roles of: State (New South Wales) (herein referred to as the State), Federal Government; and Local Government (Central Coast Council) (herein referred to as the Council).

The paper notes that one critical issue that has affected the operations of the Council (thus leading to the above Public Inquiry) is the lack of adequate funding for the Council to meet growth centre demands for infrastructure and services. The public focus since the State dismissal of the Councillors (2020) has been primarily (and acknowledged in this submission as important) on issues of: 1. the Council’s debt; 2. cost of the amalgamation of two councils into one; and, 3. responsibilities of Councillors and Council staff.

While these above issues are important and are being examined by the Commissioner (noted above) I submit the issues are broadly hinged on a general lack of funds available for the Council to finance required growth centre related infrastructure and services. A prime basis of this lack of funding is the unique features (shared with many other declared growth centres throughout Australia) of the Central Coast Region, that is:

1. Extensive and vulnerable environment of the region

2. Backlog of infrastructure and service requirements of the current population (the Central Coast being declared a State growth region in 1975 (46 years ago)

3. Continued costs of meeting settlement requirements of an incoming population (as determined usually by State urban settlement policies)

The implications of these above features to the Central Coast Council’s planning and financing of urban growth are severe and addressed in the paper. These implications may well apply to local government councils in other growth centres within Australia.

2. Planning Infrastructure Contributions within a Value Capture Framework (Rauscher 11 Sept 2021)

This paper (attached) (15p) focuses on the NSW Productivity Commissioner’s Final Report on the Review of the Infrastructure Contributions System (Dec 2020) and associated proposed legislation. The paper examines infrastructure provision within a value capture planning (VCP) framework. The paper outlines the importance for the NSW Government to adopt value capture principles in planning the provision of infrastructure and services (this would apply for instance to an area such as the Central Coast).

The paper argues that adopting a VCP framework could ensure certainty that funds are available to meet projected infrastructure and service needs stemming from development. The paper concludes that the NSW infrastructure contributions inquiry provides an ideal opportunity for the government to adopt required policies to meet future infrastructure and service needs, particularly in growth areas. The paper was recently forwarded (11 Sept 2021) to the NSW Minister for Planning (Hon. Bob Stokes) for his consideration.

3. Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR) (Rauscher 2021)

This third paper outlines the background to, and provides a model for, value capture planning (VCP). The paper references the book Renewing Cities with Value Capture Planning (Rauscher 2021). Four city and regional growth areas (two in Sydney and two regional) are examined in respect to achieving through value capture policies: equitable housing; public and open spaces; and, sustainable transport. The book’s Chapter 5 (Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR) is of relevance to planning and financing regional growth centres in areas such as the Central Coast. In a similar vein, Chapter 6 (Regional Capital City Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Area (GRMA) is relative to regional capitals’ planning and financing growth areas. The book and the individual chapters noted are accessible and listed in the References at the end of this submission. Finally, and relative to the subject of this submission, there is recent legislation adopted by the Victorian Government (July 2021) where principles of value capture in growth areas are examined. That legislation is built around the principle of ‘windfall gain’ (or ‘land value uplift’) applying to land rezoned for urban growth expansion.

Conclusions and Directions

In this submission there is a central argument for the States (i.e. NSW) and the Federal Government (in cooperation with Local Government peak bodies) to examine the planning and financing of growth centres at the local government level. The submission suggests this be done in the form of a State and National Inquiry into Planning and Financing Growth Centres at the Local Government Level. It’s important to observe that it is the Federal level of planning and financing urban growth that States and Local Government (such as the Central Coast Council case example) are dependent on.  Finally, it’s suggested that NSW State and Federal Members in that State’s growth centres be engaged to support this submission’s suggestion of an inquiry of this type.  


  1. NSW Productivity Commission (Dec 2020) NSW Productivity Commissioner’s Final Report on the Review of the Infrastructure Contributions System. NSW Productivity Commission, Sydney
  • Rauscher, Ray (18 June 2021) Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State, Federal and Local Governments (Case Study Central Coast Region, NSW). Attachment
  • Rauscher, Ray (11 Sept 2021) Planning Infrastructure Contributions within a Value Capture Framework. Attachment
  • Rauscher, Ray (2021a) Regional Capital City Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Area (GRMA)

Regional Capital City Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Greater Newcastle Metropolitan Area (GNMA)

  • Rauscher, Ray (2021b) Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR)

Regional Growth Centre Renewal and Value Capture Planning – Gosford City Centre Revitalisation (GCCR)


Dr Ray Rauscher

U4 #25 Waratah St

East Gosford 2250

Tel. 4311 6674 or M. 043 500 4844

Date 15 Sept 2021

Habitat Association after 12 years of publishing

After 11 years of publishing on the WordPress platform, the association has done a review of the articles on four of its sites:

  1. the habitat Association main site.
  2. Habitat Town planning Forum
  3. Habitat Association Centre for Renewable Energy
  4. Gallery 2020 Publishing

In addition to the above sites habitat has three older sites still available:


To source and/or print authored papers from the Habitat website take 3 steps (please reference the author and site web if material is used).

  1. Go to subject of your choice (on right scroll down).
  2. To copy press on item and select ‘save as’ nominating your folder
  3. Or, select print the item (can view print item), then press print


New South Wales Renewable Energy Policy (2017)


Renewable energy and non-bulk rail freight to replace road freight (2015)


Renewable energy policy development in Australia from 2001 to 2017 (2017)


Transforming Australia to a sustainable energy economy (2017)


What are fossil fuels doing to our planetary systems? (2016)



Council Amalgamations New South Wales  (2016)

Council Amalgamations


What do we mean by the word philosophy? (2021)

What do we mean by the word philosophy


Central Coast Regional Growth Area by Dr. Ray Rauscher and Kevin Armstrong (2011)

North Wyong Structure Plan NSW Australia by David Holland (2011)

Submission for the North Wyong Structure Plan NSW Australia

Planning and finance role of NSW state and federal governments in growth centre-development – central coast region case study (2021)


Visions of Inner Sydney


Train and Bus Interchange Blue Haven, NSW, Australia  (2012)

Blue Haven Train and Bus Interchange 2012 

Transport planning long term for New South Wales (2012)

Submission on discussion paper on long-term transport planning for NSW

Transport precinct, a proposal for renewal in Wyong, NSW, Australia (2012)

Wyong Transport precinct, a proposal for renewal


Table 1. Papers on Habitat Association for Arts and Environment Web

Subject  A-ZPaper (or Submission) and AuthorAuthorDate
Central Coast Regional GrowthCentral Coast Regional Growth AreaArmstrong, Kevin2012
North Wyong PlanningSubmission for the North Wyong Structure Plan NSW AustraliaHolland, David2016

Living a Good Life

This is the notes from a lecture of one of the Habitat affiliated groups organised by one of the Habitat Association directors, ray raucher.

This Group has an interest in writing and conversing about philosophy, this article is the notes from lecture given by Phillip Stroud a retired lawyer at at a meeting of the group on the 14th of May 2021, held in East Gosford. 

Notes by Philip Stroud

What do we mean by the term “Good Life”?

A life of happiness?

A life of value?

The discussion requires consideration of the following philosophical branches:

“Metaphysics”    the nature of reality, what is the world about? 

“Ethics”                what should we do? What sort of person should I  

       be? How should I behave towards others?

Firstly, for discussion, why should we live a Good Life? 

In preparing this paper the following two works were considered:

200 Words to help you talk about Philosophy Anja Steinbauer,   published Laurence King, and

How to live a Good Life-A guide to choosing your personal Philosophy

Ed: Massimo Pigliucci (Stoic), published Vintage Books 2020.

Pigliucci argues that we have a philosophy of life even if we are not aware of it. That is each of us has a view about the world and each of us behaves towards others in accordance with an ethical framework we have adopted. The question is does our philosophy of life stand up to scrutiny? Is it a “good”philosophy of life?

The book deals with an array of philosophical views, including religious and non-religious, and some which cannot be categorised as either.

Each chapter is written by someone who has adopted, or is an expert in, a particular philosophical way of life. The following are included, Buddhism, Confucianism, Hinduism, Aristotelianism, Epicureanism, Stoicism, Existentialism, Effective Altruism, Pragmatism and Secular Humanism. The book does not deal with Marxism, Feminism, or liberalism.

Our “first” philosophy of life is developed as children. In western societies it is usually a form of Christianity such as Anglicanism or Catholicism. Many drift away as a result of questioning God’s existence but adopt Christianity’s ethical framework.

I will now go into more detail on three of the philosophies of life discussed in the book, namely, Buddhism, Aristotelianism and Effective Altruism.

  1. Buddhism[1]

The key Buddhist idea is to live compassionately, to try to relieve suffering of all sentient beings. The ethical imperative is to “always love, to substitute compassion and love whenever there is suffering, violence, cruelty and hate.”

  1. Everything is impermanent.
  2. Humans exist for a time only. Consciousness connects us to our past and present experience.
  3. Strive on with awareness.
  4. There is no God or higher power.
  5. The world is a fragile place and full of suffering (“dukkha”).
  6. One major cause of suffering is “the grasping ego”.
  7. Ego is acquisition and prone to anger and rage when it doesn’t get what it wants ( but doesn’t in fact really need)
  8. Need to be attentive to catch opportunities to improve the world or oneself.
  9. Ethical behaviour.
  10. Mindfulness or meditation.

Three strands:     Impermanence, no self

                               Ethics of compassion and loving kindness

                               Meditation and mindfulness

Does Buddhism lead to a happy life?  Not necessarily but can lead to serenity and equanimity and a reduction of suffering.

  • Aristotelianism[2]

Aristotle means “best purpose”. To live a good life means to flourish          and strive for all around well-being. To live to your full potential in all aspects of your life, but virtue is necessary.

The main criticism is that you may encounter bad luck and so not be able to “flourish”.  In contrast “stoicism” accepts the vicissitudes of life. You can increase chances of good luck by making the most of personal attributes.

We have the capacity to “reason” and can ask ourselves “what should I do”.  This leads to a life of contemplation and the pursuit of knowledge and so there needs to be a balance between “moral virtue” and “flourishing”. 

A modern adaptation focuses on “well-being”, mental health and the psychological practice of “cognitive behaviour therapy”.  

Morality is relative and not absolute and needs to be ascertained from experience (i.e. situational ethics)

3     Effective Altruism[3]

This requires us to dedicate some of our resources towards making the world a better place and to ensure those resources are used as effectively as possible.

We should determine where the problems are in the world today where my effort can make the biggest difference and how to achieve this.

 What are the practical steps to adopt this philosophy?[4]

  1. Outcome, results oriented cf. Bentham’s Utilitarianism
  2. To do as much good as possible, evaluate charities we give to
  3. All people are of equal value, including people not yet born. Peter Singer in his book “The most you can do”poses the question as “what is best?” and not “Is this good?”
  4. Undertake research to ascertain the issues and the best way to tackle them:  e.g., climate change, pain and suffering in the world, and causes of poverty 
  5. Adopt careers to address the problems. For example, become a doctor and work formedicines’ sans frontiersto reduce suffering from disease and illness or a lawyer to reduce injustice etc.


On page 1 I posed the question Why should we live a Good Life?

Life is short and as humans we do have a view or understanding of the world we live in, and we do endeavour to live life according to a set of ethical principles.  We can unconsciously or uncritically live our lives without really questioning or modifying our metaphysical and ethical approaches to life, or as I would recommend, we examine them in order to develop a more meaningful and fulfilling philosophy of life. It may be on reflection this evolves over the course of our short time on this planet.

It would be satisfying at the end of life to be able to look back and declare “I have lived a Good Life.” I imagine this would also, although not necessarily, amount to a happy life and a life of value.


[1]Owen Flanagan, a self-described “hybrid” Buddhist

[2]Daniel Kaufman     A Jew converted to Aristotelianism

[3]Kelsey Piper

[4]Doing Good Better, Will MacAskill an oxford university philosophy professor

  Charity Evaluator, GiveWell

What do we mean by the word philosophy?

Michael Roberts July 2021 (to be presented at Philosophy of Life and the Individual School (POLIS) Central Coast, NSW Australia


What do we mean by the word philosophy? 

What we now call ‘philosophy’ was once called ‘metaphysics’ to distinguish it from what we now call ‘science’.  This distinction was often marked by the labels ‘moral philosophy’ to mean what we now call ‘philosophy’ and ’natural philosophy’ which we now call ‘science.’ 

Philosophy is the enterprise of trying to make sense of ourselves and our world in a way that asks what we  should think and why. Accordingly, it is a continuing activity, not something in which we can achieve final  perfection once and for all. 

The Oxford English Dictionary defines philosophy as “the use of reason and argument in seeking truth and  knowledge of reality, especially of the causes and nature of things and of the principles governing existence, the  material universe, perception of physical phenomena and human behaviour”. In other words, philosophy is high  level thinking to establish what is true or real, given the limits of human thought and senses, and the implications  of this for how we act. 

Plato defined philosophy as meaning “a love of wisdom,” and the Concise Macquarie Dictionary defines it as “the  quality or state of being wise; knowledge of what is true or right coupled with just judgement as to action”. 

This paper will consider four reasons why philosophy is still relevant to our lives and why the study of philosophy  is still relevant to us all. 

1. Philosophy is the foundation of critical thinking, 

2. Science does not have all the answers, 

3. Ancient philosophers continue to influence humanity and 

4. Personal growth and development. 

In this paper I will be relying to a large extent on the writings of the great philosopher Plato as expounded by the  author Rebecca Newberger Goldstein in her book titled “Plato at the Googleplex, Why Philosophy Won’t Go  Away”. 

Philosophy is the foundation of critical thinking 

While we live in a very different society to the founding figures of western philosophy, the questions modern  society must face are just as challenging, if not more so than in days of old. Therefore, the ability to critically  analyse matters is vital to a proper functioning society. Some such issues include: 

• Climate change, 

• How to deal with the recent pandemic and potential new pandemics, including loss of personal  freedoms for the greater good, 

• Wealth distribution worldwide, 

• Treatment of asylum seekers/ refugees such as the recent news story of the Tamil family seeking to  stay in Australia, 

• Euthanasia or assisted killing, 

• Legislative attempts by Governments to increase their powers and those of law enforcement agencies to access data of citizens mainly targeted at criminal organisations. Currently, there are committee  hearings in Federal Parliament regarding a bill called Surveillance Legislation Amendment (Identify & 

Disrupt) Bill which is designed to give Australian authorities power to crack encrypted messaging apps  and the power to penetrate the dark web where the worse of criminal activity occurs and • How to distinguish fake news from real news, the importance of which was proven during and after the  last US Presidential elections 

Philosophy puts critical thinking and problem solving at the forefront in order to make sense of these difficult and  challenging issues. It encourages us to think critically about the world we live in. 

Philosophy uses the tools of logic and reason to analyse the ways in which we humans experience the world. It  teaches critical thinking, close reading, clear writing, and logical analysis: it uses these to describe the world, and  our place within it. 

Students of philosophy are still in demand because philosophy teaches people how to write clearly, how to read  closely with a critical eye, how to spot bad reasoning, and how to avoid it in their writings and work. 

Science does not have all the answers 

Society today relies very heavily on science to solve many of its problems and to improve our lives. Our lives  today are in many ways so much better than those who went before us due to the exponential scientific  advances. Scientific advances in one area such as space exploration can then be applied to other areas of  human existence such as advances in medicine. 

However, science just like every other field of endeavour, does not have all the answers. Science cannot  determine human values. Empiricism cannot determine why we ought to act morally, nor why we ought to value  human happiness over human misery. We cannot create an experiment that tests the nature of truth or the  obtainability of knowledge. However, Plato does contend that whatever can be known by one person can be  known by everybody, just so long as they master techniques for knowing that are most appropriate to a field. 

Blogger David Calhoun adds “At its core, philosophy is a striving towards figuring out what is true and worthwhile,  and what it means to live a meaningful and worthwhile life. That is something off-limits for science, because  science can tell us how things are empirically or hypothetically, but it can’t prescribe how we should live. In short:  science helps us live longer, whereas philosophy helps us live better.” 

Ancient philosophers continue to influence humanity 

Plato and Aristotle are often credited with shaping future civilizations and their influence is still felt today. They  did lay the foundations of Western culture twenty four centuries ago, and their ideas and insights still dictate  essential features of our world right now, from what we eat to what we see on the internet. Plato’s ‘Allegory of  The Cave’ is a brilliant writing which puts into perspective how we are living as a materialistic and consumer  society. 

People can be ignorant towards seeking more than just what we are force-fed by the government and media,much like the prisoners in the allegory and can become defensive or even hostile when their ideas are  challenged. The cave, the chains, and the shadows all represent elements that control modern humans like it  controlled the prisoners in the cave. The world has not changed much from the written allegory 2400 years ago.  

The work of Confucius is also still relevant today and according to National Geographic, China’s modern  government has modelled much of its ethos on Confucius’ rhetoric such as “obedience to the emperor, hierarchy,  and loyalty”. 

Interestingly, two more recent superhero movies Man of Steel (Superman) and The Dark Knight (Batman) feature  moral dilemmas based on the age-old philosophical issue known as the “trolley problem”. With this in mind, it can  be said that modern life is still governed by ideas developed by ancient Greek philosophers.

Personal growth and development 

It is often said that the study of philosophy will transform you as it will helps one become a better thinker, know  what questions to ask, and how to ask the right questions. One will learn how to debate important issues such as  what is true and good and to distinguish it from what merely appears so. The study of philosophy provides one  with the intellectual tools to evaluate different life-choices so that one will be better prepared to find a meaningful  direction for one’s life. It will also help you understand another’s point of view on an issue which may be  completely at odds with yours. 

Plato often referenced the “life worth living”. What is it – if anything – that makes an individual human life matter?  What must one be or do in order to achieve a life that matters? This existential quandary resonates no less today  than it did in Plato’s time. Many would argue and rightly so that “not one of us is more entitled than another to a  life worth living” but that does not mean that all of us have it in us to achieve that life. Whatever a life worth living  means or is that meaning different for each of us? 

If we use one stream of philosophy as an example, I am hopeful many would agree that the following four Stoic  virtues would make us a better person and have positive societal benefits: 

1. Wisdom as defined here to mean to know what is good, what is not good and what is indifferent, and so  see the world more clearly and acting accordingly, 

2. Courage is the opposing force of cowardice. Courage is not the elimination of fear, desire or anxiety, it  is acting in the right way despite our fear, desire and anxieties, 

3. Justice here means our duty to our fellow man, and to our Society. It is the morality behind how we act,  specifically in relation to our community and the people within it, and 

4. Temperance which we now call moderation. It relates to self- restraint, self- discipline and self- control.  It is our ability to choose long term well-being over short term satisfaction. It is the opposite to gluttony,  greed, instant gratification, addictive behaviour, laziness and procrastination. 

All of these virtues are of course, also expounded in another great book called The Bible. I will conclude this paper with some quotes from the text referred to earlier and attributed to Plato by the author. Quotable quotes attributed to Plato 

• A person is a person, everybody’s life is just as important as anybody elses. Well tell that to the  dictators and other oppressive regime leaders, 

• It doesn’t count as an ethical decision unless there is a principle behind it. Otherwise, it is arbitrary, • There are no original thoughts. All knowledge is recollection, 

• The temptations of power are enormous, 

• Thinking is very hard, 

• It isn’t for me, or for any of us, to approve or disapprove of human nature. It is only for us to try and work  with it, 

• To fear death, gentlemen, is no other than to think oneself wise when one is not, to think one knows  what one does not know. No one knows whether death may not be the greatest of all blessings for a  man, yet men fear it as if they knew that is the greatest evil. And surely, it is the most blameworthy  ignorance to believe that one knows what one does not know. 


In the world in which we currently find ourselves with pandemics, rising global tensions amongst super powers,  the destruction of our planet which so many people deny is man related, and poverty and unequal wealth  distribution worldwide, how can anyone say the study and understanding of philosophy is not relevant? On these 

and so many other issues, many of us are just like those people shackled in Plato’s ‘Allegory of The Cave’. The  more people who understand and use the skill sets that a knowledge of philosophy provides, the more people  will escape the world of that cave. 

by Michael Roberts LL.B (Hons) 

Solicitor (retired) 

25 June, 2021.

The history of Wadalba Wildlife Corridor

by David Holland( M Env. Mgmt.(Natural resources)

The link to this article is as follows:

Is development all there is to alleviate poverty?

By David Holland

Environmental sustainability is often compromised because the poor cannot get basic food and shelter needs. (Sachs & Reid 2006)

Maslow, explained by Mcleod (2007), suggests that finding food is a basic need for humanity and is a fundamental priority for individuals.

Sen (1999) theorises that development brings freedom and a reduction in poverty.

It seems all three authors agree poverty can be reduced by providing food and shelter through development.

Unfortunately, the human condition is not that simple to understand.

Reflecting on Sen (1999), development brings humanities basic needs and freedom, then Maslow’s second stage, Psychological needs, which could include ownership, brings the desire to participating in economic markets, subject to market constrains, access and opportunity.

Aristotle is quoted in Sen (1999), telling of a story about Maitreyee and Yajnavalkya, who pondered on the value of riches. Maitreyee suggested that if you owned everything would it not be fitting to live forever to use it all. Yajnavalkya brought her down to reality and suggested that the pursuit of riches was folly because of death.

If this be truth then why is little being spent on the poor and the environment? (Sachs & Reid 2006)

But to transcend this, both myself and Sen (1999) seem to agree that freedom is more than economic growth through development, it is the realisation of the 8th principal of Maslow, transcendence, which is to helping others achieve their highest potential. Maslow’s 8th step is sadly lacking in our economic rationalist world. Maslow 1970b as cited in (Mcleod 2007)


Mcleod Saul, (2007), Maslow’s Hierarchy of needs, updated 2016,, cited April 2017.

Sachs, J. D., & Reid, W. V. (2006). Investments toward sustainable development. Science, 312, 1002,, cited April 2017.

Sen, A. (1999). Introduction: Development as freedom. In A. Sen (Ed.), Development as freedom (pp. 3-11). Oxford University Press,, cited April 2017.

The Collateral Damage of Free Trade Agreements

by David Holland

With President Trump putting trade front and centre in world affairs it is time to examine the effects trade and trade agreements have on both the environment and the poor.

This article gives a brief history of global trade. It introduces some of the fundamentals of free trade agreements and their real and perceived benefits to a counties Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and their ability to produce social capital. The text investigates the impacts of Free Trade Agreements (FTA)s and discuss the origins of globalization, trade liberalization and Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) clauses in FTAs. It looks at the side effects of these provision and gives actual example where they have failed the very societies being invested in by foreign investors. The assignment extrapolates Adam Smith’s ‘invisible hand’ to possible scenarios that would impact the livelihoods of the world’s poor and potentially devastate the values of the natural environment. It attempts to address the question; is investment in development the panacea to the world’s growing population and why is there a bias towards a growing number of relative poor? It will discuss the difficulty for governments, communities and individuals to avoid the uncontrolled ‘invisible hand’ poised to destroying their land, the environment they rely on to live and their social structures.


The Article can be found at:

The Colateral Damage of Free Trade

The terms ‘dangerous climate change’ and ‘climate sensitivity’; what do they mean and why are they so important in the climate change debate?


By David Holland

Dangerous Climate Change

A better way to put it may be (DAI) or dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system.

The word dangerous is an emotive word that has no definite meaning in relation to climate change. But risk of damage to social, economic and in particular ecological systems could give more understanding to the term.

The IPCC assessment gives 5 reasons for concern to guide policy makers.

  1. Risks to unique and threatened systems
  2. Risks of extreme weather events
  3. Distribution of impacts and vulnerabilities
  4. Aggregate impacts
  5. Risks of large-scale singularities.

The 2009 Copenhagen Climate congress, which held to the 2007 IPCC assessment, said that only society in general can give an opinion on the dangerousness of climate interference not science or any scientists.

Michael Mann:

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is charged by the United Nations Environment Program to assess climate change risks in a way that informs, but, importantly, does not prescribe the government policies necessary to avoid DAI [dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system]. It is therefore not surprising that the IPCC stops short of defining what DAI actually is, let alone advocating policies designed to avoid it.”

— Michael Mann, in Defining dangerous anthropogenic interference (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), March 2009)
The UN Framework Convention on Climate Change defines dangerous as “adverse effects of climate change in its Article 1:

“Adverse effects of climate change” means changes in the physical environment or biota resulting from climate change, which have significant deleterious effects on the composition, resilience or productivity of natural and managed ecosystems or on the operation of socio-economic systems or on human health and welfare.

“Climate change” means a change of climate, which is attributed directly or indirectly to human activity that alters the composition of the global atmosphere and which is in addition to natural climate variability observed over comparable time periods.

“Climate system” means the totality of the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and geosphere and their interactions.
Climate Sensitivity

Climate sensitivity is the sensitivity of the climate to CO2 concentration increases. The term equilibrium climate sensitivity or (ECS) is a change in the surface temperature due to a doubling of CO2 concentrations. It relates to what the temperature would be if the concentration of CO2 were to double from pre-industrial concentration. The best estimates under (AR5) is 1.5 degrees to 4.5 degrees increase in temperature for a doubling of CO2 levels. (IPCC 2013) Transient climate response (TCR) is simply the global warming temperature when CO2 doubles in the atmosphere by following a linear increase over a period of 70 years of CO2 forcing. (Nicholas Lewis, Judith A Curry ~ 2014, Climate Sensitivity Fact Sheet )

 Why are they important to the climate change debate?

Most people would understand what dangerous is in other contexts and now we need to explain what we mean in real terms. Climate change will change everything we do and affect our economy. Sensitivity of climate is simply related to how much warming will happen if we cannot reduce the green house gas emissions. It is the warming that is the part that is “dangerous” to our way of life, not so much the CO2 concentrations as part of the air that we breath.

The understanding that the climate and its sensitivity is a story that needs to be told and now is the time this sensitivity must be addressed before the climate responds to us by imposing its consequences on the things we do and the life we live.



Climate Sensitivity Fact Sheet, Department of Environment, Australian Government,, Accessed Sept.2016.

IPCC, Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science basis, Assessment Report No 5 (AR5) working Group 1: Near term Climate Change: Projections and Predictability, Chapter 11, Section The Water Cycle, Changes in Precipitation.

Lewis N, Curry J, (April 2016), Updated climate sensitivity estimates, Climate Etc.,, Accessed Sept. 2016.

Lewis Nicholas , Curry Judith A.,(~ 2014), The implications for climate sensitivity of AR5 forcing and heat uptake estimates,, Accessed Sept 2016

Michael Mann, in Defining dangerous anthropogenic interference (Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS), March 2009)

What are the most likely climate changes for Australia over the next 50 years or so.

By David Holland

In the latest IPCC assessment report 5 (AR5), entitled Southern Hemisphere extra-tropical circulation, it is suggested that because of the ozone layer hole recovering over the next few years due to better regulation of CFCs there will not be a southern shift to the Cyclone belt. This will mean that Sydney will likely not get tropical cycles in the next 50 years.

The section of the AR5 entitled, Changes in evaporation, evaporation minus precipitation, runoff, soil moisture, relative humidity and specific humidity, suggests that Australia in the southern hemisphere will have higher evaporation over oceans and less evaporation with more rainfall in coastal regions over the next 50 years.

The report shows that there will be more precipitation in higher latitudes and less in lower latitudes. However local condition around Sydney may influence weather such as anthropogenic aerosol emissions, which could bring a cooling and more precipitation. (IPCC, AR5 working Group 1)

As global average temperatures rise the wetter areas in Australia such as Sydney are expected to get wetter and dryer areas are expected to get dryer.

The El Niño southern oscillation and Indian Ocean Dipole will work with or against climate change in both Sydney and Perth respectively.

From data predicted from the AR5 document in section, Regional and seasonal patterns of surface warming, it is expected that there will be an intensification of energy transfer from the oceans to the land. This will increase coastal breeze wind speeds and intensify rain and storm events at a local scale.

This energy transfer will increasingly bring warmer nights and more humid conditions to coastal urban areas.

In the section of the report, Global mean surface air temperature it suggests that the 5% to 95% data from the multi-model mean would be 0.39 to 0.87 degrees increase in global average temperatures. This would confirm the increase in ocean temperatures and suggest that inland Australia would be effectively much hotter than today.

Chapter 5 of the Garnaut review outlines the future climate scenarios for Australia.

It suggests that a 1% increase in temperature will have a 15% reduction in stream flow. If this is the case then water may become more of a problem in the bush as global warming takes hold.

If there is a 10% drop in rainfall this would reduce stream flow by 35%. (Jones et al. 2001 cited in Garnaut CSIRO (2008)).

The report suggests there has been a trend of more bush fires and more intensive ones coupled with more hotter days. This is normally a recipe for drying out fuel for fires, which can be done on these extreme hot days within hours. Lucas et al. 2007 cited in Garnaut (2008) suggests that fire season will start earlier and finish later in the bush fire season.

A study of projected temperatures by Lucas et al. 2007 cited in Garnaut (2008) suggests that a 1 degree C increase in average global temperature will give 20 locations of catastrophic fire in Australia and reoccurring within 16 years. A 2.9 degree increase will give 22 locations, 19 of which are reoccurring within 8 years and three reoccurring within 3 years.

This type of fire regime may seem costly to land holders and insurance premiums will rise, but it will hit very hard on ecological systems and their recovery after a catastrophic fire. Then if the location is burnt on multiple occasions within the 7 to 10 year period a very great potential for species inhalation from that locality is highly likely.

Figure 5.3 of the report shows a prediction of 0.6 to 5.0 degrees between 2030 to 2100 for Sydney and Perth with the inland regions about a degree hotter.

The report indicates that seasonal variations could mask rain event intensity due to anthropogenic climate change. It suggests that rain event intensity will probably increase but overall average rainfall may remain the same.

Abbs et al. (2006) cited in Garnaut (2008) suggests that category 3-5 cyclones will increase in intensity by 60% by 2030 and 140% by 2070.

Although Garnaut recognizes the plight of other Asiatic countries and particularly Island atoll’s susceptibility to climate change induced sea level rise, he omits to say anything about Australia being impacted except by refugees from these places. (Garnaut (2008) Chapter 6)

Australia will be hit hard by rising sea levels and Garnaut suggests that there will be some higher floods and storm surges increases due to sea levels rising, no more than some adaptations to materials used in building will be necessary. (Garnaut (2008) Chapter 15)

Holland (2015), outlines that based on the IPCC fourth report the NSW State government in 2009 made councils review flood levels and ensure that no new development was made on at risk land. Sea Level rise is likely to affect coastal regions and development patterns over the next 50 years or so and impact of ecological systems such as salt marsh and wetland environments.
The type of Australia we will expect to see will be in the A2 scenario where the government has not found the courage to take the hard decisions and change the economy to a renewable energy and an environmentally protective economy. The big business mentality will probably prevail with fragmented prosperity and we will be going through a very tough time with mitigating anthropogenic climate change.


Garnaut Ross, (2008),  The Garnaut review, Chapter 5, 6, 15, Projecting Australian climate change, CSIRO,, Accessed Sept. 2016

Holland David, (2015), Planning for Sea Level Rise Risk in some Coastal Regions of Australia – A Market Approach, For Land Potentially Effected by Flood till the year 2100, originally drafted 2010, Habitat Town Planning Forum web page,, cited September 2016

IPCC, Climate Change 2013, The Physical Science basis, AR5 working Group 1: Near term Climate Change: Projections and Predictability, Chapter 11, Section The Water Cycle, Changes in Precipitation.