Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Planning and Finance Role of NSW State and Federal Governments in Growth Centre Development(Central Coast Region Case Study) revision 1

this report comprises a

Submission to Commissioner

Notice of Public Inquiry – Central Coast Council

Submission Focus: Term of Reference #3

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

By Dr. Ray Rauscher

Date 26th May 2021

By Dr. Ray Rauscher,

M 043 5004844

email: ray.rauscher@gmail.com dated

original date of composition: 23rd February 2021

I submit these comments for the State and Federal Governments to examine in light of the Central Coast Council’s current position in undertaking examination of: 

  1. Options for a rates variation (adopted 17 Feb 2021 a 15% increase to submit for approval to the State body Independent Pricing and Regulations Tribunal (IPART);
  2. Council finances (i.e. expenditure in all areas including staff levels). 

the principal topics cover in this submission are:

A. Planning and Financing Growth Centres and the Central Coast Region

B. Governance and Central Coast Region Planning and Development

C. New Approaches to Funding Growth Centres Such as the Central Coas

Introduction

My premise is that the State and Federal Governments need to examine how the above circumstances arose in the light of the Central Coast being a declared NSW Regional Growth Centre (commenced in 1975 under the Central Coast Structure Plan (DoP 1975). This paper focuses on the planning and financing of this Growth Centre, acknowledging the Central Coast Region is one of five urban growth centres. The other centres are: South West Sydney; Western Sydney; Illawarra-Wollongong; and, Newcastle Greater Metropolitan Region. Such an examination needs to be undertaken in cooperation with the Central Coast Council (herein referred to as ‘the Council’) and the Central Coast community (i.e. through elected representatives and wider electorate).  Some planning, finance and governance review areas that the State and Federal Governments could consider for the Central Coast Growth Centre (and in turn other growth centres as noted above) follows.

Planning, Finance, and Governance Review Areas

Planning and Financing Growth Centres – Role of State and Local Government (Central Coast Region, NSW, and Central Coast Council) 

Dr. Ray Rauscher rayc.rauscher@gmail.com M 043 500 4844   Dated: 26 March 2021 

I make this submission to the Commissioner of the Public Inquiry into the Central Coast Council (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 admiration 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 Centred and the increase in population in the region.

the other critical issue for public inquiry is the pubic 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 under three subjects:

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 https://forecast.id.com.au/central-coast-nswand Central Coast Planning Strategy 2036(DPIE 2018). 

Submission to Commissioner

Notice of Public Inquiry – Central Coast Council

A. Planning and Financing Growth Centres and the Central Coast Region

B. Governance and Central Coast Region Planning and Development

C. New Approaches to Funding Growth Centres Such as the Central Coas

A. Planning and Financing Growth Centres and the Central Coast Region

The planning and financing of growth centres is herein 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) 

Background

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 https://forecast.id.com.au/central-coast-nswand 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 on 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 therefore 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: 

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: 

It’s noted the State has funded (20 years ago) 3 new Transit Ways (Parramatta to growth centres: 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.

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

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 Federal Governments’ Planning and Financing Growth Centres

3. Continuing Central Coast Growth Centre Costs

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

2. State and Federal Governments’ Planning and Financing Growth Centres

3. Continuing Central Coast Growth Centre Costs

1. Local Government Ratesand State Cost Shifting to Local Government

There are two questions here 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 (a as required by the State), the rate rise will be significantly higher than the 15% within in the pre-amalgamated  Gosford City area and 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 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 or 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 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 been suggested that most Australians favour a local government constitutional recognition.

2. State and Federal Governments’ Planning and Financing Growth Centres

There are a number of questions for the State and Council to address under planning and financing of growth centres 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 of a greater funding role of the State and Federal Governments (including planning, additional acquisitions, use of and maintenance). In addition, the State needs to examine how conservation and wildlife corridors can be further established, expanded and maintained (see State Government’sNorth Wyong Shire Structure Plan2012). 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 new buses to Central Coast bus companies (as well as the State collection of fares and provision of information plinths) should 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 Transitways

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 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.

2.8 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.

2.9 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).  

2.10 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 CBD Main Streets Upgrading 

The State may need to expand areas of financial assistance and consider joint programs with Council to upgrade many Central Coast CBD 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.).

2.11 Central Coast CBD Main Streets Upgrading

The State may need to expand areas of financial assistance and consider joint programs with Council to upgrade many Central Coast CBD 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.).

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.

16. Development and Value Capture Planning

3. Continuing Central Coast Growth Centre Costs

There are several questions for the State and Council to address under 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 their 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 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, and State to local government cost shifting (noted above). 

3.3. 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.

3.4 Future 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. 

3.5. 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 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 2021 election with one option being to reduce the number of councillors from 12 to 9 and eliminating the wards. 

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).

B. Governance and Central Coast Region Planning and Development (to be completed)A. Governance and Central Coast Region Planning and Development

To be completed

C. 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 (one example is the pursuit of ‘value capture planning’. 

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). 

To be completed

C. 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 (one example is the pursuit of ‘value capture planning’.

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). 

 

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). 

There have been recent suggestions by many residents over the 2020 and 2021 period (see Coast News) and by the 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 engagement of the public) is one potential review area. This review may be especially important for any Growth Centre (as noted in the Introduction). A review could tie into the State’s local government reform process noted earlier (#14 above). The review could also tie in Federal Government’s review of local government planning and finance. This could include consideration of constitutional recognition. Finally, there are many other alternatives in reviewing governance into the future for planning and financing growth on the Central Coast (see Cities in Global Transition(Rauscher 2017 Chapter 18). 

Conclusions

Many of the suggestions herein in this submission could apply to other NSW council areas (especially Growth Centres). This suggests a full review of the position of NSW local government in regards to financing growth and development. This should include a review of State and local government population projections as noted in the introduction (including post covid-19 urban planning implications). Any review should also look at local government growth planning and financing (including State and Federal government’s roles as noted in examples within this paper). 

Any review needs also to project ahead to the year 2056 (the year the NSW State is using in its forward planning as noted). The State’s consideration of recommendations by the Commissioner for this Inquiry and suggestions contained in the wealth of submissions likely to be made for is important in addressing issues and concerns raised by Central Coast residents, businesses, elected officials and institutions on the planning and financing of the Central Coast Region’s growth.

To be completed

Many of the suggestions herein in this paper could apply to other NSW council areas (especially Growth Centres). This suggests a full review of the position of local government today in NSW in its structure, planning and financing (including State and Federal government’s roles as noted in #18 above). Any review needs to project ahead to the year 2056 (the year the NSW State is using in its forward planning).

References

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

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

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

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

NSW Government (2018) GosfordCity 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, SwitzerlandDr. Ray Rauscher rayc.rauscher@gmail.com M 043 500 4844   Dated: 23 February 2021 

Modelling Climate Change Uncertainties

By David Holland

Global climate models are used in the Independent Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report Four (AR4) and Assessment Report Five (AR5) to predict future climates.

How have the modellers resolved the uncertainties of climate change predictions?

This article is based on study related to Masters of Environmental Management (Natural Resources) undertaken by David Holland 2016

When entering the world of prediction we are looking into a crystal ball with many possibilities. With Climate change predictions, we may know the past, howbeit in less detail than would be desired, but the future is simply a guessing game.  Satellite technologies have produced data since the year 2000 with increased accuracy which has increased the hindsight data available to both AR4 and AR5. Increasingly data is becoming more refined and reflective of what is actually happening on the ground.

Wigley and Raper (2001) as cited in Meehl Gerald A.  (USA), Stocker Thomas F. (Switzerland), (2007) as part of IPCC AR4, states the main uncertainties are uncertainties in emissions, the climate sensitivity, the carbon cycle, ocean mixing and aerosol forcing.

But uncertainty in the future is about the best guess based on past experience. We do not know how much meetings like the Paris accord will change the governments of the world to react to the climate issues or how quickly they will react and as a result we simply do not know the volume of future GHG emission into the future.

Volcanologists can predict certain volcanic events but the prediction of where, and how big a volcanism events may be, and then how long an aerosol event may last is less certain. All we can say is that there is a likelihood of future volcanism.

We understand that the sun has a11-year cycles between sun spot activity by looking into the past but in the future things may change. As unlikely as it seems solar forcing could change.

But the most sensitive and possibly most uncertain is radiative forcing changes. This relates to the potential for changes in the concentrations of GHG’s in the atmosphere and the resultant heat retained in the atmosphere from solar radiation. There is a range of variables associated with this process. The feed back loop related to CO2 atmospheric /oceanic flux, the albedo effect reduction as ice caps melt and more ocean is exposed and how the ocean and atmospheric circulations will be affected by all this.

The first coupled models started their life in 1995 by the Climate Variability and Predictability Numerical Experimentation Group, which came out of the reconstituted World Climate Research Programme. They were call “Coupled Model Intercomparison Projects (CMIP)”. (Gerald A. Meehi, Curt Covey, Bryant McAvaney, Mojib Latif, and Ronald J. Stouffer, (Jan 2005) )

Coupled models are more advanced models, which incorporate complex software interactions of data relationships to produce output that mimics a natural system.

They are defined as a complex interaction of the various software components in the model. This interaction produces results that could be skewed by the addition of a spurious variables or a factor in the maths that may be erroneous. So inherently within the model there are at least two uncertainties, the weighting of the variables and the models complexity not fully understood as it attempts to mimic real natural systems.

As time went on several versions of this model emerged and with a variety of data sets being used to run on these models. CMIP3 was one of the better early models but it, as all the models had inaccuracies.

The various data sets from recorded data would produce a range of results from the coupled models and as a result any output from the model would have  uncertainty as to which results could be considered correct if at all any were correct.

Land use changes also have an impact of the future accuracy of a model. Land use change can change the dynamics of the complex interactions of GHGs, flux, radiative forcing within a system. If the model does not have this information then the change will not be reflected in the model output.

The CMIP5 model was able to used much less grainy data sets, which enabled CMIP5 to produce regional climate models (RCMs). But as these were on smaller scales some anomalies were observed on the edges of the regions that did not seem to match an adjacent regions boundary. As a result questions were raised as to what uncertainties needed to be addressed to correct these aberrations.

Clearly climate modelling is peppered with uncertainties, but the argument is that with better and more extensive data sets and the ground truthing of existing models, better models will be made in an attempt to reduce internal anomalies. But the fact remains that modelling is still attempting to predict an uncertain future.

Unfortunately there are a variety of data sets available to feed into the models and a range of models.

The next generation of models were used in the IPCC’ assessment report 4. These multi-model means were starting to be used because the various coupled models seemed to give both accurate and inaccurate correlations to the real natural system as recorded in the past. So if the model produced an accurate simulation on past data then it was reasoned likely that future predictions on simple climate model trends data would produce an accurate coupled data result for the future.

The fact was that coupled data results varied considerably using differed data sets and climate model versions. So it seemed to be logical that if the result were averaged, the results of the 5% to 95% results, (which gets rid of the eccentric data results), we will get from a lot of uncertain results a more certain result. This is an understanding of what a multi-model mean is. A mean of many results of a range of coupled models produced from a range of data sets and a range of assumptions of the future.

The interesting thing about this method is that each model has been set up differently with a range of parameters, some with higher GHG emissions for a future scenario, and some with lower emissions. The end result would be that if the majority of the uncertain future predictions now placed in the models were inaccurate, then the averaging out of the results of all the models would predict a wrong future for the earth.

The method starts with uncertainty as if it was a sows’ ear and suggests that it can make a silk purse by averaging the sows’ ears.

Maybe the analogy is too harsh. It is about the opinions of the model managers who input into the model their best guess of the future. If the manager feels that there will be a reduction of GHGs by a certain date and the majority of model managers believe that this will be the case then the mean of the models will trend that way.

So where does this leave us in predicting the future climate? It leaves us with a best guess solution based on the past’s data collection.

The way the IPCC have handled the uncertainty is by creating several scenarios of the future. These scenarios are based again on varies social and environmental predictions.

However in reality, the prediction that recent data has followed is in fact the highest or least safe prediction for the potential to return the climate to a normal state.

References:

MEEHL Gerald A. , COVEY Curt , MCAVANEY Bryant , LATIF Mojib , AND STOUFFER Ronald J. ,(Jan. 2005) Overview Of The Coupled Model Intercomparison Project, American meteorological society, meeting summaries, https://www.gfdl.noaa.gov/bibliography/related_files/gam0501.pdf, cited September 2016.

Meehl Gerald A.  (USA), Stocker Thomas F. (Switzerland), (2007), Global Climate Projections Coordinating Lead, IPCC assessment report 4, http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg1/ar4-wg1-chapter10.pdf, accessed September 2016.

REICHLER THOMAS , KIM JUNSU, (March 2008)How Well Do Coupled Models Simulate Today’s Climate?,   In Box – Insights and Innovations, , AMERICAN METEOROLOGICAL SOCIETY, Publ. NOAA, http://www.nssl.noaa.gov/users/brooks/public_html/feda/papers/ReichlerKimBAMS08.pdf

Social justice for poor farmers

By David Holland

When markets are invented that enable a purchaser to buy not only a good quality product, and the knowledge that the product has been produced in an environment of social justice and sustainable practices, there is hope for poorer farmers in the world to have more income security.

Security that involves better profits for the effort expended and better outcomes for producing the next crop planted by the farmer. These ideals in conjunction with the quality of the product are communicated to the consumer by an organised certification system.

Systems like FSC and PEFC have been trail blazing the way with forest products and over the years for coffee and banana farmers as well through the Fair Trade certification for coffee products and bananas through the FLO.

With imagination similar schemes could be implemented for other products that are exported from third world counties to the developed world where consumers can afford a premium for the social component of the product.

However, there should be some caution in developing the market to widely. The force of commercialism tends to devalue the social and sustainable practice commodity component of the product and the price of the commodity tends to fall as the social commodity component becomes the norm.  (Renard 2003; Taylor 2005)

It could be then said that the exercise of providing security for the farmer has then been achieved, but social engineers should always be wary of the market, it has a tendance to do what Adam Smith pronounced, and that is that it always finds the lowest price a person is willing to pay for a service or product.

 

Reference

Renard, M. C. (2003), Fair trade: Quality, market and conventions. Journal of Rural Studies, 19(1), 87 96, Retrieved from http://ac.els-cdn.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/S0743016702000517/1-s2.0-S0743016702000517-main.pdf?_tid=5e177a6a-49c3-11e7-a49b-00000aab0f6b&acdnat=1496649090_99cba8c98206f21fe6864909487a559e, June 2017.

Taylor, P. L. (2005), In the market but not of it: Fair trade coffee and forest stewardship council certification as market-based social change. World Development, 33(1), 129 147, Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/science/article/pii/S0305750X04001883, June 2017.

 

 

Urban and rural communities affected by climate change; how can we mitigate the effects?

By David Holland

As we move towards 2030 AD, it is no longer a question of just finding ways to mitigate climate change (Garnaut, R. 2008), it is a call for the survival of our livelihood as we know it. The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) benchmarks for 2030 for RCP 4.5 and RCP 8.5 are up to 190mm increase in sea level on 2005 levels, and up to a shocking 880 mm by 2090 under RCP 8.5. (Climate Change in Australia (1))

In coastal regions, the effects on urban areas is going to be enormous. There will be less frequent but larger storms with large storm surges. Potential the storms will cause inundate to large areas of low lying urban land.  (CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology 2015)

If measures are not taken urgently to reassess settlement patterns, and the way we insure property assets, communities and all levels of Australian government can expect serious social and political discontent. (Holland 2012 Aug.: Holland (2015): Holland (2016 Feb.): NCCARF) The measures to reduce potential flood impacts and massive insurance claim costs, which are pushing up premium, would be to move urban areas away from hazardous zones. See Holland (2015)

Increasingly, daily temperatures and weather patterns are being affected by climate change. Recently, cyclone Debbie affected the whole east coast of Australia with flood and destruction. (Climate Council) In the summer of 2014 and 2017, the lower Hunter region of NSW was effected by mini cyclones which devastated the region.  In the summer of 2013 and in 2017, the Central Coast experienced very high temperatures. The 2017 event was experienced widely across NSW and Queensland. (BOM 2017: The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s 2015)

These events will continue to happen with more regularity. There is no remedy except to move to a more southerly location or stay indoors and have a good air conditioning system. To help conserve power, ensure that your home is fitted with solar panels and is well insulated.

Rural communities in Central NSW will experience more drought, less winter rains and more unpredictable extreme rain events. (Climate Change in Australia (2)) Winter rains often recharge the soil with moisture. Crops like cotton need that moisture for the summer planting season. (Holland 2016 Oct.)

In many places of the Darling River basin where irrigated crops are grown, water from the river will become depleted due to high use and evaporation rates. (Climate Change in Australia (2): Holland 2016)

As day temperatures rise, increased night time temperatures will damage the quality of the crop. Crop failures will potentially devastate communities due to the resulting economic down turn. (The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s (2015): Holland 2017)

Where high risk of crop failure and water shortages are likely due to climate effects, it would be up to the relevant State governments to take a proactive approach in mitigating the effects of climate change in these regions and ensure that alternate agricultural strategies are employed to avoid social disintegration. (Holland 2017)

 

References:

 

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) (2017 April), Special Climate Statement 61—exceptional heat in southeast Australia in early 2017 Updated 11, April 2017,  Australian Government, http://www.bom.gov.au/climate/current/statements/scs61.pdf,  cited April 2017.

Climate Change in Australia (1),  Eastern coast south Australia Projection summaries, Future Climate, Projections for Australia’s NRM regions, https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/climate-projections/future-climate/regional-climate-change-explorer/sub-clusters/?current=ECSC&popup=true&tooltip=true#, cited April 2017

Climate Change in Australia (2),  Central Slopes  Australia Projection summaries, Projections for Australia’s NRM regions, https://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/climate-projections/future-climate/regional-climate-change-explorer/sub-clusters/?current=CSC&tooltip=true&popup=true, cited April 2017.

Climate Council, Intense Rainfall and flooding, The Influence of climate change, http://www.climatecouncil.org.au/uploads/5dafe61d7b3f68d156abd97603d67075.pdf, cited April 2017.

CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology (2015), Climate Change in Australia Information for Australia’s Natural Resource Management Regions: Technical Report, CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, Australia, http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/publications-library/technical-report/, cited April 2017.

Garnaut, R. (2008). The Garnaut climate change review. Cambridge University Press, http://www.garnautreview.org.au/, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2012 August), Planning for Climate Change in the Coastal Regions of New South Wales, https://habitattownplanningforum.wordpress.com/tag/david-holand/, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2015), Planning for Sea Level Rise Risk in some Coastal Regions of Australia – A Market Approach, Habitat Town Planning Forum, WordPress, https://habitattownplanningforum.files.wordpress.com/2015/04/planning-for-climate-change-the-risk-model-for-sea-level-rise-discussion-paper-3rd-edition-rev1-20151.pdf, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2016 Feb), A national security problem – Sea Level rise, Habitat Town Planning Forum, WordPress, https://habitattownplanningforum.wordpress.com/2016/02/21/a-national-security-problem-sea-level-rise/, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2016 Oct.), The cotton growing industry near Bourke NSW A future with climate change, Habitat Association, WordPress, https://habitatassociation.files.wordpress.com/2016/12/cotton-bourke2.pdf, cited April 2017.

Holland, David (2017), A warning to the NSW State government about the potential for the economy of rural towns reliant on agricultural crop income being affected by climate change, Habitat Association, WordPress, https://habitatassociation.com.au/2017/04/26/a-warning-to-the-nsw-state-government-about-the-potential-for-the-economy-of-rural-towns-reliant-on-agricultural-crop-income-being-affected-by-climate-change/, cited April 2017.

National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), What does climate change mean for Australia?, https://www.nccarf.edu.au/content/adaptation, cited April 2017.

The CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology’s (2015), Technical Report on Climate change in Australia Projections for Australia’s NRM Regions,  http://www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au/en/publications-library/technical-report/, cited April 2017.

Sanda, Dominica (2017 March 16), Throwback Thursday: Mini Cyclone lashed Region, The Newcastle Herald, http://www.theherald.com.au/story/4482752/throwback-thursday-mini-cyclone-lashes-region-photos/, cited April 2017.

White Bellied Sea Eagle – The Wadalba Warrior

Habitat Centre for Arts

What a Magnificent Bird!

This is the Wadalba Warrior.

A bird that has gained the admiration of a town. A town called Wadalba.

Wadalba it located in the Central Coast of New South Wales Australia and is the home of this magnificent bird.

White Bellied Sea Eagle White Bellied Sea Eagle

The artist painted this sea eagle (copied from a photo on the white bellied sea eagle site on the internet) the reason for this water-colour painting is because there has been a battle over a housing development project on southern Wadalba Hill on the Central Coast of NSW.
There is a white bellied sea eagles nest on a tree at the edge of a clear felled forest. The chicks were inside and the site was clear felled nearly up to the tree.
The parents have been back every day to feed the chicks despite the clearing and destruction going on nearby. There is an…

View original post 68 more words

Megan Hitchens at the Choose yourself exhibition

Habitat Centre for Arts

This exclusive exhibition of fine art is for only 8 artists, giving them the opportunity to show their unique works. Megan has used a drawing style for these two drawing called the  Zentangle drawing method. For more information about this style see the link www.zentangle.com

Choose-Yourself-Flyer   T6

cipher 2

The Exhibition flyer for the time and place is available on the following link. Click to view or reproduce for your friends: Choose-Yourself-Flyer

View original post

Climate Change related Sea Level Rise Policy changes in New South Wales

Habitat Town Planning Forum

This is an up date of a paper first written in 2010 but still relevant in 2014 more than ever with continued evidence of the effects of chi mate change in a range of environments. 

Since this paper was written in 2010 there has been a series of developments related to both NSW State government and some Central Coast local government councils and their policies.

After the Labor State government announced in 2009 the recognition of sea level rise being a scientific fact through the Draft Flood Risk Management Guide published by the Department of Environment and Climate Change Water (DECCW) several predictable things happened.

Firstly we need to understand that the DECCW based finding of 900mm sea level rise by the year 2100 on the shore of NSW from data produced by the 2007 fourth session report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change[1]. This report indicated that sea level…

View original post 1,057 more words

Risks and impacts on governments and the community when planning coal mining projects in urban growth areas

Habitat Town Planning Forum

Planning for population growth is one of the challenges Australia has to face to ensure a good socio-economic future. This means that mismanagement and errors due to bad planning will affect our prosperity both individually and as a nation.

Currently Australia is going through an increase in applications for mining operations. Some of the recent policy of State governments has been to embrace mining and exports to improve royalty revenues. In the face of climate change, Australian states are continuing to give approvals for mining operations to take advantage of carbon-based resources.

This paper will investigate how a population growth area and a coal mining application are in conflict on the Central Coast of New South Wales (NSW). It identifies a range of planning principals for urban growth areas and superimposes a real life proposal for a mining operation within the locality of the growth area on the Central Coast…

View original post 347 more words

The Habitat Association aims to encourage creative people

We are about mentoring the creative individual and encouraging them to put together quality products for publishing.

Our main aim is to publish and mentor in the arts and environment, and encourage adaptive thinking.

We provide a forum for people to share and publish their ideas and life’s experiences.

The Habitat Association is not an advocacy group, but provides forums for individuals and collaborative groups to mentor or be mentored by others and discuss issues. These discussions may be in the form of articles, papers, books, painting, poems or other forms of communication related to our environment, where we live, how we live, and individual’s life experiences.

Projects similar to the above are the activity of individuals but the following are the activities of the Association.

Publishing

The association encourages the publishing of individual or collaborative projects.

One of the avenues the Habitat Association uses to publish projects is the Habitat Association’s websites.

Projects that have been published on the website include:

  • book samples,
  • short stories,
  • articles, poems,
  • paintings,
  • photographic themes related to place
  • academic papers.

The association is not limited to the creative projects currently published on the website.

The Habitat Association is continually exploring new ways to publish finished works by individuals and collaborative groups.

All work published under the auspices of the Habitat Association must meet the publishing standards of the Association.

Mentoring

Mentoring requires a relationship between people. It requires a transfer of knowledge and experience. Both our directors and participants in the activities of the Habitat Association have considerable life experiences. As the organization grows this experience will grow and ad value to our mentoring capability.

The association encourages people to come together to talk and write about their experiences. It is part of the Habitat Association’s culture to encourage participants to tell their stories by putting their thoughts and ideas in the written form. For the more visually inclined we encourage participants to put their thoughts, ideas and concepts into pictures, paintings, sculptures, crafts or into a photographic form.

The Arts

So what do we mean by ‘the Arts’?

The Association understands “the arts” to mean, any creative process that produces a product that can be enjoyed by humanity.

The association does not limit the artistic expression except through its publishing standards.

Environment

So what do we mean by the environment?

The association takes a wider view of the environment than the modern understanding of the word environment. We recognize that our environment is the places where we live .

Adaptive thinking

The association’s overarching aim is to encourage adaptive thinking. The object is to find new and creative ways to approach issues, problems and challenges.

Interested persons can view many of the finished projects on our websites including:

  1. www.habitatassociation.com.au
  2. www.habitatcentreforarts.com.au 

The Association also uses the web platform WordPress. Other habitat sites include:

  1. www.habitattownplanningforum.wordpress.com
  2. www.visionsinnersydney.wordpress.com
  3. www.habitatassociationspoetscorner.wordpress.com
  4. www.thehabitatshortstorynook.wordpress.com
  5. http://www.habitatinnovationscentre.wordpress.com

In addition we have many projects planned and underway.

 

We invite you to contact us. Provided you have the ideas, the interest and motivation, we will plug you in and enjoy your progress in your chosen project. We will give advice when asked for and encourage you to publish your work when the works are completed.

The re-evaluation of the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code by David Holland

Habitat Town Planning Forum

Questions are raised in the discussion paper, ‘enhancing hazard reduction in NSW’, put out by the Bush Fire coordinating committee (BFCC) in August 2012.

This paper attempt to cover two fundamental questions related to the Bush fire Environmental Code.

Question 8: Should the Bush Fire Environmental Assessment Code (BFEAC) be amended to further streamline the environmental assessment process? If so, how should this be done? Can you provide examples of when the Code has worked well and when it has not?

Question 9: What steps could be taken to dispel the perception that environmental issues prevent hazard reduction?

The answer is to incorporate the detail of the treatments, planning and environmental constraint such as fire frequency intervals in the Risk Management Plans (RMPs) prepared by the Bush Fire Management committees (BFMCs).

Presently not enough detail and not enough reportable assessments are available in the RMPs.

This paper highlights…

View original post 199 more words