Engineers Australia’s National Committee on Coastal and Ocean Engineering has criticised the Queensland government’s decision to order Moreton Bay Council to remove all references to climate change-induced sea level rise from its regional plan, saying the decision is contrary to science and reason.

“The most fundamental principles of engineering and risk management – and plain common sense – dictate that professional engineers and councils have a duty of care to the community and professional responsibility to take a long-term view and plan for probable future scenarios,” Noel Carroll, deputy chair of the EA committee said.

“The decision to remove references to climate change induced sea level rise is at odds with decades of scientific research, professional engineering practice and rationality.”

Mr Carol said EA had been advocating for the necessity to consider climate change since the 1990s, and that the association’s guidelines clearly identify sea level rise as a key climate change environmental parameter that “must be considered in any risk assessment approach to design and coastal management decision making”.

“Australia’s coastal regions are particularly vulnerable to climate change effects. These include increased loss and damage to natural and built environments in coastal and riparian areas from sea-level rise, storm surge, wave action, inundation, ground water change and saline intrusion,” Mr Carroll said.

“These are major and real concerns. All governments have a basic responsibility and obligation to plan for and consider scenarios that, while certainly unpalatable, are well within the realms of possibility.”

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