A new planning amendment has been proposed for South Gippsland – it removes lots from the planning controls, focusing instead on areas that the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority considers at risk for flooding and storm surges. Areas affected include along the Tarwin River, Shallow Inlet, Corner Inlet and the Kongwak/Outtrim floodplains.

A new planning amendment has been proposed for South Gippsland – it removes lots from the planning controls, focusing instead on areas that the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority considers at risk for flooding and storm surges. Areas affected include along the Tarwin River, Shallow Inlet, Corner Inlet and the Kongwak/Outtrim floodplains.

BETTER maps developed over the past year have removed 633 lots from out-dated flooding controls that were first implemented in 1998.
South Gippsland Shire Council and the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority have developed better maps that show which areas of the shire are at risk to flooding, storm surges and sea level rise to 0.8m.
The new maps will be used in the council’s Land Subject to Inundation Overlay (amendment C81).
These maps will then trigger planning permit applications, which will force developers to design homes, buildings and infrastructure with inundation risk in mind.
South Gippsland’s amendment follows a similar process already begun by Bass Coast Shire Council.
Planning manager Paul Stampton said the new amendment is more refined.
“We already have an ESO6 (Environmental Significance Overlay – areas subject to flooding), that was put into the planning scheme many years ago, but it was done on a lot basis,” he said.
“So, for instance in Dumbalk, they just plonked it on the whole block, so if you had a little creek running through your farm, the ESO6 would have been put right up to the tops of the hills as well.
“… So what the new maps do is remove the ESO6, over 600 properties, and give us more accurate information of where the creek’s inundation would be and much better mapping along the coastline showing where future inundation might be along there as well.”
Mr Stampton said the amendment provides “a consistent approach to inundation controls across South Gippsland and ensures they are applied logically and fairly”.
He said while some properties will be removed from planning control, others will have them applied.
This includes the towns of Port Welshpool, Sandy Point, Tarwin Lower and Venus Bay. Council said it hoped the impacts for landowners in these areas would be minimal.
“The amendment does not stop anybody from building a house in a coastal township where inundation controls were not previously applied,” Mr Stampton said.
“If you build the habitable areas of your new house above the flood level, the LSIO won’t even trigger the need for a planning permit.
“This is a common sense approach to planning for flooding and protects the ability of landowners in township areas to build a dwelling on their land.”
You can inspect which areas of South Gippsland are affected by the amendment online at South Gippsland Shire Council’s website, the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning website (search for South Gippsland Planning Scheme Amendments), or via the West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (which is responsible for floodplains).
Anyone who may be affected by the amendment is entitled to make a written submission to council; submissions are due before 5pm on Friday, October 16.

Information sessions

Director development services Bryan Sword said the amendment was not about taking away people’s right to build, but rather implementing sensible planning controls in risk areas: “future proofing townships through orderly planning”.
“This is effectively information that insurance companies have long held [which areas are subject to flooding], that is why it’s important for us to introduce it into the planning scheme so that current and future landowners can make informed decisions.”
He said officers had planned information sessions to assist landholders to understand the amendment and if they wanted to write submissions.
People wishing to discuss the amendment can book in to reserve a time to speak with council officers at the upcoming information sessions.
Council officers will be at Sandy Point Community Centre on Monday, September 14; Wednesday, September 16 at the Tarwin Lower Mechanics Institute Hall; Friday, September 18 at Leongatha Council Chambers (Michael Place); Monday, September 21 at Port Welshpool Ferry Terminal Building.
Meetings are available between 10.30am and 8pm at each session.
Council will vote to refer (or otherwise) the amendment to the planning minister once a report has come to council which considers the submissions.