Taskforce AGM and MP Briefings to be held in Canberra

The 2014 Annual General Meeting of the National Sea Change Taskforce is to be held in Canberra on Wednesday 3 September. The meeting will be held at Parliament House in association with a series of briefings for MPs from coastal electorates.

Taskforce Chair Barry Sammels said separate briefings would be held for coastal MPs the various parties to bring them up to date on the major issues facing coastal communities.

“We also aim to highlight the importance of the coast to Australia’s national identify,” he said. “The coast is one of our most highly valued social, economic and environmental assets, and we want to gain the support of coastal MPs to make sure it stays that way.”

Barry Sammels said Australia’s coastal communities are facing a difficult range of challenges. These include continuing population growth, a shortfall in infrastructure and services, and an urgent need to deal with the risk of more frequent and severe extreme weather events.

“These challenges are confronting coastal communities in every state and are placing at risk the wellbeing of coastal residents and the biodiversity and scenic values of the coastal zone,“ he said.

Barry Sammels invited representatives of coastal councils to attend the AGM and associated briefings for MPs to add their support to the case being put by the Taskforce.

“In particular we are seeking the support of MPs for the additional questions on ownership and use of second residences to be added to the next Census, in 2016,” he said. “The additional data will give a more accurate picture of population levels in coastal areas and will strengthen the case for a more equitable share of Financial Assistance Grants for coastal councils.

“This will be a great opportunity for representatives of coastal councils to meet with their local MPs and to join with other coastal councils in lobbying MPs from both sides of politics for a better deal for coastal communities.”

Barry Sammels said the briefings will start at 9.30am on Wednesday 3 September with the AGM to follow at 12 noon. He advised councils wishing to send representatives to the AGM and briefings to contact the Taskforce secretariat to make arrangements for entry passes to Parliament House.