Lack of adequate policy guidelines and a funding source to deal with coastal erosion is emerging as the most difficult issue currently facing coastal councils.

Most of the councils that nominated issues to be considered in the Coastal Issues Exchange at the 2015 Australian Coastal Councils Conference put coastal erosion at or near the top of their list.

In the view of one council, the lack of clarity on state and national policy in relation to coastal erosion and sea level rise is arguably the ‘major coastal issue of the century’.

The Coastal Issues Exchange is a new session being introduced at the Conference, to be held at Cape Schanck, on the Mornington Peninsula, from 11 to 13 March.

The session is being developed as a forum for an exchange of information about current coastal issues between representatives of coastal councils, government agencies, coastal researchers and others. It is also aimed at identifying best practice examples of work being undertaken to deal with the issues.

Issues suggested for consideration at the session to date include the following:

  • Uncertainty about Federal and state Government funding support for local government in the future, given projected budget deficits;
  • The benefits and disadvantages of building sea walls to protect shorelines;
  • The potential benefits of coastal councils pooling resources to address common coastal issues;
  • Coastal dune management and resolving conflicts around dunes for coastal protection against their perceived impact on beach amenity;
  • Ad-hoc private coastal protection works which can adversely impact on beaches, parkland and other public lands;
  • Policies relating to opening estuary entrances to reduce or prevent flooding of low-lying public and private infrastructure; and
  • Productivity Commission recommendations on reducing the level of Commonwealth disaster recovery funding.

Conference delegates will have the opportunity to add their suggestions to the list of issues to be considered at the session during the course of the event.

The Coastal Issues Exchange will be one of the highlights of the 2015 conference. Other features include the Coastal Research Forum and the annual Australian Coastal Awards, which will be presented at the conference dinner, on Thursday 12 March.

Further information about the conference program is available at the following url – info@seachangetaskforce.org.au