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Coastal areas most at risk – Australia State of Environment Report 2016

Australia’s latest assessment of the nation’s environmental condition, released last month, reports that while most of Australia’s environments are generally in good condition, the state of the environment in more populated coastal areas and urban growth areas is poor and deteriorating.

The latest five-yearly State of Environment Report, written by 18 of Australia’s leading scientists, finds that governments are doing a poor job of collaborating and coordinating policies. They call for national leadership and specific programs with reliable funding to preserve Australia’s unique environments and deal with climate change.

Dr Graeme Clark and Professor Emma Johnston, authors of the report’s chapter on Coasts, make the point that: ‘Our coast is intimately linked to our national economy, industry, arts, social lifestyle and cultural identify, with more than 85% of Australians living within 50 kms of the sea.’ But they warn that we risk ‘loving our coast to death’ as its amenities and resources attract intensive human use.

They say that pressures on the coastal environment are strongly related to catchment land use and development and state: ‘In urban areas, the intensity of pressures is generally correlated with human population densities. Australia has continued to increase in population since the 2011 state of the environment report, and most of that growth has been on the coast.’

The report states that ‘some pressures apply to all areas of the coast… and the most important of these is climate change. Coasts are particularly sensitive to climate change because of rising sea levels, which are predicted to cause extensive erosion and inundation in coming decades. Since 2011, coasts have experienced more frequent and severe extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and large storms, and these have had significant ecological impacts.’

The authors state that the outlook for the coast focuses on the escalating trajectory of climate-related pressures. ‘These are expected to become increasingly prominent, and unlike most other pressures, affect the entire coast.’ They say that sea level rise is a key pressure that Australia is only just beginning to experience, and one that will have increasingly conspicuous impacts in future decades.

‘If greenhouse gas production is not rapidly reduced, the rate of sea level rise is predicted to reach almost 12mm per year or higher by 2100, depending on the behaviour of the Antarctic ice shelves. Increased sea level will not only shift the position of intertidal and aquatic habitats, it will also cause extensive erosion and recession.’

Dr Graeme Clark will present the findings of the report’s chapter on Coasts at the 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference, at Redcliffe in Queensland, on Thursday 4 May. The full Australia State of Environment 2016 report is available here.

Information – 2017 Australian Coastal Awards and Call for Conference Papers

Australian Coastal Awards
The Australian Coastal Councils Association is inviting entries for the 2017 Australian Coastal Awards, which will be presented at the Australian Coastal Councils Conference, at Redcliffe, Queensland, from 3 to 5 May.

The Awards were established by the Association to acknowledge the people and organisations that have made a significant contribution to the Australian coastal environment and settlements.

The 2017 Australian Coastal Awards are to be made in five categories:
• Planning and Management;
• Coastal Research;
• Community Engagement;
• Climate Adaptation; and
• Annual Achievement Award.

Nominations in the award categories are open until Friday 24 March 2017. Individuals or organisations submitting entries are invited to complete the attached nomination form –

Click here for more Information

Click here for Nomination Form – 2017 Australian Coastal Awards

Selected finalists in each award category will be notified by Friday 7 April 2017. The Awards will be presented to winners in the various categories at the 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference dinner to be held on Thursday 4 May.

Call for Papers – 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference
The Organising Committee of the 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference is inviting abstracts to be submitted for papers to be presented at the Conference, which is to be held from 3 to 5 May, 2017, at Redcliffe in Queensland.

The Committee is seeking papers on coastal themes including but not limited to the following topics:
• Coastal Planning and Management
• Economic Development Strategies in Coastal Regions
• Sustainable Coastal Development
• Meeting the Needs of Coastal Communities
• Tourism in Australia’s Coastal Regions
• Coastal Policy.

Please note that in selecting papers for presentation priority will be given to papers that provide practical examples of how to address issues commonly faced by coastal councils.

The deadline for submitting Abstracts is close of business, Friday, 10 March.

Click here for more Information on Call for Papers

Registration – 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference

You are invited to attend the 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference to be held at Redcliffe, Queensland, from Wednesday 3 to Friday 5 May 2017.

The Australian Coastal Councils Conference is the annual event where representatives of coastal councils, policy makers and researchers come together to share information on the latest developments in coastal planning and management from around Australia.

The 2017 Conference will be held at the Mon Komo Hotel, Redcliffe, in Queensland – less than 30 minutes north of Brisbane Airport. The event is being jointly hosted by Moreton Bay Regional Council and Moreton Bay Region Industry and Tourism.

The theme for the 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference is A Sustainable Future for Coastal Australia.

Conference topics include:
• What does the future hold for coastal regions? – An outline of the social, economic and environmental outlook for coastal Australia;
• Options for financing coastal adaptation – Findings of a Griffith University study identifying options for financing adaptation works;
• What causes clusters of shark attacks? – The latest research identifies that clusters of unprovoked shark bites are not ‘completely random’;
• Coastal Populations – Proposed new methods of gathering population data in coastal areas. Presented by the Australian Bureau of Statistics;
• Presentation of the 2017 Australian Coastal Awards to acknowledge the achievement of individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution to the Australian coastal environment, settlements and sustainability

We encourage you to join us at this important event and look forward to seeing you at Redcliffe in May 2017.

Click here for the registration brochure

Click here for delegate travel resource kit

Click here for the delegates travel request booking form

For more information call Susan Faulkner on Tel: 03 9399 8558 Mob: 0418 254 132
or email:

Could green bonds be the answer to financing adaptation?

A study by researchers at Griffith University has found that investors are keen to buy green bonds designed specifically to provide funding for the costs of climate change adaptation but there are a range of barriers that currently prevent this type of financing.

The study, titled Mechanisms to finance climate change adaptation in Australia, was commissioned by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF). The research project was based on extensive interviews with representatives of institutional investors, bankers, insurers, consultants, advisors, legal experts and all levels of government. The Australian Coastal Councils Association was one of the organisations which participated in the study.

In an article published by The Conversation, Dr Zsuzsa Banhalmi-Zakar, the lead researcher of the study and Dr David Rissik, the General Manager of NCCARF, say the costs involved are so substantial that Government at all levels will not be able to pay for adaptation. Therefore, there is a need to think about how best to promote adaptation as an opportunity for the finance sector.

The research indicates that investors are looking for investment in bankable and scalable projects such as those that can help Australia adapt to climate change and mitigate its effects, but which also generate a return on investment.

As the research report points out, however, there are no agreed means of demonstrating when a city, infrastructure or coast has successfully adapted to climate change. So not only are there no standards around green bonds for adaptation, these type of bonds don’t yet exist in Australia.

Dr. Banhalmi-Zakar and Dr. Rissik note that the bonds issued by governments and corporations to raise capital for projects are different to bank loans. They are issued over a specific time and have a set face value when issued that is paid back upon maturation.

Most green bonds demonstrate green credentials through projects that reduce carbon emissions, which mitigates climate change. Green adaptation bonds would incorporate elements or projects that ‘climate-proof’ investments or increase resilience to extreme events caused by climate change.

The article in The Conversation observes that green bonds have performed extraordinarily well in the market. The global value of green bonds (at issue) has increased from US$11 billion in 2013 to more than US$36 billion in 2014 and almost US$56 billion in mid-2015.

Dr. Banhalmi and Dr. Rissik say one of the key problems in getting green adaption bonds financed is that the bulk of responsibility for adaptation falls on local governments, which typically do not have the means to negotiate directly with investors, let alone access private sector funds.

Yet the research findings provide some hope that private sector financing for adaptation can become a reality. As indicated in the final report of the research project:

‘The benefit of financing adaptation through bonds is that the private sector is already experienced with this mechanism and that bonds are particularly targeted at large-scale projects (or group of projects). A limitation of bonds is that they require sizeable projects (i.e. costs over $25 million) to be feasible, therefore they can only apply to adaptation projects that are scalable.’

The final research report is available at –

CoastAdapt on-line tool to manage climate risks now ‘live’

A beta version of CoastAdapt – an on-line tool designed to assist d
ecision-makers to manage risks associated with climate change – has been launched on a trial basis and is now ‘live’

The tool has been developed by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) and incorporates input from 700 coastal decision-makers, practitioners and researchers who were consulted during the development phase.CA-logo on white

CoastAdapt has been designed to provide coastal councils, communities and other coastal stakeholders with the skills, information and tools to support effective decision-making. It provides information on all aspects of climate change including the science, impacts on coastal settlements, and legal implications of adaptation.

The beta version is now open for testing and review until November. NCCARF is inviting feedback and input from coastal councils and advises that this review period is an essential part of the development process.

CoastAdapt has been developed by NCCARF with funding from the Australian Government through the Department of the Environment and Energy.

One of the services provided by CoastAdapt is an ‘Ask The Expert’ forum where coastal planners, engineers and decision-makers can put questions relating to coastal adaptation to a panel of experts.

The Australian Coastal Councils Association was one of the organisations that provided input to NCCARF during the development process. We encourage you to go on-line to test CoastAdapt and provide your feedback to NCCARF, as indicated on the site.

The beta version of CoastAdapt is available at –

2016 Australian Coastal Councils Conference – Report and presentations


The report and presentations from the 2016 Australian Coastal Conference held at Rockingham WA from 4 to 6 May 2016 are now available.

The 2016 Australian Coastal Councils Conference, held at Rockingham (WA) from 4 to 6 May 2016 was convened by the Australian Coastal Councils Association to provide a focus on the challenges facing the nation’s coastal communities. The Conference was held at the Gary Holland Community Centre, 19 Kent St Rockingham.

Read or download the conference report here:

2016 Australian Coastal Councils Report



Wednesday 4 May

Coastal Issues – Case Studies

Introduction to the City of Rockingham

Andrew Hammond, CEO, City of Rockingham WA

Economic Development Case Study – City of Fremantle Strategy

Dr Brad Pettitt, Mayor, City of Fremantle WA

Coastal Hazard and Sea Level Rise – The Clock is Ticking

Oliver Moles, Director, Moyne Shire Council VIC

Augusta Boat Harbour

Dr Johan Louw, Director, Shire of Augusta Margaret River WA


Keynote Address

Coastal Populations – New Approaches to Regional Data

Lisa Conolly, Director: Regional, Family and Community Statistics, Australian Bureau of Statistics


Coastal Research Forum

Marine Projections for NRM Regions of Australia

Dr Kathleen McInnes, Coastal Dynamics Program

NCEDA, Desalination, Coastal Intakes and Outfalls

Professor Wendell Ela, National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, Murdoch University

Retreat, Existing Coastal Settlements and the Effects of Climate Change

John Watson, School of Law, University of South Australia


Coastal Management Case Studies

Towards Best Practice Council-based Coastal Planning

Phil Watson, NRM Planner, Clarence City Council TAS

Reconciliation in the Grasslands: Themeda Grass Headland EEC

Cr Danielle Brice, Eurobodalla Shire Council NSW

Coastal Adaptation in the Peron Naturaliste Region of WA: A five Year Journey

Joanne Ludbrook, Coordinator, Peron Naturaliste Partnership WA


Finance Options for Coastal Adaptation

Financing Coastal Adaptation

Ashley Robb, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute

Problems and prospects of moving the Climate Adaptation Finance Agenda Forward

Dan Ware, Griffith Centre of Coastal Management


Thursday 5 May

Keynote Address

Water Management in the Coastal Zone

A/Prof James Pittock, Fenner School of Environment & Society, ANU


Coastal Research Forum

Introducing a Climate Risk Management Tool for Coastal Australia

Dr David Rissik, Deputy Director, NCCARF

Integrating coastal catchment research with community engagement

Dr Mat Vanderklift, Oceans and Atmosphere Flagship, CSIRO


Economic Development Strategies in Coastal Regions

Quest Apartments Rockingham – Case Study

Tim Cross, National Sales Operations Manager, Quest Apartment Hotels

Mid west camping nodes

Nicole Nelson, Manager Tourism & Library Services, Shire of Irwin WA


Coastal Research Forum                              

Coastal dolphin research in Western Australia

Dr Alexander M Brown, Cetacean Research Unit, Murdoch University

Community impacts and attitudes towards a State Marine Park at Jurien Bay, WA

Asha McNeill, Earth & Environment & Oceans Institute, University of WA


Coastal Erosion Session

Sea level rise and implications for coastal management

Dr Andrew McCowan, Managing Director, Water Technology Pty Ltd

Accurate framework for assessing the effect of mitigation schemes for coastal erosion

Dr Kasper Kaergaard, Senior Engineer, DHI Australia

Planning for long-term coastal erosion and inundation in Western Australia

Ashley Robb, Curtin University Sustainability Policy Institute

Sunshine Coast regional sand sourcing study

Greg Fisk, BMT WBM Pty Ltd (Water and Environment)


Coastal Policy Workshop

Alan Stokes, Australian Coastal Councils Association


Friday 6 May

Keynote Address

Bay Plan 2070 for Port Phillip Bay

Michael Nolan, Chair – UN Global Compact Cities Programme


Coastal Planning

A review of planning approaches for coastal climate change

Professor Barbara Norman, Professor of Urban & Regional Planning, Australian National University


Renewable Energy

Community scale battery storage unit trial at Alkimos

Gus Riggs, Senior Policy Adviser, Synergy


Coastal Policy

2016 Campaign for the coast

Barry Sammels – Mayor, City of Rockingham, and Chair, Australian Coastal Councils Association


2016 Conference Coastal Policy and Communiqué          

Facilitated discussion to consider a proposed coastal policy platform and the Conference Communiqué


For inquiries call Tel: 03 9399 8558 Mob: 0418 254 132

or email:


Coastal councils call for national approach to managing Australian coastal zone

Representatives of Australian coastal councils and other coastal stakeholders attending the Australian Coastal Councils Conference from 4 to 6 May, 2016, issued a conference communiqué calling on the Australian Government to establish a national collaborative effort to secure a sustainable future for the Australian coastal zone.

The communiqué points out that the coast is one of Australia’s most highly valued social, economic and environmental assets. It is home to our state capitals and to more than 85% of our population.

While the coastal zone plays a pivotal role in the life of the nation, however, it is under increasing threat from a complex range of pressures.

Coastal councils and their communities call on the Australian Government to play a leadership role by adopting a set of policy initiatives based on the recommendations of the bi-partisan Australian Parliamentary Coastal inquiry.

The inquiry, conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts, was acknowledged as the most comprehensive examination of coastal pressures ever conducted in Australia.

Click here for the conference communiqué

2016 Australian Coastal Councils Conference Communiqué


New study finds sea level rise could be much higher by 2100

Sea level rise could be much higher than previously projected by the end of this century, according to a new study published in the journal Nature.

The study, conducted by researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst and Penn State University, warns that sea level could increase by up to 2 metres by 2100 if melting from the ice sheets of Antarctica and Greenland are taken into account. Continue reading New study finds sea level rise could be much higher by 2100

2016 AUSTRALIAN COASTAL AWARDS – Nominations Now Open

The 2016 Australian Coastal Awards are to be announced at the 2016 Australian Coastal Councils Conference at Rockingham, Western Australia, on Thursday 5 May, 2016.  Continue reading 2016 AUSTRALIAN COASTAL AWARDS – Nominations Now Open

Call For Papers – 2016 Australian Coastal Councils Conference

The Organizing Committee of the 2016 Australian Coastal Councils Conference is inviting abstracts to be submitted for papers to be presented at the Conference, which is to be held from 4 to 6 May 2016 at Rockingham in Western Australia. Continue reading Call For Papers – 2016 Australian Coastal Councils Conference