The Australian Coastal Councils Association Inc. commenced operations on 1 July 2015. The organisation was previously known as the National Sea Change Taskforce. The change was unanimously approved by members at a Special General Meeting held in March, 2015, and is part of a strategy to expand the organisation and to increase its influence among decisions-makers.
The objectives of the Association are:
- To support and advance the interests of coastal councils and their constituencies;
- To provide national leadership in addressing the impact of the sea change phenomenon;
- To work collaboratively with local State and Federal Governments to develop a coordinated approach to managing population and tourism growth in coastal areas;
- To assist coastal councils to increase their capacity to respond to coastal issues including projected climate change impacts and adaptation.
Management of the nation’s 36,000 kms of coastline is left almost entirely to local councils which do not have sufficient resources to tackle the enormous challenges involved.
These challenges include dealing with extensive coastal erosion, maintaining and renourishing the nation’s beaches, cleaning up and recovering from severe weather events and restoring coastal habitat.
One of the reasons councils find it so difficult to deal with these issues is the vertical fiscal imbalance that exists between the three levels of government in Australia.
Local councils receive only 3.4% of Australia’s taxation revenue, while the Federal Government receives 81% and the states and territories 15%. As a result, much of the work required to manage the coast is beyond the financial capacity of local government.
Australia is a coastal nation, with all of the state capitals, most of the nation’s industrial assets and more than 85% of the population located in the coastal zone.
The coast is Australia’s most highly-prized natural asset, yet there is no co-ordinated national approach to managing the coast for the benefit of future generations.
The role of the Australian Coastal Councils Association is to advocate on behalf of coastal councils and to represent their interests at a national level. The organisation will therefore continue to campaign for the resources needed to manage and maintain the coast effectively on behalf of all Australians.
The coast is one of the nation’s most highly valued social, economic and environmental assets. The members of the Australian Coastal Councils Association want to make sure it stays that way for the benefit of future generations.