Australia’s peak coastal groups have joined forces to campaign for a national coastal policy in the lead up to the Federal election.
The Australian Coastal Advocacy Alliance has been formed by the Association of Bayside Municipalities (Victoria); Australian Coastal Society; National Sea Change Taskforce; Queensland Regional NRM Groups Collective; Surf Life Saving Australia; Surfrider Foundation Australia and the Sydney Coastal Councils Group.
Alan Stokes, Executive Director of the National Sea Change Taskforce and spokesperson for the alliance, said the groups have joined forces to promote a coordinated national approach to managing the Australian coast for the benefit of future generations.
“Australians love the coast but as a nation we have ignored it for far too long and done too little to protect it from significant population pressures, rising sea levels and more frequent extreme weather events,” he said.
“More than 19.5 million people live in the Australian coastal zone and many of them are represented by groups in the Alliance. This is about 86% of the nation’s total population and is increasing year by year, especially in fast-growing coastal areas outside the capital cities.
“At the forthcoming Federal election we will be asking all Australians who live, work or play in coastal areas to vote for the coast by supporting candidates that care for our unique coastal zone and are committed to protecting it for the future.”
Alan Stokes said the coastal alliance is preparing a National Coastal Policy Initiative which members and candidates in coastal electorates will be asked to support.
“This will include the key policy initiatives needed to secure the future of the Australian coast,” he said. “Voters in these electorates can then make up their minds about which candidates deserve their support at the election.”
“As the bi-partisan Australian Parliamentary report Managing our coastal zone in a changing climate pointed out in 2009 – the time to act on these issues is now.”
Alan Stokes said current responses to coastal management issues are reactionary and lacking consistency, with each state and tier of government taking its own, inconsistent approach.
“What is needed is a collaborative national response to coastal planning and management involving all three levels of government,” Alan Stokes said. “But this will only happen with the Australian Government taking the initiative and playing a leadership role while supporting and funding sustainable management practices.”