Preparing Australia’s coastal zone for a changing climate
Australia’s House of Representatives Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts Committee’s inquiry report, ‘Managing our coastal zone in a changing climate: the time to act is now’,1 calls for new arrangements for Australia’s coastal zone and makes recommendations to improve management of climate change and environmental impacts on the coast.
With 80 per cent of the population living in its coastal zone, Australia needs to prepare for sea-level rise and other climate impacts.
Credit: James Porteous
‘Some 80 per cent of the Australian population live in the coastal zone, and the concentration of Australia’s population and infrastructure along the coast makes us particularly vulnerable to climate change impacts, including sea-level rise,’ said Committee Chair, Jennie George.
The report’s 47 recommendations include:
agreement on the coastal zone, defining the roles and responsibilities of the three tiers of government involved in coastal zone management;
urgent inquiries into legal and insurance issues relating to climate change impacts on the coastal zone;
improved emergency management arrangements in the event of a climate change-related coastal disaster;
an awareness campaign to alert coastal communities to the key challenges facing the coastal zone;
a national assessment of coastal infrastructure vulnerability to sea-level rise; and
expansion of coastal areas protected within Australia’s National Reserve System and the Ramsar Convention, and implementation of a National Shorebirds Protection Strategy.
1 Copies of the report can be obtained from the Committee’s website at: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ccwea/coastalzone/report.htm
CSIRO’s submission to the Committee can be found at: http://www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/ccwea/coastalzone/subs/sub049.pdf