Protecting people and property in coastal councils
  • Wednesday 07 March 2012

Sunshine Coast Council was represented at the Australian Coastal Councils Conference in Hobart today by Councillor Debbie Blumel who spoke at the conference about the new Queensland Coastal Plan and its implications for councils.

Councillor Debbie Blumel is a member of the National Sea Change Taskforce Committee of Management that provides national leadership on issues affecting sea change communities.

Councillor Blumel said the Queensland Government recently released its much anticipated Queensland Coastal Plan that took effect from 3 February 2012.

"The Queensland Coastal Plan gives formal recognition to the reality of climate change by the Queensland Government," Cr Blumel said.

"The plan addresses the need for long-term measures to protect people, property and infrastructure from the effects of anticipated sea level rises in coastal areas, including the Sunshine Coast.

"The plan outlines measures that local governments need to undertake to prepare for the impacts of climate change arising from coastline erosion, permanent inundation due to sea level rise and intermittent inundation through storm surge.

"The plan supports management of coastal land for the protection of coastal resources and maintenance of natural coastal processes.

"Infrastructure and services should allow public use of the coast without adverse impacts, and encourage public participation in the management of public coastal land.

"There are a number of implications for local government and the Sunshine Coast Council from the Queensland Coastal Plan.

"Local government will need to include state planning policy and code provisions into planning schemes as part of a future planning scheme amendment.

"Work will need to start now in order to incorporate Adaptation Strategies into planning schemes within five years. Adaptation Strategies will need to spatially identify areas at risk, identify current and known future ‘assets’ vulnerable to coastal hazards to the year 2100, involve community consultation about adaptation options, identify preferred adaptation options, be informed by cost-benefit or multi-criteria analysis of adaptation options and include an implementation program, financial plan and process for review.

"State coastal land managers are encouraged to prepare and implement coastal management plans that designate areas for beach access, parks and passive recreation areas, describe management actions for protecting physical coastal processes and coastal resources, include a shoreline erosion management plan where coastal erosion poses a threat to structures and infrastructure, include a beach driving management plan and include performance indicators, monitoring and reporting arrangements and a program of annual works and maintenance.

"The Australian Coastal Councils Conference is an important event for decision makers and leaders to meet, share information and advocate approaches for the management of the impact of climate change on Australia’s coastal areas.

"Sunshine Coast Council is leading the way in dealing with the impacts of climate change but it is a national issue affecting many coastal areas and it’s important that we work together for the best outcomes for our coastal regions."