Australian Coastal Management and Climate Change




The Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) raised public awareness of the need to consider climate change in coastal management and gained international recognition when it received a joint award of a Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. The raised awareness of climate change surrounding the work of the IPCC was in large part responsible for the focus of the recent Australian national inquiry into coastal management in the context of potential climate change impacts on the coast, conducted by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Climate Change, Water, Environment and the Arts. In the same year the then Minister of Climate Change, Senator Penny Wong, and the Department of Climate Change released a major government report Climate Change Risks to Australia's Coast and set up a national Coasts and Climate Change Council to provide advice to the government. This paper provides a review and analysis of the extent to which climate change issues, within the context of the broader global change debate, have influenced Australian coastal management through its legislation, policies and practice. In particular, the paper focuses on the impact of recent national reports and state government legislative and policy changes and draws conclusions on future directions for Australian coastal management.