South Australian Coast


ACS South Australia has been focussing its attention on running state and regional conferences. In November 2016, the South-East town of Robe hosted the first ACS SA regional conference. Currently, ACS SA is organising the South Australian State Coastal Conference (SASCC) to be held in Adelaide in November 2017.

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Coastal Governance in SA

SA Government

South Australia has the oldest piece of dedicated coastal legislation in Australia, the Coast Protection Act 1972, but a number of attempts to review this legislation have failed and consequently its focus remains on ‘protection’ rather than sustainable coastal management. There are several other pieces of state government legislation which relate either directly to coast and marine management, or influence the way the coastal zone is governed. Multiple SA government agencies are responsible for administering this legislation.

A summary of relevant legislation, regulations, agencies, and policies relating to the management of the South Australian coast are shown below.

The Coast Protection Act provides the headpowers for the Coast Protection Board (CPB), the lead authority for coastal management in South Australia, which manages the state’s coastline and administers the Act. In setting up the CPB in 1972, the state government established a supporting agency, currently situated within the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR). The CPB, supported by the agency, maintains a specific interest in coastal development, essentially with a focus on protecting planned or existing developments from coastal hazards. It has its own suite of coastal policies and certain powers of direction over development applications referred to it pursuant to the Development Act 1993. In 1994, CPB policies were translated into the state’s development control documents - Development Plans.

Natural Resource Management

South Australia has eight NRM regions, seven of which have coastlines. While NRM regions in South Australia are responsible for coastal management initiatives in a natural resource management context, not all NRM Boards elect to have dedicated coastal programs or project officers.

Of South Australia’s 68 local government areas, 34 councils have coastlines. Local governments have ongoing relationships with the state’s NRM bodies and the CPB. Some councils are actively progressing climate change and sea-level rise adaptation approaches individually, as regions, or in partnership with the state.

The LGA SA has been relatively active in terms of providing support to coastal councils for climate change adaptation. 

Climate Change Adaptation

In SA, adaptation to climate change at the coast is tackled by the Climate Change Branch located within the Department of Environment, Water and Natural Resources.

In line with South Australia’s adaptation framework, Prospering in Changing Climate: A Climate Change Adaptation Framework for South Australia, the SA Government worked with Councils, Natural Resources Management Boards, Local Government Associations and Regional Development Australia to develop Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plans to support the development of locally relevant adaptation responses.

South Australia’s regional approach was awarded the 2013 National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility’s Adaptation Champions Award and the 2013 Resilient Australia National Award.


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