Western Australia has the longest coastline of all Australian states, reaching almost 13,000 km length. It is home to the longest fringing reef in the world – the pristine Ningaloo Reef – and to the oldest life forms on earth, the stromatolites of Shark Bay, an official UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our coast encompasses a variety of beach environments, ranging from temperate sandy coastlines in the south to tropical reef environments in the north. The population is concentrated in the Perth metro area and the majority of the coastline of regional areas is pristine.
West Australians have a strong connection with the coast and the engagement of stakeholders and the wider community is critical to maintaining our coastal values. There are many local individuals, coastal community groups, conservation groups, academic institutions, and schools undertaking hands on management and education around protecting and enhancing our magnificent coast.
Through information sharing, advocacy and knowledge development, ACS WA seeks to continue to support the great work of WA organisations involved in coastal management, and the coastal community more broadly, to ensure healthy coastal ecosystems, vibrant coastal communities and sustainable use of coastal resources is maintained.
While there is no specific coastal legislation in Western Australia (a Coastal Act), there is a dedicated coastal and marine program that continues the work initiated by Coastwest in 1998 (through the Coastal Management Plan Assistance Program CMPAP). The State Coastal Zone Strategy, a whole of government framework for collective action, together with the Coastal Planning Policy (SPP 2.6) and Coastal Hazard and Risk Management and Adaptation Planning (CHRMAP) Guidelines, provide the framework for coastal management in WA. In addition, the recently released Coastal Erosion Hotspots report identifies 21 priority areas where erosion is likely to impact public and private assets. For example, hotspot locations include: Port Beach, South Thomson Bay (Rottnest Island), Ledge Point and Seabird, among others.
Local governments, steered by policy and legislation at state government level, are at the forefront of managing social, economic and environmental impacts in coastal areas. Collaborative partnerships across local governments in WA to manage coastal climate risks and develop adaptation plans has enabled participating councils to pool resources and deliver greater outcomes than would have otherwise been possible (see for example the Peron Naturalist Partnership https://www.peronnaturaliste.org.au/ ; and the Cockburn Sound Coastal Alliance http://cockburnsoundcoastalalliance.info/ ). This has delivered great benefits, but there remain calls for a state level coordinating authority to support coastal management throughout WA.
An integrated approach, incorporating socio-economic, infrastructure, planning and environmental concerns, is argued critical to meeting the challenges of long-term planning and coastal zone management. At the national level, mechanisms previously in place to support integrated coastal zone management, including for example, a tri-lateral agreement between Commonwealth, State and local governments to support grassroots efforts on coastal public land, and funding programs with specific priorities for coastal areas (e.g. Coastcare and Caring for Country), are no longer in place. As a result, coordination and funding has declined, with implications for coastal management efforts.
Furthermore, there once was, but is no longer, the following mechanisms to support coastal community groups engage with the State and each other around ICZM:
Climate change, population growth and economic development are challenges coastal communities will continue to contend with; and community groups, NGOs, research institutes, and government authorities are working hard to address these issues. Some such organisations include, for example:
At the WA NRM and Coastal conference (Oct 2019), the need for state level coordination was again voiced. Two groups are seeking to meet this need by establishing coordination mechanisms in the absence of a statutory authority: (i) the NRM Stakeholders group, a group of Landcare, Coastcare and NRM stakeholders that have been meeting over the last 12 months to work together to support the community effort to protect the environment of Western Australia; (ii) and a proposed collective of coastal stakeholders seeking to work together to develop a coastal community network. ACS WA is actively participating with both groups to present an independent voice for our coast and our members.
Other priorities for ACS WA include:
Do you have other issues/concerns that you believe ACS could work towards? Please let us know what is important to you. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
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