At a glance
Qualities that make Australia’s coast remarkable—its vastness and diversity—also make it challenging to manage. The coast is important to a wide range of stakeholders, and is often subject to competing interests that require effective management. All tiers of government (local, state, national) have roles in decisions related to coastal management, but insufficient coordination between these tiers has long been a concern. Many aspects of coastal management in Australia are conducted at the scale of local council, yet there are ongoing calls for better integration with higher levels of government.
The challenge for coastal managers is to balance multiple competing uses of the coast, while minimising the environmental, economic and social impacts of those uses. Increasingly, coastal managers must also integrate climate adaptation and mitigation into their management plans. Cumulative impact management would assist in achieving this goal, by acknowledging the combined and synergistic impacts of multiple activities. Other promising avenues in coastal management are ecosystem-based management, risk-based methods for prioritising management, emerging analytics (e.g. remote sensing, molecular biomonitoring), and frameworks for conservation at multiple levels of biodiversity.