Coastal management in Australia uses a range of approaches by multiple levels of government. The majority of management is done by local councils and state governments. National protection for coastal biodiversity comes from the EPBC Act, where coastal environments receive national protection if they are classified as Ramsar wetlands (under the Convention on Wetlands of International Importance), or if they contain nationally threatened species, ecological communities or migratory species. The Great Barrier Reef is also a site of World Heritage and national significance under the EPBC Act.
Recent advances in coastal management include the creation of the Marine Estate Management Authority in New South Wales, introduction of improved mechanisms for assessing and managing the impacts of dredging activities in Western Australia, and development of CoastAdapt—a climate change planning tool for local government—by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility.
The 2015 National Marine Science Plan outlined the views of the scientific community about the future of marine and coastal research needs in Australia, and identified the creation of sustainable urban coastal development as a key challenge in supporting Australia’s blue economy.
To help to address the threat of microplastic pollution, in 2015, the Australian, state and territory governments announced a voluntary removal of microbeads from personal care, cosmetic and cleaning products sold in Australia by July 2018.