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Australian Coastal Councils Association

Call for Nominations to ACCA Committee of Management

Nominations are now open for the election of representatives of each State to the Association’s Committee of Management for the period 2023-25.

The Committee consists of two representatives of member councils in each State and is elected at each alternate Association Annual General Meeting for a period of two years.

The election of representatives to the Committee of Management for 2023 to 2025 will be held at the conclusion of the 2023 Association Annual General Meeting, at 12 noon Eastern Daylight Time, Monday 27 November. (The AGM is to be held via Zoom)

Please note that nominations must be lodged by email at the Association's office (as indicated on the nomination form) by close of business on Friday 10 November 2023.

Nominations will only be accepted from representatives of Association member councils that are financial members of the Association for 2022-23. In the event that more than one nomination is received a ballot of members will be held. (Please note that under the Rules of the organisation only one nomination will be accepted from any member council)

The nomination form is available here

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Albanese Government Commits to $200m Annual Disaster Mitigation Funding

The Albanese Government has committed to investing up to $200m per year on disaster prevention and resilience.

The Disaster Ready Fund is aimed at reducing the impacts of natural disasters by investing in projects such as flood levees, sea walls, cyclone shelters, evacuation centres, fire breaks and improvements in telecommunications.

The Labor policy states that “if matched by State, Territory or local governments, the fund would provide up to $400m annually for investment in disaster prevention and resilience.”

This was the position advocated prior to the 2022 Federal election by organisations including the Productivity Commission, the Insurance Council of Australia , the Australian Local Government Association and the Australian Coastal Councils Association.

The Insurance Council of Australia estimated that investment of $400m a year in pre-disaster mitigation would reduce the cost of disaster recovery to Australian Governments and households by more than $19 billion by 2050, providing a substantial return on investment.

Labor’s Plan for Disaster Readiness states it will continue to fully fund disaster recovery through existing Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements, it will cut bureaucratic red tape to deliver disaster funding more quickly, and it will address spiralling insurance premiums in disaster-prone regions.

The policy states: “Thousands of Australians who face bushfires, floods and cyclones every year deserve to be protected by a Federal Government that plans ahead and invests to keep them safe.”

“These investments will literally save lives, not to mention the taxpayers’ funds that have to be spent on recovery and repairs when disasters hit,” the policy states.

Sharon Cadwallader, Chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association and Mayor of Ballina Shire Council, said the commitment by the Albanese Government is a potential gamechanger for councils attempting to cope with more frequent and severe extreme weather events and coastal hazards.

“For years our Association has advocated for a coordinated national approach like this to managing coastal impacts,” she said. “I know from my own experience, following the recent floods in northern NSW, that the proposed disaster readiness program will make a big difference to communities at risk from climate impacts.”

More information at –

Australian Coastal Councils Association

New research project aims to guide development of coastal erosion early warning system

A combined NSW and WA research team has commenced a research project which aims to guide future development of a coastal erosion early warning system.

Dr Mitchell Harley, a senior researcher from the University of NSW involved in the project, said the initial stage of the study involves collecting data on storm impacts. As part of this process the research team monitored the impact of the severe coastal storm which hit Sydney’s northern beaches in mid-February to evaluate how a coastal erosion early warning system would have performed had it had been operational.

Six members of the research team monitored the impact of the storm from the Collaroy Services Beach Club, as waves swept away 25 metres of beach front, leaving sharply defined vertical formations called scarps.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the February storm brought abnormally high tides and strong winds and Sydney’s heaviest rainfall in 20 years.

The storm generated waves up to 6.2 metres in height but was not as severe as the east coast low which caused extensive damage at Collaroy and Narrabeen beaches in June 2016. Drone footage showed waves sweeping up to the foot of houses along the beach where the 2016 destroyed a private swimming pool and caused serious erosion.

The university has operated a permanent monitoring site overlooking the Collaroy Narrabeen beach strip since 2004.

Prof Ian Turner, Director of the Water Research Laboratory at the University of NSW, who leads the research initiative, said the project is aimed at guiding the future development of a system with the capacity to notify coastal communities of a threat of significant erosion as much as a week in advance. 

He told the Sydney Morning Herald that collection of data is key to the success of the three-year project and the February storms had provided a wealth of information.

A wave buoy used by the research team to transmit data to a satellite was dragged several hundred metres offshore during the storm, despite having a 100kg anchor, and briefly stopped transmitting data, which it is programmed to do every 15 minutes.

The research project is being conducted by the University of NSW in partnership with the Bureau of Meteorology, the University of WA, the state governments of NSW and Western Australia, and the United States Geological Survey.

Ian Turner will be making a presentation on the project at the National Forum on Coastal Hazards, at Fremantle Western Australia, on Wednesday 20 May. This will be followed by a presentation by Mitchell Harley on new techniques to collect data on how coastlines are changing.

Later that day Prof Turner and Dr Harley will facilitate a 90-minute workshop to provide an opportunity for forum delegates to make input into the research project.

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Infrastructure Australia lists coastal inundation as high priority national initiative

The latest Infrastructure Priority List, released by Infrastructure Australia on 26 February, includes coastal inundation as one of five new high priority national initiatives.

The other new high priority initiatives are national water strategy, town and country water security, waste and recycling management and a national road maintenance strategy.

Romilly Madew, the Chief Executive of Infrastructure Australia, said the new Infrastructure Priority List reflects the diversity and urgency of Australia’s future infrastructure needs. She said rising sea levels over the 21st Century will put many of Australia’s coastal cities and economic centres at risk of inundation.

The section of the priority list dealing with coastal inundation states: “The initiative is for a proactive infrastructure strategy in advance of the inundation risks materialising. Involving engagement with all levels of government, the strategy will need to consider which areas should be protected for continued use, modified to accommodate floods, or withdrawn from altogether.

“Depending on these decisions, infrastructure options could include seawalls, buffer zones and other physical assets to protect populations, or infrastructure to facilitate early flood warnings and evacuations.”

Ms Madew said it is the role of Infrastructue Australia, as an independent advisory body, to “bring these problems and opportunities into the national spotlight to spark investment and coordinated action from industry and government.”

Cr Sharon Cadwallader, Chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association, welcomed the inclusion of coastal inundation on the new high priority infrastructure list, and said funding support was desperately needed to build the resilience of coastal communities.

“Infrastructure Australia provides advice on Australia’s infrastructure priorities and evaluates the business case for major projects,” she said. “But it does not make project funding decisions, so the question of where the funds to address coastal issues are going to come from remains open.“

More at

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Association representatives discuss coastal hazards with Environment Minister

Representatives of the Australian Coastal Councils Association have met with Sussan Ley MP, Minister for the Environment, to discuss the increasing impact of damage to the coastal environment caused by erosion and inundation.

The meeting, held in Melbourne on 17 July, was attended by Chair Barry Sammels, Treasurer Jill Parker and Alan Stokes of the Association’s secretariat. They indicated that the coast was experiencing widespread and unprecedented erosion at numerous locations around Australia.

Barry Sammels said recent coastal damage at Fremantle, Rockingham and Geraldton in Western Australia, was typical of the damage being experienced by coastal councils in every state. “We told the Minister that dealing with this damage represents a major challenge to councils, which do not have access to the resources needed to respond effectively,” he said.

During the meeting the Association representatives stressed the need for a coordinated national approach to coastal management, which had come through clearly in a survey of coastal issues conducted by the Association. “The other proposal that emerged from the survey was the idea of allocating a portion of Financial Assistance Grants for much-needed coastal works,” Barry Sammels said.

Minister Ley offered to assist the Association to set up a meeting with the Minister for Regional Services, Decentralisation and Local Government, Mark Coulton MP to discuss the idea of using FAGs funding to tackle erosion.

During the discussion the Minister advised that the climate adaptation website CoastAdapt, which was developed by the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF), would be kept ‘live’ until June 2021.

In March 2020, NCCARF will hand over management of the website to the Griffith Climate Change Response Program, at Griffith University. NCCARF is in the process of creating a static legacy website that will carry all reports, videos and other materials it has produced since being established in 2008.

Australian Coastal Councils Association

50% of NSW coastal residents do not think rising sea levels will affect them

Half of the residents living in NSW coastal communities think rising sea levels will not affect them directly, new data released by scientists at the University of NSW has shown.

The report describes what the NSW community understands about coastal erosion and inundation, as well as the driving forces behind these hazards such as sea level rise and severe coastal storms. It was released on the anniversary of the 2016 east coast low ‘superstorm’ which caused widespread damage along Australia’s east coast.

“Our coastline is changing,” said Professor Rob Brander from the UNSW School of Biological, Earth and Environmental Sciences. “Many locations along the NSW coast are seeing amenity loss and infrastructure damage associated with flooding of normally dry land by sea water, often caused by storms surges or king tides.

“These storm events will continue in the future,” he said. “Combined with projected sea level rise, they will increase the extent of coastal erosion damage and lead to greater inundation of coastal zones throughout NSW, particularly in low-lying estuarine areas,” he says.

The researchers say people’s understanding and perception of storms and sea level rise, and their associated impacts of erosion and inundation, can significantly influence how and whether they engage in coastal adaptation actions – often influencing the success or failure of those actions.

“That’s why we wanted to find out what coastal communities understand and perceive about coastal hazards and how these hazards will affect their use of the coast in the future,” says study author Anna Attard from UNSW Science. “We think that’s an important aspect of building community resiliency and preparedness to coastal erosion and inundation.”

The My Coast NSW Study surveyed more than 1000 people from NSW coastal areas across three main groups – Coastal Management Professionals, General Coastal Users and people operating Coastal Accommodation Businesses. The report is intended to help local councils and coastal management professionals develop effective educational strategies and programs.

“Our ultimate goal is to help improve the ability of NSW coastal communities to adapt sustainably to the risk of coastal erosion and inundation,” Ms Attard says.

Lack of community knowledge about the direct impact of sea level rise is one of the key aspects of the report findings, which the authors say is concerning, given that sea level rise is a key factor driving coastal erosion and inundation.

The report identified a clear disconnect between what coastal management professionals think the public should know about coastal hazards, and what the public wants to know more about. “General coastal users told us that would like to know more about how climate change will impact their immediate coast, what the possible solutions are and who the ‘key players’ of coastal management are,” says Ms Attard.

“But coastal professionals said coastal communities need more information about direct personal and public risks associated with coastal hazards, general information about coastal hazards and processes, and their impacts on the greater NSW community – that’s very different from what the general users said their information needs are. Community engagement needs to be a two-way process to address that disconnect.”

The full report is available at –

Australian Coastal Councils Association

10 European cities urge action to regulate Airbnb

Ten tourist cities in Europe have signed a joint statement demanding that the European Union do more to help them regulate Airbnb and other short-term holiday rental websites, which they claim are damaging housing markets and changing the character of local communities.

The statement was signed by representatives of Amsterdam, Barcelona, ​​Berlin, Bordeaux, Brussels, Krakow, Munich, Paris, Valencia and Vienna, who said the rapid expansion of global short-stay lettings platforms must be on the agenda of the next set of European commissioners.

The joint statement read in part: “Where homes can be used more lucratively for renting out to tourists, they disappear from the traditional housing market, prices are driven up even further and housing of citizens who live and work in our cities is hampered. European cities believe that homes should be used first and foremost for living in.”

The joint statement was prompted by a non-binding opinion issued by the Advocate General of the European Court of Justice in April. The opinion said Airbnb should be classified as a technology platform, rather than an accommodation provider. This could mean that Airbnb would not have to abide by the same laws that govern bed and breakfast premises, hotels and other vacation rentals. The opinion has yet to be confirmed by the court.

If approved by the court, that status proposed in the opinion would allow Airbnb and similar platforms to operate freely across the EU and would relieve them of any responsibility to ensure that landlords comply with local rules which are aimed at regulating holiday lets.

A spokesperson for Airbnb said the platform aims to be a good partner to cities. “The opinion of the Advocate General provides a clear overview of what rules apply to collaborative platforms like Airbnb and how these rules help create opportunities to consumers,” the spokesperson told CNET.

The ten European cities who signed the statement said local authorities must be able to counter the adverse effects of the boom in short-term holiday lets, such as rising rents for full-time residents and the increasing impact of tourism on local neighbourhoods, by introducing their own regulations depending on the local situation.

Many cities claim that apart from soaring long-term rents, the growth in short-term holiday rental listings is also affecting property speculation and poor social housing. Last year Palma de Mallorca voted to ban almost all listings after a 50% increase in short-term holiday rentals was followed by a 40% increase in residential rents.

Several cities are taking drastic action. In Paris, land lords face a fine if they fail to register with the council before letting any property for short-term use. Amsterdam has tried to cut its annual limit for holiday lets to one month in 12, while Barcelona has suspended all new short-term rental permits But city authorities fear the European Union’s attempts to promote e-commerce and the “sharing economy” are impeding efforts by the cities to ensure that neighbourhoods remain both affordable and liveable for residents.

Airbnb has more than 6 million listings worldwide and is represented in almost 100,000 cities. That is more listings than the top five hotel chains combined.

The joint statement by the 10 EU cities is available at –

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Conference Presentations Now Available

Presentations at the 2019 Australia’s Coastal Councils Conference, which was held at Kiama, NSW, from Wednesday 6 – Friday 8 March, are now available. The preliminary conference report will be available by Friday 15 March.


Wednesday 6 March

Kiama: Building on Its Local Character

Diana Griffiths, founding director of Studio GL

Climate Change Adaptation Strategies: A National Overview

Astrid Stuer, Water Technology Pty Ltd.

QCoast2100Delivering Queensland-Wide Adaptation Planning for Coastal Hazards

Subathra Ramachandram, Program Manager LGAQ, and Sel Sultmann, Principal Coastal Scientist, QLD Department of Environment and Science

Sunshine Coast: Building A Bright Future

Warren Bunker, Group Executive, Liveability and Natural Assets Group, Sunshine Coast Council

Ocean Safety and Beach Management

Warren Young, Chief Lifeguard Gold Coast City Council, Bruce Hopkins, Head Lifeguard Waverley Council

Online Short-Term Holiday Rental Platforms – Update

Professor Nicole Gurran, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy at The University of Sydney

Ocean Safety and Beach Management – Workshop

Session facilitated by members of the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association

Where Has My Beach Gone and What Can I Do About It?

Dr Andrew McCowan, Managing Director, Water Technology Pty Ltd.

Living Shoreline Response to Building Coastal Resilience.

Ralph Roob, Senior Environmental Engineer, City of Greater Geelong.

Coastal Management in Australia and Climate Change: A Comparison Between Jurisdictions and Assessment of Approaches Against a Gold Standard.

Dr David Rissik, Senior Principal, Climate Adaptation, BMT

Understanding Microplastic Loads Through a Robust Citizen Science Approach

Scott Wilson, Senior Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science, Macquarie University.


Thursday 7 March

The Tsunami Threat to Australia: Sydney Harbour and National Perspectives

Kaya M. Wilson and Dr Hannah E. Power, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, The University of Newcastle.

Kiama Tourism Strategy

Karen Ronning, Manager Tourism and Events, Kiama Municipal Council

Managing Peak Tourism Demand at Hyams Beach

Coralie Bell, Tourism Manager, Shoalhaven City Council and Chair, Australian Regional Tourism.

Moyne Shire and Tourism: Taking Care of Business

Oliver J Moles, Director Sustainable Development, Moyne Shire Council

Australian Coastal Cities – Climate Risks and Responses

Professor Lesley Hughes, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research Integrity and Development, Macquarie University

The Smart Beaches Project

Brad Sutton, Acting Manager Environmental Systems, Lake Macquarie City Council, and Claire Chaikin-Bryan, Project Manager Strategy, Performance & Improvement, Northern Beaches Council

An Inconvenient Truce: How to Make Retreat Work as a Coastal Adaptation Pathway

Allan Young, National Technical Leader, Urban and Regional Planning, EMM Consulting Pty Ltd.

The Smart Beaches Project – Workshop

Facilitated by Brad Sutton, Lake Macquarie City Council, and Claire Chaikin-Bryan, Northern Beaches Council.

Marine Pests and The Australian Government: Educational and Information Resources Available to Local Councils.

Brett Herbert, Scientist, Australian Department of Agriculture and Water Resources.

How Do We Effectively Mitigate the Risk of Shark Bite to all Beach Users?

Craig Blount, of Cardno (NSW/ACT) Pty Ltd.

Flying Fish Point Rock Revetments: Application of ‘Green Engineering’, Fish-friendly Features and Other Innovative Measurers.

Justin Fischer, Manager Asset Engineering, Cassowary Coast Regional Council

Coastal Hazard Adaptation on Moreton Island.

Glen Dare, Environmental Engineer, City Planning and Sustainability Division, Brisbane City Council.


Friday 8 March

Impact of Sea-Level Rise Around the Australian Coast: A Sediment Compartment Approach

Professor Colin Woodroffe, School of Earth, Atmospheric and Life Sciences, University of Wollongong

Building Coastal Councils Capability to Respond to Climate Change

Dorean Erhart, Program Manager LGAQ  and Catherine Dunbar, Manager Adaptation – Climate Change and Sustainable Futures, QLD Department of Environment and Science.

Coastal Issues Survey Report

Alan Stokes, Executive Director, Australian Coastal Councils Association

2019 Conference Communiqué




Australian Coastal Councils Association

Winners of 2019 Australian Coastal Awards Announced

Barry Sammels, Chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association, said the Awards were established to acknowledge the achievement of individuals and organisations that have made a significant contribution to the Australian coastal environment, settlements and sustainability.

“The Awards are intended to raise community awareness of the importance of the coastal zone and to encourage coastal planning and management practitioners to strive for excellence,” he said.

Barry Sammels said the standard of nominations for the 2019 Australian Coastal Awards was very high. Winners of the awards were:

  • The 2019 Australian Coastal Award for Annual Achievement was awarded to the City of Bunbury (WA) in association with the technical resources of Cardno WA Pty Ltd;
  • The 2019 Australian Coastal Award for Climate Adaptation was awarded to the Local Government Association of Queensland and the Queensland Department of Environment and Science;
  • The 2019 Australian Coastal Award for Community Engagement was awarded to the Sunshine Coast Council (QLD);
  • The 2019 Australian Coastal Award for Innovation was awarded to the City of Greater Geelong (VIC); and
  • The 2019 Australian Coastal Award for Planning and Management was jointly awarded to the Shire of Broome (WA) in association with Baird Australia and Nyambu Buru Yawuru, and the Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (NSW).

“Australia has one of the longest coastlines in the world – more than 36,000kms – but it faces many challenges,” he said. “These include the impact of more frequent extreme weather events, widespread coastal erosion, the risks associated with a changing climate and loss of coastal environment due to rapid urbanisation.

“Fortunately, as a nation we have a large number of dedicated individuals and organisations who are committed to safeguarding the coast for future generations. The Australian Coastal Awards are intended to acknowledge their work and to inspire others.”

Full list of presentations here

Australian Coastal Councils Association

World-first smart beaches platform wins $910,000 Federal Grant

The Australian Government has awarded Lake Macquarie City Council a $910,000 grant under the smart cities and suburbs program to develop a world-first smart beaches platform to make beaches safer, reduce the risk of coastal drownings and improve public amenities.

The new system will be implemented in conjunction with Northern Beaches Council and the University of Technology Sydney. Other partners in the project include Orion Integration, Nokia, Urban Institute, the Australian Coastal Councils Association and the Australian Professional Ocean Lifeguard Association.

Central to the project concept is the collection and real-time transmission of information about beach conditions, public amenities and services. The information will be made available to the community via smartphone apps and interactive digital displays at pilot beaches in the Lake Macquarie and Northern Beaches local government areas.

Sensors installed along the beach will monitor wave and swell movement, while others will monitor beach activity to gauge when beaches are busiest.

Cr Kay Fraser, Mayor of Lake Macquarie, said the ultimate aim is to reduce coastal drownings and increase safety awareness among beachgoers. “This technology will provide our lifeguards and the general public with valuable, real-time information and reporting, helping to create safer beaches for everyone,” Cr Fraser said.

“It is world-first technology which will be developed and trialled over the next 12 months, with the aim of rolling it out at the end of the 18-month project, including an app with up-to-the-minute localised beach information, including weather and surf conditions and how busy the beach is.

“Our local government area includes 32km of spectacular coast and four patrolled beaches, which collectively attract more than 1.4 million people a year, so we know such an app will be a popular tool for many of our beach goers.“

Northern Beaches Mayor, Michael Regan, said advances in technology meant there are now opportunities to provide more detailed, timely and readily available information about local beach conditions. “We are always looking for innovative ways to provide information to our community and to keep them safe,” he said. “These new tools tick both boxes.”

Andrew Tovey, senior research consultant from the UTS Knowledge Economy Institute, said the project represented an exciting opportunity for all the parties involved. “The project will explore a range of emerging smart technologies and world-leading research in a real-life and quintessentially Australian context,” he said.

The role of the Association will be to share knowledge and awareness of the smart beaches project with member councils and to gain the support and collaboration of coastal councils that wish to make input into the development and implementation of the project.

The Association is also scheduling a presentation and workshop on the project at the 2019 Australian Coastal Councils Conference, to be held at Kiama from 6 to 8 March.

More information is available at –

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