Australian Coastal Councils Association Inc.

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Australian Coastal Councils Association

World leaders call for acceleration of climate adaptation

A new Global Commission on Adaptation has been established by a group of world leaders to promote the acceleration of climate adaptation solutions. The commission is led by Ban Ki-Moon, the former Secretary-General of the United Nations, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Kristalina Georgeieva, CEO of the World Bank.

The commission has been launched following the release of a special report on global warming released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The special report warned that damaging climate impacts are already being felt – much sooner and more powerfully than previous projected.

Speaking at the launch of the commission, Ban Ki-moon said without urgent adaptation action there was a risk of undermining food, energy and water security for decades to come. “Continued economic growth and reductions in global poverty are possible despite these challenges, but only if societies invest much more in adaptation,” he said.

“The costs of adapting are less than the cost of doing business as usual, and the benefits many times larger.”

Bill Gates said there was a need for governments and other stakeholders to support innovation to help deliver breakthroughs to vulnerable populations.“If everyone does their part we can reduce carbon emissions, increase access to affordable energy and help farmers grow more productive crops,” he said.

The role of the commission will be to increase awareness of the importance of climate adaptation and promote smarter investments, new technologies and better planning to increase resilience to climate threats.

At the launch, the commission identified four major barriers currently slowing adaptation which it will address:

  • Decision makers and the wider public are not yet aware of all the opportunities to be gained from becoming more resilient and less vulnerable to climate impacts and natural hazards;
  • Governments and business fail to incorporate climate change risks into their social and economic development plans and investments;
  • Adaptation efforts fall short of those who need them most, the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people; and
  • Although adaptation is a global challenge, global leadership on the issue is scarce. In short, the world is falling short of the transformation required to adapt to a changing climate.

The commission also plans to convene key champions, coalitions, private sectors and civil society actors to advance initiatives including food security and rural livelihoods, global supply chains, cities, infrastructure, finance, social protection and nature-based solutions.

More information at – https://gca.org/home

Australian Coastal Councils Association

State Governments Consider Online Holiday Rental Research Report

State governments have indicated they are considering the findings and recommendations of the study into short-term holiday rental platforms commissioned by the Australian Coastal Councils Association.

The NSW Department of Finance Services and Innovation has indicated it will consider suggestions from the research report in the process of drafting a Code of Conduct for the short-term rental accommodation industry.

Meanwhile, the Queensland Government has advised that the study report has been forwarded to the Department of Innovation and Tourism Industry Development to consider as it finalises the government’s position in relation to the issue over coming months. Subsequent correspondence from the Office of the Minister for Innovation and Tourism Development in Queensland, Kate Jones MP, advised: ‘Tourism is a cornerstone of Queensland’s economy, so it’s important that an appropriate balance is struck in any Queensland response to the short-term peer-to-peer accommodation sector to create opportunities for tourism industry growth, while also safeguarding hosts, guests and the community.’

The report is also being considered by Consumer Affairs Victoria,  the West Australian Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage and the Tasmanian Department of Justice.

The study into planning responses to the impact of short-term holiday rental platforms was conducted by a research team led by Professor Nicole Gurran, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy, at The University of Sydney.

The report recommended that State governments need to help councils by setting baseline standards for short term rentals in residential areas and clarify the definition and use of short-term rental accommodation. They should support local planning and regulatory responses which reflect the specific contexts of each community and ensure that online platforms share data and help ensure local requirements are met.

The report notes that holiday homes are part of the character of coastal towns and there is no dispute that online rental platforms have created new tourism opportunities in coastal areas. However, in some communities, the rapid growth in listings has emerged as a major challenge with potentially serious consequences. “Coastal councils have found long-standing planning and management practices have not kept pace with the changes occurring in the holiday rental market,” said Barry Sammels, Chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association.

Professor Nicole Gurran said holiday home-sharing via online platforms, has a particular significance for coastal communities where tourism forms an integral part of the local economy. “Getting the right planning and regulatory framework in place to manage short-term rentals in the digital era is critical to the economic and social sustainability of these communities,” she said.

 

 

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Planning controls not keeping pace with online holiday rentals

Australia needs new planning tools to manage the rapid growth in listings on Airbnb and other online holiday rental platforms, according to a new study by researchers at The University of Sydney.

A study into planning responses to the impact of short-term holiday rental platforms was conducted by a University of Sydney research team led by Professor Nicole Gurran, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy. The research project was commissioned by the Australian Coastal Councils Association.

The report finds that since Airbnb was launched in Australia in 2011, more than 130,000 properties were listed, equating to approximately 0.2 percent of total housing stock.  In coastal communities, however, the study identified a median rate of 4 percent of all housing stock, with rates in key locations found to be even higher; in the Byron Shire Council area over 17 percent of all housing is listed on online holiday rental platforms.

This can create a real problem for those looking to find traditional, long-term rental properties. The report also found that in just over 18 months, from April 2016 to December 2017, the number of Airbnb listings doubled in NSW, Vic, Qld and WA.

Holiday homes are part of the character of coastal towns and there is no dispute that online rental platforms have created new tourism opportunities in coastal areas. However, in some communities, the rapid growth in listings has emerged as a major challenge with potentially serious consequences.

“Coastal councils have found long-standing planning and management practices have not kept pace with the changes occurring in the holiday rental market,” said Barry Sammels, Chair of the Australian Coastal Councils Association.

“Traditional holiday accommodation providers are required to meet minimum fire and safety standards. As matters stand, these requirements do not apply to properties listed in Airbnb and similar platforms, posing a potential risk to guests.”

Professor Nicole Gurran said holiday home-sharing via online platforms, has a particular significance for coastal communities where tourism forms an integral part of the local economy.

“Getting the right planning and regulatory framework in place to manage short-term rentals in the digital era is critical to the economic and social sustainability of these communities,” she said.

The University of Sydney study found that in some areas of coastal Australia online listings of holiday lets far exceed existing tourism accommodation. For example, on the Mornington Peninsula and in Byron Bay beds in Airbnb listings are more than five times those of traditional accommodation.

The report identified that State governments need to help councils by setting baseline standards for short term rentals in residential areas and clarify the definition and use of short-term rental accommodation. They should support local planning and regulatory responses which reflect the specific contexts of each community and ensure that online platforms share data and help ensure local requirements are met.

Professor Gurran said providing data on short-term holiday rental listings to councils is necessary to inform local planning and management responses and to maximise the benefits that online platforms can bring to coastal communities.

The report notes that Airbnb, which is just one holiday rental platform, advertises more than 3 million properties worldwide since it commenced operations in 2008. This is more than the total number of rooms provided by the Hilton and Marriott hotel chains combined.

Barry Sammels said the study found there are significant differences in the impact of the online holiday rental sector in different coastal communities.

“Some of the 12 councils taking part in the study reported an increase in resident complaints and other disruptions caused by visitors staying in short-term holiday rentals,” he said.

“Some permanent residents felt their community had been invaded by tourism and spoke of the stress involved in not knowing when a new party of visitors was likely to arrive next door and how they were going to behave within residential neighbourhoods.”

The research identifies a definite need for clearer guidelines from state governments on how to manage these issues which are rapidly emerging around Australia.

Click here for the final research report

Coastal councils participating in study:

  • Bass Coast Shire Council (VIC)
  • City of Busselton (WA)
  • Byron Shire Council (NSW)
  • Douglas Shire Council (QLD)
  • Eurobodalla Shire Council (NSW)
  • Kiama Municipal Council (NSW)
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council (QLD)
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (VIC)
  • Moyne Shire Council (VIC)
  • Port Macquarie-Hastings Council (NSW)
  • Shoalhaven City Council (NSW)
  • Sunshine Coast Council (QLD)

Media enquiries:

University of Sydney

Sally Quinn, 0438 038 288, sally.quinn@sydney.edu.au

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Alan Stokes, 0411 592 269, alan@coastalcouncils.org.au

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Kiama to host 2019 Australian Coastal Councils Conference

The Association’s Committee of Management has announced that the 2019 Australian Coastal Councils Conference is to be hosted by Kiama Municipal Council on the NSW south coast from 6 to 8 March next year.

Chair Barry Sammels said the members of the Committee were excited at the prospect of holding the 2019 event at Kiama. “It will be the first time we have held our conference on the NSW south coast and I know it will be a very popular destination with delegates,” he said.

The Kiama region is positioned between the Illawarra escarpment and the Pacific Ocean, and has exceptional natural features, including outstanding local beaches, rainforests, rivers and waterfalls.

It also has the advantage of being located on the national transport corridor, with Sydney Airport 90-minutes away by car and Canberra, only a 2½ hour drive away. The area provides a broad range of coastal case studies, and another benefit is that most venues and accommodation options are located centrally, within walking distance from each other.

Registration for the event will open within the coming weeks and details of the conference venues and program will be announced shortly. The Association is currently calling for abstracts for papers for the event.

The conference organisers invite suggestions on potential topics and/or presenters for the event. For more information email: info@coastalcouncils.org.au

Call for papers now open – click here

Further details including the program will be added as they become available.

 

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Communiqué calls for Australian Government to support climate adaptation plans

Delegates attending the 2018 Australian Coastal Councils Conference at Geelong, from 21 to 23 March, adopted a Communiqué calling on the Australian Government to support initiatives by councils to develop and implement coastal climate adaptation plans.

The delegates issued the Communiqué in response to climate change hazards which represent a clear and imminent threat to communities and regions throughout Australia. This issue affects all councils but has particular relevance for those in coastal areas which are responsible for the management of the nation’s 36,000 kms of coastline.

As pointed out in the Communiqué, local government is at the forefront of addressing these hazards and is well-positioned to coordinate adaptation initiatives but due to the vertical fiscal imbalance in the Australian federation, councils require additional support and resources in order to respond effectively to these risks.

Click here for Communiqué

Australian Coastal Councils Association

2018 Australian Coastal Councils Conference report now available

The report and presentations from the 2018 Australian Coastal Councils Conference, held at the Geelong Library and Heritage Centre from 21 to 23 March 2018, are now available at the following url –  https://coastalcouncilsconference.org.au/reports/

The report includes a copy of the final program for the event, together with the Conference Communiqué and links to the PowerPoint presentations.

Association Chair, Barry Sammels, said the feedback from delegates at the event had been very positive. “They particularly liked the venue, the choice of topics, and the keynote speakers,” he said. “They also commented very favourably on the field trips.”

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Winners of 2018 Australian Coastal Awards Announced

The winners of the 2018 Australian Coastal Awards were announced at the Australian Coastal Councils Conference, held at the City of Greater Geelong, Victoria, on Thursday 22 March.

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 2018 Australian Coastal Awards was particularly high.

Winners of the awards were:

  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (VIC) for the nomination of the Natural Systems Team, which won the Australian Coastal Award for Community Engagement.
  • The City of Greater Geelong (VIC) and the Borough of Queenscliffe (VIC) for the nomination of the ‘Our Coast’ program, which won the Australian Coastal Award for Climate Adaptation
  • Glenelg Shire Council for the nomination of ‘Growing Beaches‘: Sand Harvesting Techniques, which was awarded a Commendation for Planning and Management.
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (VIC) for the nomination of the Rye Township Plan, which won the Australian Coastal Award for Planning and Management.

Barry Sammels said the judges had also decided to present a Special Award for Individual Achievement to Rosemary Birney OAM, President of the South Sea Foreshore Reserve Committee, at Somers.  “They further recommended that this additional category be added to the Coastal Awards in future years,” he said.

“Australia has one of the longest coastlines in the world – more than 36,000kms – but it faces many challenges,” Barry Sammels said. “These include coastal erosion, the impact of extreme weather, and loss of coastal environment due to rapid urbanisation.

“Fortunately, Australia has a number of dedicated people and organisations who are passionate about safeguarding the coast for future generations. The Australian Coastal Awards are aimed at acknowledging their efforts.”

Winners – 2018 Australian Coastal Awards

Award for Community Engagement

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council (VIC) – Natural Systems Team

The Mornington Peninsula Shire Council’s Natural Systems Team has worked in partnership with the Friends Group Network on the peninsula for more than 20 years. The Team currently has 61 Friends Groups registered, with 21 of the groups working on the peninsula’s iconic coastal reserves. The judges noted that the Team had systematically undertaken an engagement program in working with and coordinating multiple friends groups, encouraging volunteerism, providing extensive training in education and skills sets for volunteers, developing quality induction practices, and engaging with members of the indigenous community

Award for Climate Adaptation

City of Greater Geelong and Borough of Queenscliffe – ‘Our Coast’ program

The ‘Our Coast’ program, established by a partnership between the City of Greater Geelong and the Borough of Queenscliffe, focuses on 190km of shoreline around the Bellarine Peninsula, including Point Wilson, Swan Bay and Breamlea. It involved three stages – a coastal mapping project; coastal climate change assessment; and coastal adaptation pathways. In the view of the judges the nomination had considerable merit and represents a good example of a climate adaptation program which is based on the 2014 Victorian Coastal Strategy.

Commendation for Planning and Management

Glenelg Shire Council (VIC) – ‘Growing Beaches’: Sand Harvesting Techniques

The Glenelg Shire Council developed a Master Plan to improve the beach amenity at Nun’s Beach, near Portland Harbour. The works involved were completed in 2011 and the 2018 nomination was submitted based on proof that the innovative design concepts have been shown to work in the long term. A shade structure was constructed on the beach which was designed to harvest sand on the beach and to assist with dune reinstatement. In the view of the judges the innovative design involved in the project was deserving of recognition.

Award for Planning and Management

Mornington Peninsula Shire Council – Rye Township Plan

In the view of the judges this project successfully addressed urban encroachment and the impact of peak visitor demand along a widely-used stretch of coastline on Port Phillip Bay. It removes a series of barriers that have developed over decades between the coastline and the town, which had resulted in the township of Rye losing its connection with the coast. The judges considered it was a good example of how a coastal council could recapture the appeal of a destination coastal township which had been eroded by development.

Special Award for Individual Achievement

Rosemary Birney OAM, President of South Sea Forshore Reserve Committee

Eurobodalla Shire Council (NSW) – Reconciliation in the Grasslands project.

Rosemary Birney initiated the coordination and implementation of multi-agency programs for the restoration of the Somers Foreshore, which involved collaboration between Parks Victoria, Mornington Peninsula Shire Council, the Green Army, Somers Residents Association and local Friends Groups. She successfully secured grants involving significant funding for habitat restoration programs and has been an active participant in providing a considerable number of ‘in kind’ voluntary hours on the programs.

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Registration open for 2018 Australian Coastal Councils Conference

Registration is now open for the 2018 Australian Coastal Councils Conference, to be held at Geelong, Victoria, from 21 to 23 March 2018.

The conference is a great opportunity for coastal decision-makers to share information on the latest developments in coastal planning and management from around Australia.

Plus, there will be a special pre-conference forum focusing on effective planning responses to the rapid growth in online holiday rental platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz.

Register for this popular event today and take advantage of the Early Bird discount.

Visit the conference website here

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Changing Direction of Storms Poses Additional Threat to Coastal Areas

A detailed study of a major storm and its impact on the Australian coast has identified a climate change hazard not previously recognised – as storm patterns change, coastal areas once thought to be safe are likely to be severely affected.

The study of the severe storm event which hit the east coast of Australia in June last year was conducted by a research team led by engineers at the University of NSW. The findings of the study were published in the latest issue of the journal Nature Scientific Reports.

The researchers used a combination of drones, floating sensor buoys, LiDAR sensors, fixed cameras on buildings, quad bikes and jet skis to document the ‘before’ and ‘after’ condition of a 200km stretch of coastline north of Sydney. It was the largest and most detailed pre-storm and post-storm coastline analysis ever carried out.

The study team found that over a period of three days the coastline shifted inland an average of 20m along the entire length of coast as the wave action eroded an estimated 11.5 million cubic metres of sand from the local beaches.

“The amount of erosion was astounding,” Dr Mitchell Harley, who led the study, told the Sydney Morning Herald. “It was akin to the amount of sand shifted by Hurricane Sandy which lashed the east coast of the United States in 2012.”

What the researchers found was that the June 2016 east coast low was only moderately intense, equivalent to a 1-in-5 year event however, it hit from a highly unusual direction – the East. They observed that it is the damaging power of wave energy – and the disruption of long-established storm patterns due to climate change – that present a new danger to coastal areas.

“If you have waterfront property or infrastructure that has previously been sheltered from the impacts of extreme waves, this is worrying news” said Mitchell Harley. “What this study confirms is that simply by changing direction, storms can be many times more devastating, and that’s what we’re facing in many locations as the climate continues to change.”

Professor Ian Turner, director of the Water Research Laboratory at the University of NSW, and a co-author of the study, said sea level rise was no longer the only factor at play when preparing for the impact of climate change on waterfront areas.

“Shifts in storm patterns and wave direction will also have major consequences because they distort and amplify the natural variability of coastal patterns,” he said. “And that’s what’s really worrying: the damage we saw from a moderately intense storm last year is a harbinger of what’s to come.”

“We need to be prepared,” Ian Turner commented. “Not just for the fact that what we consider as ‘king tides’ will be the norm within decades, but that the storms that strike the coast will come from unexpected directions, damaging coastal areas and infrastructure once thought safe from storm damage.”

The full study report is available here

 

Australian Coastal Councils Association

Results – Survey of Impacts of Airbnb and Similar Online Rental Platforms

As a result of concerns expressed by some coastal councils about the effects of rapid growth in listings on platforms such as Airbnb and Stayz the Association conducted a survey into the impact of short-term holiday rental services on coastal communities.

The survey was developed in association with Professor Nicole Gurran, Professor of Urban and Regional Planning at the University of Sydney. Professor Gurran is co-author of a study into the effectiveness of local planning controls in relation to properties listed on online platforms such as Airbnb.

The questionnaire was designed to survey coastal councils about experiences with Airbnb and similar services in their local area and to identify responses that have already been developed. The survey was conducted in March and April 2017 and the results formed the basis for a keynote speech and workshop session presented by Professor Nicole Gurran at the 2017 Australian Coastal Councils Conference, which was held at Redcliffe in Queensland on 4 May.

In the report summary, Professor Nicole Gurran indicates the need for further research to identify potential responses to the issues identified in the findings in terms of councils’ planning frameworks, rating regimes, licensing, and complaints mechanisms.

Professor Gurran points out that coastal councils need different tools and strategies to address different sets of concerns around the amenity, tourism, infrastructure, cost burdens, and potential housing market impacts which are affecting local areas in different ways. She says there is likely to be much benefit in sharing knowledge and practices between councils across coastal Australia and in adapting emerging international responses for the local context.

The Australian Coastal Councils Association Inc is proposing to conduct more detailed research into this matter in conjunction with Professor Gurran. It is proposed to conduct the study on a collaborative basis with councils that wish to participate.

Click here for the survey results

 

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