The winners of the 2016 Australian Coastal Awards were announced last night at the Australian Coastal Councils Conference, held at the City of Rockingham, on the West Australian coast, south of Perth.

Sharon Cadwallader, Deputy 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,” she said.

Sharon Cadwallader said the standard of nominations for the 2016 Australian Coastal Awards was particularly high. “Many of the people who took part in the projects that received awards are not well known public figures,” she said. “They are community volunteers, council officers, researchers and others who are working on these projects behind the scenes, out of public sight. But the work they are doing is vital.”

 Winners of the awards were:

  • Peron Naturaliste Partnership (Western Australia) for the Peron Naturaliste Partnership Coastal Monitoring Program, which won the Australian Coastal Award for Climate Adaptation;
  • Tweed Shire Council (NSW) for the Kingscliff Matters Shopfront project, which won the Australian Coastal Award for Community Engagement;
  • Eurobodalla Shire Council (NSW) for the Reconciliation in the Grasslands project, which won the Australian Coastal Award for Planning and Management; and
  • City of Rockingham (Western Australia) for the Rockingham Beach Foreshore Master Plan, which won the Australian Coastal Award for Annual Achievement.

“Australia has one of the longest coastlines in the world – more than 36,000kms – but it faces many challenges,” Sharon Cadwallader 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 – 2016 Australian Coastal Awards

Award for Climate Adaptation

City of Mandurah (WA)Peron Naturaliste Partnership Coastal Monitoring Program

This award is for the first phase of implementation of a regional Coastal Monitoring Program covering approximately 210km of coastline. The Coastal Monitoring Program is being used to tailor specific approaches required by each of the nine participating councils to respond to local coastal erosion and inundation hazards. In the view of the judges the implementation of the project represents an outstanding example of collaboration between coastal councils and provides an excellent example of how coastal adaptation could be addressed in other coastal regions.

Award for Community Engagement

Tweed Shire Council (NSW)Kingscliff Matters Shopfront project

The Tweed Shire Council created a pop-up shopfront which was opened every business day for a period of nine weeks at the coastal township of Kingscliff. The aim of the shopfront was to engage with the community in relation to a proposed $21 million foreshore development in the local area. The nomination explained how the presence of the shopfront helped to foster community awareness, acceptance and support for the proposed development and in the view of the judging panel it represented a significant investment by the Tweed Shire Council.

Award for Planning and Management

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

The judges commented that this project adopted a unique approach to fire management at the Themeda Grass Headland, using traditional indigenous knowledge. The judges also noted that it has helped to influence NSW coastal policy reform in relation to legislation covering environment protection. The nominated project has been an inspiration for several other NSW councils who are working with local indigenous communities to apply the methodology. In the view of the judges the knowledge gained from the project will have relevance in the management of many other coastal grasslands.

Award for Annual Achievement

City of Rockingham (WA)Rockingham Beach Foreshore Master Plan

The judges commented that this project represented an excellent example of preparing a Master Plan in association with very extensive rounds of community consultation. The nomination provided extensive detail on the community engagement process and the tools used in the process. In the view of the judging panel the project represented a large undertaking, covering three planning stages and 4.5kms of urban coastline and had addressed significant environmental and social outcomes. The objective of the Plan was to enhance the public spaces in the area as a means of stimulating private investment and economic activity in the adjacent private domain. In the view of the judges the project has accomplished much in terms of both planning and community engagement and represents a significant achievement.