The recently released Assessments of Coastal Erosion Hotspots in WA identifies ‘hotspots’ where coastal erosion is expected to impact on public and private land and assets that will require management and adaptation within the next 25 years. The report also notes that climate change is a contributing factor in perception of coastal erosion threat.
The State Government report estimates it will cost $110 million to tackle erosion over the next five years, and has called for the Commonwealth Government to contribute funding as part of a coordinated federal, state and local government approach.
Local government and communities are at the forefront of coastal hazard risks such as erosion and flooding and have been largely left alone to take a leadership role to prepare and respond to these risks that are being exacerbated by climate change.
The Peron Naturaliste Partnership (PNP) is a collective of nine Local Governments covering over 200km of coastal and major estuarine foreshores in the South West Australia from Rockingham to Busselton. The partnership has a shared focus on taking action towards empowering more resilient coastal communities to deal with the impacts of coastal climate change.
Since forming in 2011, the PNP has developed various research projects, planning tools, community focused programs and a regional coastal monitoring program to identify hotspots and work together to reduce risks posed to our coastal areas and communities in the south-west of Western Australia due to climate change.
The hotspot report indicates that 14 of the listed 55 ‘hotspots’ in WA are in the PNP region. These include; Waikiki Beach, Mandurah northern beaches, Binningup, Koombana Beach and a number of beaches in Busselton. The report highlights that protection is the main strategy that is currently being used by coastal managers and that this is likely to continue for the next 5 years. But over the 5–25 year timeframe, retreat could be an effective approach to deal with erosion. However, this change is likely to require a shift in how we fund these actions and who pays. Community engagement and involvement is also fundamental as community attitudes about the coast including what we value and how me plan and manage for climate change needs to be better understood and appreciated.
The PNP welcomes the release of the Coastal Erosion Hotspots report and commends the Premiers announcement that coastal management is a shared responsibility and will be raising this at the Council of Australian Government (COAG) meeting held in August.
PNP recently elected Chairperson Cr Mark Jones from the City of Rockingham states“It is important to acknowledge that we are seeing impacts from climate change on our coast and the impacts are projected to increase over time. There are no local or state boundaries when it comes to sea level rise and extreme weather events.”
“Whilst we acknowledge that the Coastal Erosion Hotspots report is a good start, we are calling on the State and Federal Governments to do more,” he said.
“WA is falling behind other States and needs comprehensive and effective climate change and coastal legislation and polices that provides the framework and necessary resources to deal with this matter effectively.”
Cr Jones said“regional collaborations such as the PNP are ideally placed to support the vertical integration of government needed to tackling these matters.”