The annual Australian Coastal Councils Conference is a highlight of the year for representatives of Australia’s coastal councils, policy makers, researchers and others with a stake in the future of the Australian coast and its communities.
And this year the 200 delegates from 47 councils are coming to Kiama, the first time it has been held on the NSW South Coast, thanks to a long campaign by Councillor Neil Reilly, who has attended the last nine conferences.
The role of the Association holding the Conference is to advocate on behalf of coastal councils.
It also commissions research on behalf of councils in coastal areas in relation to a range of coastal issues, including:
- the shortfall in resources to meet increasing demand for infrastructure and services
- coastal erosion and the projected impacts of sea level rise
- the legal risks faced by coastal councils in relation to planning for climate change
- Proposed changes to arrangements for natural disaster funding, which will shift more of the recovery costs onto the states and local government
- the impact of tourists and other visitors on coastal communities
- The continuing impacts of high population growth on coastal councils.
“Management of the nation’s 36,000 kms of coastline is left almost entirely to local councils and the Association is the only body that specifically represents their interests at a national level, so it is quite a significant event,” says Cllr Reilly.
“The conference, being held from 6 to 8 March at the Pavilion, will be a unique opportunity to showcase Kiama to an Australian and international audience.
“If you see delegates wandering around, make sure you give them a warm Kiama welcome.”
The theme for the conference is Coastal Challenges – Smarter Solutions.
One of the papers to be presented at the Conference will detail the findings of a research project commissioned by the Association and conducted by a University of Sydney research team led by Professor Nicole Gurran, Chair of Urban and Regional Planning and Policy.
Cllr Reilly says, “I understand the research identifies a definite need for clearer guidelines from state governments on how to manage these issues which are rapidly emerging around Australia.”
Other important areas of discussion will include Climate Risks and Responses; Coastal Policy Proposals for the 2019 Federal Election; Online Short-term Holiday Rental Platforms; Smart City Strategies; Smart Coastal Tourism Strategies; and Ocean Safety and Beach Management.