Groups welcome City coast strategy

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Sarah IsonBusselton Dunsborough Times

Coastal care groups have welcomed the City of Busselton’s moves to protect the coast from rising sea levels, but say more State Government legislation is needed.

Maps by Coastal Risk Australia revealed earlier this year Busselton was likely to be among the places hardest hit by rising sea levels.

The council is reviewing its five-year coastal management program and has started developing a long-term Coastal Adaptation Strategy, which will build on previous coastal hazard assessments. Planning and development services director Paul Needham said there would be significant community consultation as part of the strategy.

The Peron-Naturaliste Partnership is one point of consultation and coastal adaptation co-ordinator Craig Perry said he hoped the group could provide a “regional perspective on what the City is doing”.

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However, he believed several initiatives needed to be adopted on a State level to build more “resilient” coastlines.

“The WA Government should adopt appropriate coastal management legislation, policy and regulatory frameworks in Western Australia similar to that in New South Wales, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland,” he said.

“This would include the establishment of a WA Coastal Council, needed to provide consistent advice and assistance to State and local government in relation to coastal policy and practice.”

A Department of Planning, Land and Heritage spokeswoman told the Times several policies were in place, including a WA Coastal Zone Strategy released in August. “As part of the strategy, the Coastal Management Advisory Group, an inter-agency working group led by the Department of Planning, Lands and Heritage, has been established to reflect the Government’s multiple coastal interests and provide advice on coastal management,” she said.

But Mr Perry said the strategy should be broadened to include funding for climate change research and “clarification and promotion to legislate local government responsibilities and liabilities”.

Mr Needham said while the council did not have a formal position on increased State legislation, it would in his opinion become a necessity.

“I think that a stronger governance framework at a State level will probably be required in futu5re to ensure these issues are adequately addressed,” he said.

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