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The states

At the state level, new coastal legislation was introduced in Queensland (1995) and Victoria (1995), and new statutory coastal policies were developed in Tasmania (1996), New South Wales (1997), Victoria (1997), and Queensland (2001). These policy initiatives appear to be directly linked to influential coastal lead agencies (see table 5.1) in the three states of New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania, along with strong leadership roles by the agency chairs. In the case of New South Wales and Victoria the agency chairs benefit from being independent of government, whereas in Tasmania the chair benefits from a strong integrative role within government. As shown in table 5.1, this leaves only South Australia and Western Australia without integrated statutory coastal policies. Both these states are in the process of producing such policies, although there is a danger of a lack of integration in Western Australia, where coastal responsibilities and policies are separated into the planning and environmental protection portfolios.

What is noticeable from this table is that three states, Tasmania, Western Australia, and the Northern Territory, do not have specific coastal legislation, although Tasmania does have an effective statutory coastal policy based on State-wide policy legislation although this was subject to legal challenge in 2002. Of the other states, Queensland and Victoria both have new coastal legislation and statutory coastal policies. In New South Wales, despite the older (1979) coastal legislation, the strength of the coastal policy with its own legislative powers has made it less necessary to update the legislation. On the other hand, South Australia, which was initially a leader in coastal management, now appears to lag behind with 30-year- old coastal legislation and no statutory integrated coastal policy.

This and other state based legislative reform, together with the Australian coastal reviews, have to be placed in the context of international responses to

Table 5.1 Coastal management arrangements in different states


Dedicated coastal legislation

Lead agency

Strategic document

South Australia

Coastal Protection

SA Coast Protection

Marine and Estuarine

Act 1972


Strategy, 1998 (non-statutory)

New South Wales

Coastal Protection Act 1979

NSW Coastal Council

NSW Coastal Policy, 1997 (statutory)


Coastal Protection

Coastal Protection

State Coastal

and Management Act 1995

Advisory Council

Management Plan, 2001 (statutory)


Coastal Management

Victorian Coastal

Victorian Coastal

Act 1995


Strategy, 1997, (statutory)


no specific legislation

State Coastal Advisory Committee

Tasmanian State Coastal policy, 1996, (statutory)

Western Australia

no specific legislation

Coastal Zone Council

Coastal Zone Management Policy (in prep, 2001)

Northern Territory

no specific legislation

NT Coastal and Marine Co-ordination Group

NT Coastal Management Policy, 1999

Source: after Thom and Harvey 2000

coastal management and predictions of potential sea level rise by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC 1991), in particular the Common Methodology for Coastal Vulnerability Assessment. More recently, the World Coast Conference 1993, at which Australia was represented, developed agreed coastal management objectives stressing the need for integrated coastal management (ICM) and capacity building for local coastal managers.

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