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Byron Shire
May 18, 2021

Cr calls for federal action on coastal hazards

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Michael McDonald

Byron Shire councillor Jan Hackett intends to call on councillors to throw the ball on coastal hazards into the federal government’s court at the council meeting this Thursday. Cr Hackett’s notice of motion (NoM) seeks for Council to write to local MPs ‘calling for a coordinated national approach to managing coastal hazards. Currently, the task of dealing with coastal hazards along Australia’s vast coastline is left predominately to local councils.

Enormous task

‘This enormous task is beyond the capacity of councils, states and territories. The scale of the challenge requires a national approach, national leadership and national funding.’

The councillor also wants to invite a number of expert presenters ‘to address councillors and relevant Council staff on coastal hazards specific to our Shire, in order to ensure we are well informed and have a broader range of options available to us when making decisions regarding protection of and development on our coastal zone and wetlands’.

The presenters Cr Hackett prefers have addressed the NSW Coastal Conference at Coffs Harbour in November 2016 and the Australian Coastal Councils Conference at Redcliffe in May 2017.

In her comments on the councillor’s NoM, Council’s manager environmental and economic planning, sustainable environment and economy Sharyn French noted the representatives at the Redcliffe conference issued a communiqué calling on the federal government ‘to play a lead role in developing a coordinated national approach to dealing with coastal hazards including more frequent and severe extreme weather events, widespread coastal erosion, and the growing pressures of climate change’.

Coastal reforms

Ms French also suggested Council could delegate councillors and staff members to attend the annual NSW Coastal Conference at Port Stephens, November 8–10. ‘The conference has grown to become one of the most successful coastal industry events held in Australia and will bring together more than 250 delegates from a diverse range of fields…’ Ms French noted.

‘The event theme this year will focus on coastal management under the new legislative system (coastal reforms), including implementing on-ground works, moving forward from major events, learning from past lessons and facing the future.’

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