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Resource Assessment Commission Act - Resource Assessment Commission - Report - Coastal zone inquiry - Final report, November 1993


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RESOURCE ASSESSMENT COMMISSION

COASTAL ZONE INQUIRY

FINAL REPORT

November 1993

Australian Government Publishing Service

© Commonwealth of Australia 1993

ISBN 0 644 29495 7

This work is copyright. Apart from any use as permitted under the Copyright Act

1968, no part may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the

Australian Government Publishing Service. Requests and inquiries concerning

reproduction and rights should be directed to the Manager, Commonwealth

Information Services, Australian Government Publishing Service, GPO Box 84,

Canberra ACT 2601.

Coastal Zone Inquiry Resource Assessment Commission Locked Bag No. 1 Queen Victoria Terrace Canberra ACT 2600 Telephone (06) 271 5280 Facsimile (06) 273 4189

Printed in Australia by A. J. Law, Commonwealth Government Printer, Canberra

RESOURCE ASSESSMENT COMMISSION

PO Box 735 Kings Cross NSW 2011 Telephone (02) 331 1303 Facsimile (02) 361 3788

JaLWIJVjj, AUSTRALΙΛ -

11 November 1993

The Hon. P J Keating MP Prime Minister Parliament House CANBERRA ACT 2600

Dear Prime Minister

In accordance with the terms of reference provided on 10 October 1991, pursuant to section 16 of the Resource Assessment Commission Act 1989, 1 forward herewith the report of the Commission's inquiry into the management and use of Australia's coastal zone resources.

The joint views of special Commissioners Greg McColl and Alan Oxley and myself arc set out at pages 1 to 517. Special Commissioner Bob Graham's views are set out from page 519.

Yours sincerely

Mi Justice Stewart Chairman

PREFACE

This report presents the results of the Resource Assessment Commission's inquiry into

the management and use of the resources of Australia's coastal zone. The Inquiry is

the most comprehensive investigation undertaken into this matter and its conclusions

and recommendations are of great importance to all Australians.

The Coastal Zone Inquiry began, following the appointment of special Commissioners,

in February 1992. Its progress was marked by a number of stages, with public

participation and the direct involvement of major interested parties, or 'stakeholders',

emphasised throughout.

In April 1992 the Inquiry released a background paper to encourage public interest and

participation and containing a preliminary assessment of the key issues identified by the

Inquiry. Initial consultations with interested parties followed, and submissions were

invited from all quarters. Public hearings were held at locations around the country, in

regional coastal centres as well as capital cities.

The Inquiry published a draft report in February 1993, setting out interim conclusions

reached after that first stage of its investigation. The draft report also provided details

of an extensive work program being undertaken in cooperation with local government,

and state and Commonwealth agencies and sought the views of all interested parties on

the interim conclusions reached.

After completion of that work program and further consultation with all spheres of

government, industry, community and conservation groups, and representatives of

indigenous interests, in August 1993 the Inquiry issued a discussion paper containing

its draft conclusions and recommendations.

The paper outlined the elements of the Inquiry's proposed National Coastal Action

Program to ensure the integrated management of the coastal zone. It also provided a

further opportunity for comment on what the Inquiry was proposing and formed the

basis for a final round of consultations with stakeholders. Those consultations and ihc

completion of further work helped the Inquiry to develop its final conclusions and

recommendations, many of which have been substantially amended as a result

This final report, of necessity, examines a number of technical issues in some depth.

With its focus on integrated coastal zone management arrangements, it provides more

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

vi

detail than will be required by many readers. As a result, the Inquiry has had prepared

a short summary document—an overview—which has been published separately from

this main report. Copies of the overview have been widely distributed, including to all

those on the Inquiry's mailing list.

To all who participated in the various stages of this Inquiry and to the staff who so

ably supported its work, the Commission expresses its gratitude.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

TABLE OF CONTENTS

tx

Page

PREFACE v

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION 1

1.1 TERMS OF REFERENCE 1

1.2 APPROACH TO THE INQUIRY 3

1.3 STRUCTURE OF THIS REPORT 4

CHAPTER 2 RESOURCES, VALUES AND USES OF THE

COASTAL ZONE 7

2.1 COASTAL ZONE DEFINITION AND

DESCRIPTION 7

2.2 COASTAL PROCESSES 9

2.3 RESOURCE USES AND DEVELOPMENT 13

Population growth 14

Building development 15

Urban development 17

Land tenures in the coastal zone 19

Tourism and recreation 20

Mariculture 21

Other commercial uses of coastal resources 21

2.4 CONSERVATION RESERVES AND AREAS OF

SPECIAL SIGNIFICANCE 22

2.5 EFFECTS OF RESOURCE USE 24

Competition between resource users 25

Degradation of species and habitats 26

Pollution 29

Cultural heritage 33

2.6 COMMUNITY VALUES AND ATTITUDES 34

2.7 CONCLUSIONS 36

CHAPTER 3 FUTURE USES OF THE RESOURCES OF THE

COASTAL ZONE 39

3.1 ECONOMIC, DEMOGRAPHIC AND PHYSICAL

PROSPECTS 39

Economic prospects

Demographic prospects 11

Community attitudes 45

Natural processes 4 s

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

3.2 PROSPECTS FOR BUILDING. TOURISM AND

MARICULTURE 45

Building 46

Tourism 48

Mariculture 49

3.3 CONCLUSIONS 50

CHAPTER 4 CURRENT COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT 53

4.1 THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK 53

4.2 REGULATORY PROCESSES 56

Regulation of public resource use 58

Regulation of privately owned resources 58

Environmental protection and regulation 64

Decision-making criteria 66

Coordination of coastal policies and objectives 66

Processes of reform 69

4.3 CURRENT FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS 71

4.4 THE USE OF ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS IN

THE COASTAL ZONE 75

Charges and taxes 75

T radeable rights 78

Other incentives 79

4.5 INTERGOVERNMENTAL COORDINATION 81

4.6 CONCLUSIONS 83

CHAPTER 5 A NATIONAL APPROACH TO COASTAL ZONE

MANAGEMENT 87

5.1 THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL APPROACH 88

5.2 NATURE OF A NATIONAL APPROACH 90

5.3 ACHIEVING ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE

DEVELOPMENT 91

5.4 A STRATEGIC APPROACH 92

5.5 INTEGRATED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT 94

5.6 CONCLUSIONS 95

CHAPTER 6 THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM 97

6.1 NATION ALLY AGREED OBJECTIVES 98

6.2 IMPLEMENTING AND MANAGING THE

PROGRAM 98

6.3 COMMUNITY AND INDUSTRY

INVOLVEMENT 98

6.4 INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT MECHANISMS 99

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

____________________________________________________________ ____________ ______________ __________________________________JU

6.5 OPERATION OF THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM 99

6.6 BENEFITS OF THE NATIONAL COASTAL

ACTION PROGRAM 102

6.7 GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITIES OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION

PROGRAM 103

6.8 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION 105

CHAPTER 7 OBJECTIVES, PRINCIPLES AND CRITERIA 109

7.1 THE ROLE OF MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES

AND PRINCIPLES 109

7.2 NATIONAL OBJECTIVES FOR COASTAL ZONE

MANAGEMENT 111

Sustainable resource use 111

Resource conservation 112

Public participation 112

Knowledge and understanding 113

7.3 GENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR RESOURCE

MANAGEMENT 113

Integrated assessment and decision making 113

Implementing the precautionary approach 114

Allocation of costs and benefits 115

Public participation 115

7.4 SPECIFIC PRINCIPLES FOR COASTAL ZONE

MANAGEMENT 116

Conservation of resources 116

Community involvement in management 1 17

Sustainable use 117

7.5 CRITERIA FOR COASTAL ZONE

MANAGEMENT 118

Current initiatives 119

7.6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 123

CHAPTER 8 INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS 127

8.1 INTERGOVERNMENTAL ISSUES 127

8.2 NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS 131

8.3 STATE GOVERNMENT ARRANGEMENTS 134

8.4 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ARRANGEMENTS 135

8.5 COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT

ARRANGEMENTS 136

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xii

8.6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 138

CHAPTER 9 THE ROLE OF COMMUNITIES AND INDUSTRIES 143

9.1 COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN

CONSULTATIVE MECHANISMS 143

9.2 LOCAL AREA MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES 147 9.3 COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT 149

9.4 COMMUNITY EDUCATION 154

9.5 INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT 158

9.6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 160

CHAPTER 10 THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE 165

10.1 INDIGENOUS INTERESTS IN THE COASTAL

ZONE 166

Background information 166

Economic and cultural uses of the coastal zone 166

10.2 PARTICIPATION IN MANAGEMENT 169

Fisheries management 170

Marine resource management 172

Coastal land and heritage management 174

10.3 MANAGEMENT ISSUES 176

Recognition of traditional rights 177

Heritage protection 178

Participation, consultation and negotiation 180

Involvement in the commercial use of coastal

resources 182

Participation in the National Coastal Action Program 183

10.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 184

CHAPTER 11 IMPROVING MANAGEMENT AT THE LOCAL

AND REGIONAL LEVEL 191

11.1 IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT

STRUCTURES AND CAPABILITIES 191

Achieving greater flexibility 191

Government programs 194

Education and training courses 195

11.2 APPROACHES TO STRATEGIC

MANAGEMENT 196

Examples of current practice 196

Evaluation of existing approaches 198

Implementation of local coastal strategies 200

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

11.3 REGIONAL COASTAL STRATEGIES 202

Delineating coastal zone regions 203

Development of regional coastal strategies 21U

11.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 205

CHAPTER 12 APPROVAL SYSTEMS AND IMPACT

ASSESSMENT 211

12.1 DEVELOPMENT APPROVAL SYSTEMS 2 11

12.2 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT 2 17

12.3 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS 224

12.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 224

CHAPTER 13 ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS 229

13.1 THE EFFECTS OF ECONOMIC AND

FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS 22V

13.2 SCOPE FOR GREATER USE OF ECONOMIC

AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS 231

13.3 CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING INSTRUMENTS 234

13.4 STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS OF

SELECTED INSTRUMENTS 238

Charges and taxes 238

Developer contributions 240

Accommodation taxes 242

Tradeable resource use rights 244

Other incentives 245

13.5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 248

CHAPTER 14 RESEARCH AND INFORMATION

14.1 CURRENT RESEARCH 256

14.2 RESEARCH ISSUES 262

Coordinating research 264

Applied research and monitoring 265

14.3 EXISTING INFORMATION SYSTEMS 265

14.4 IMPROVING INFORMATION SYSTEMS 26V

Adequacy of information 26V

Accessibility of information 14.5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 274

CHAPTER 15 SURVEILLANCE AND QUARANTINE ISSUES 27V

15.1 COASTWATCH 15.2 ENFORCEMENT OF FISHERIES

REGULATIONS 283

15.3 THE TORRES STRAIT TREATY 286

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xiv

15.4 SHIP-SOURCED OIL POLLUTION 289

15.5 BALLAST WATER 293

15.6 QUARANTINE AND OTHER SURVEILLANCE

CONCERNS 296

15.7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 299

CHAPTER 16 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NATIONAL

COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM AND OTHER

NATIONAL STRATEGIES 305

16.1 RELEVANT NATIONAL STRATEGIES 305

National Housing Strategy 306

Draft National Strategy on Aquaculture 307

National Tourism Strategy 308

National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development 308

National Water Quality Management Strategy 310

National Greenhouse Response Strategy 311

Draft National Strategy for the Conservation of

Australia's Biological Diversity 311

National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy 312

An Australian National Strategy for the Conservation

of Australian Species and Communities Threatened

with Extinction 313

Draft National Policy for Recreational Fishing 314

National Strategy on Land Information Management 314

16.2 NATIONAL LANDCARE PROGRAM 315

16.3 INTEGRATION OF STRATEGIES 316

16.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 317 CHAPTER 17 FUNDING 319

17.1 CURRENT FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS 319

Expenditure by state government agencies 319

Local government expenditures 320

Commonwealth government expenditures 322

17.2 OPTIONS FOR FUNDING THE NATIONAL

COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM 325

Increased efficiencies 325

Reallocating priorities within budgets 325

Implementing additional revenue-raising measures 326

Involving communities and businesses 328

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

X V

17.3 FUNDING THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION

PROGRAM 330

17.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 332 CHAPTER 18 IMPLEMENTATION 337

18.1 IMPLEMENTATION AGENDA 337

18.2 MONITORING AND EVALUATING

IMPLEMENTATION 353

18.3 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS 354

CHAPTER 19 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 357

19.1 THE NATURE OF AUSTRALIA'S COASTAL

ZONE 357

19.2 FUTURE USES OF THE COASTAL ZONE 358

19.3 CURRENT MANAGEMENT OF THE COASTAL

ZONE 359

Regulatory framework 359

Funding 361

19.4 NEED FOR A NATIONAL APPROACH 361

19.5 A NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION

PROGRAM-SUMMARY 362

19.6 NATIONAL COASTAL ZONE OBIECTIVES 363

Objectives and principles 363

Criteria 364

19.7 MANAGING THE NATIONAL COASTAL

ACTION PROGRAM 364

Agreement 364

Commonwealth legislation *65

New national institutions 365

State management arrangements 366

Local management arrangements 367

Commonwealth management arrangements 36 7

19.8 COMMUNITY AND INDUSTRY

INVOLVEMENT 367

Community involvement in management

Community education '' ’ *

19.9 THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE 370

Recognition of traditional rights * 11

Involvement in managing conservation areas 371)

Involvement in coastal zone management 3 71

Involvement in policy processes

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

xvi

Increased communication 372

Fisheries strategy 373

Cultural heritage 374

19.10 IMPROVING REGIONAL AND LOCAL

MANAGEMENT 375

Management expertise 376

Tertiary education 377

Integration of local government activities 378

Local resource management strategies 378

Regional management strategies 379

Regional boundaries 379

Funding 380

Implementation 380

19.11 APPROVAL SYSTEMS AND IMPACT

ASSESSMENT 381

19.12 ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS 382

Water quality instruments 382

User charges 383

Developer contributions 383

Performance bonds 384

Levies 384

Accommodation tax 385

Potential benefits of economic instruments 385

Environmental impacts of coastal industries 385

19.13 RESEARCH AND INFORMATION 386

Information systems 386

Information costs 387

Information access 388

Research priorities 389

19.14 SURVEILLANCE AND QUARANTINE 390

Surveillance 390

Quarantine issues 391

Ballast water 392

Enforcement of fisheries regulations 392

19.15 RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER NATIONAL

STRATEGIES 393

19.16 FUNDING 394

19.17 IMPLEMENTATION 395

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

xvu

APPENDIX A BUILDING, TOURISM AND MARICULTU RE A N D

COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT 3W

A.l BUILDING AND URBANISATION 399

Resource use issues 4(X)

Management issues 401

Current management initiatives 402

A.2 COASTAL INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT 404

Resource use and management issues 404

Current management initiatives 405

A.3 TOURISM 407

Resource use and management issues 40X

Current management initiatives 409

A. 4 MARICULTURE 410

Resource use issues 412

Management issues 4 13

Current management initiatives 4 14

APPENDIX B RELEVANT NATIONAL AND COMMONWEALTH

PROGRAMS 419

B. 1 NATIONAL URBAN DEVELOPMENT

PROGRAM 419

B.2 TOURISM PROGRAMS 420

B.3 OCEAN RESCUE 2000 421

B.4 AUSTRALIAN HERITAGE COMMISSION

PROGRAMS 422

B.5 'STATE OF THE ENVIRONMENT'REPORTING 423

B. 6 CLIMATE CHANGE PROGRAMS 424

APPENDIX C THE COMMISSION, ITS CONSULTATIVE

PROCESSES AND INQUIRY STAFFING 437

C . l CONSULTATION WITH INTERESTED PARTIES 437

State and local government involvement 440

Commonwealth Government involvement 4 4 1

C. 2 COMMISSIONERS AND INQUIRY STAFFING 442

APPENDIX D ASSOCIATED PUBLICATIONS 445

D. l CONSULTANTS'REPORTS 445

D.2 INFORMATION PAPERS 447

D.3 CASE STUDY REPORTS 448

D.4 OTHER PUBLICATIONS 448

APPENDIX E SUBMISSIONS AND HEARINGS 451

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

xviii

APPENDIX F DISTRIBUTION AND AVAILABILITY OF

SUBMISSIONS, TRANSCRIPT AND RESEARCH

REPORTS 465

GLOSSARY 471

ABBREVIATIONS 479

REFERENCES 483

SPECIAL COMMISSIONER GRAHAM'S VIEWS 519

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

TABLES

Page

Table 2.1 Market share of international visitors, by state and territory, 1986 and 1991 20

Table 2.2 Number and area of terrestrial conservation reserves within the coastal zone, by jurisdiction, 1993 23

Table 2.3 Number and area of marine protected areas in Australia, by jurisdiction, 1984 and 1992 24

Table 3.1 Projected change in proportion of population in the non-metropolitan coastal zone, by state, 1990-2005 42

Table 3.2 Proportion of persons aged over 65 years, 1971-91, and projections for 2001-31 43

Table 3.3 Growth in household numbers relative to population growth, 1961-66 to 1981-86 43

Table 4.1 Types of management mechanisms: a summary 57

Table 4.2 Distribution of state government resource management responsibilities 59

Table 4.3 Examples of economic and financial instruments used in the coastal zone 76

Table 9.1 Commonwealth programs assisting community involvement in resource management 151

Table 10.1 Distribution of Australia's indigenous population, by state, 30 June 1991 166

Table 12.1 Types of assessments and degree of public participation in environmental impact assessment, by jurisdiction 219

Table 13.1 User charges generally: strengths and limitations 239

Table 13.2 Developer contributions: strengths and limitations 242

Table 13.3 Accommodation taxes: strengths and limitations 244

Table 13.4 Tradeable resource use rights: strengths and limitations 246 Table 13.5 Performance bonds: strengths and limitations 247

Table 14.1 Australian Research Council grants focusing on coastal zone issues, by type of grant, 1992 260

Table 14.2 Cooperative research centres relevant to the coastal zone 261 Table 14.3 Types of information important for coastal zone managers 270 Table 14.4 Availability of 28 types of information of importance to coastal zone managers 272

Table 17.1 Estimates of state government coastal zone management expenditure, 1991-92 320

Table 17.2 Estimates of local government coastal zone management expenditure, 1991-92 321

Table 17.3 Estimates of Commonwealth coastal zone management expenditure, 1991-92 323

Table 17.4 Commonwealth outlays in functional areas relevant to coastal zone management Table 17.5 Cost of the National Coastal Action Program ' ' 1

Table 18.1 Implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs Table A.l Major research issues identified by mariculture industry

_ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ ____ ______________ _ _______________________________________________ X IX

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

X X

Table B.l Table E. 1 Table E.2

Commonwealth programs relevant to the coastal zone: a summary 425 Submissions received 451

Hearing dates and locations 463

FIGURES

Figure 2.1 The coastal zone as defined by administrative boundaries 10 Figure 2.2 The coastal zone as defined by drainage basins 11

Figure 2.3 State and non-metropolitan coastal zone population growth, 1971-91 15

Figure 2.4 Coastal growth regions, 1971-91 16

Figure 2.5 Distribution of land tenures in the coastal zone 19

Figure 2.6 Resource status of Australian fisheries 28

Figure 2.7 Trends in concern about coastal issues: percentage of those who are 'extremely concerned' 35

Figure 3.1 Projected non-metropolitan coastal zone population growth, by state, 1990-2005 42

Figure 4.1 Approvals required for mariculture development 65

Figure 4.2 Direct expenditure by governments on management of coastal zone resources, 1991-92 72

Figure 4.3 Areas of government expenditure on management of coastal zone resources, 1991-92 74

Figure 8.1 Proposed national institutional arrangements 133

Figure 10.1 Coastal Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander lands and population centres, 1991 167

Figure 11.1 Generic model for the preparation and implementation of local and regional coastal management strategies 201

Figure 12.1 Coordinated approvals process for major developments in Victoria 216 Figure 14.1 Marine and coastal research and survey expenditure by Commonwealth agencies, 1991-1992 257

Figure 15.1 Lines of jurisdiction agreed under the Torres Strait Treaty 287 Figure 17.1 Coastal zone management expenditure, by Commonwealth portfolio, 1991-92 324

BOXES

Box 1.1 Box 1.2 Box 1.3

Box 2.1 Box 2.2 Box 2.3

Box 2.4 Box 2.5 Box 3.1

Box 4.1 Box 4.2

The Inquiry's terms of reference Section 8 of the Resource Assessment Commission Act Policy Principles: schedule 1 to the Resource Assessment

Commission Act Examples of the effects of natural processes in the coastal zone Global warming and the coastal zone Factors contributing to the development of the coastal zone

Sediment and nutrients in Queensland coastal catchments Management of water quality Some possible implications of 'high growth' and 'low growth' economic scenarios The problems of management: example 1—urban development The problems of management: example 2—tourism

2 3

4

12 13 18 30 32

40 55 62

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Box 4.3 The problems of management: example 3—maricullure 67

Box 4.4 The problems of management: example 4— coastal processes 70 Box 4.5 The problems of management: example 5—industrial development 80 Box 4.6 The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment 82

Box 5.1 Ecologically sustainable development: goal, objectives and guiding principles 92

Box 5.2 Main characteristics of a strategic approach to management 93 Box 7.1 Australian Heritage Commission criteria for the identification of places of heritage significance 121

Box 7.2 Coastal setback criteria developed by state governments 122 Box 9.1 Agenda 21 and the community role 145

Box 9.2 Community involvement in consultative processes: some examples 146 Box 9.3 Community landcare groups 152

Box 9.4 Waterwatch: a community-based environmental monitoring program 153

Box 9.5 Employment programs relevant to coastal resource management 154 Box 10.1 Economic uses of the coastal zone by indigenous communities 168 Box 10.2 Indigenous people's traditional links with the sea 169

Box 10.3 Overseas developments in indigenous people's resource rights 171 Box 10.4 Recognition of indigenous interests in the Great Barrier Reef 173 Box 11.1 Criteria for effective local and regional coastal zone strategy preparation 199

Box 12.1 The Local Approvals Review Program 213

Box 12.2 Environmental impact assessment by state and Commonwealth 218 governments Box 12.3 Problems with environmental impact assessment procedures 221 Box 13.1 Principle types of economic instruments 230

Box 13.2 Benefits of economic instruments 232

Box 13.3 Taxation and the environment 2 1

Box 13.4 The scope for using economic instruments in catchment management 2.35

Box 13.5 Criteria for choosing economic instruments 236

Box 13.6 Developer contributions in different states 241

Box 14.1 Coast-related research funded by the Commonwealth: major programs 258

Box 14.2 Coast-related research by state agencies: some examples Box 14.3 Shoalhaven City Council: research and information for financing tourism infrastructure 262

Box 14.4 Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy 268

Box 15.1 The Hudson Report: Northern Approaches 281)

Box 15.2 State fisheries management arrangements 285

Box 15.3 Government responsibilities under the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil - ‘11

Box 15.4 Marine organisms introduced through ballast water discharge from ships 294

Box 16.1 National Tourism Strategy goals Box 17.1 Options for funding beach management: Florida Box 17.2 Potential improvements in Commonwealth-State funding agreements

Box A. 1 Strategic approach to tourism development 1,11

_ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __ __________________________ __ _______________ XXI

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION

1.01. This report has been prepared by the Resource Assessment Commission in

accordance with terms of reference issued by the Prime Minister on 10 October 1991.

The terms of reference require the Commission to conduct an inquiry into the use and

management of Australia's coastal zone resources. The report contains the Inquiry's

assessment of matters relevant to the terms of reference and its recommendations for

measures that should be taken to improve the management of Australia's coastal zone

resources.

1.02. Appendix C provides background information about the Resource Assessment

Commission and the Coastal Zone Inquiry and about the procedures adopted during

the Inquiry.

1.1 TERMS OF REFERENCE

1.03. The Inquiry's terms of reference are reproduced in Box 1.1. The Inquiry is

required primarily to examine and report on the integrated management of building,

tourism, mariculture and associated development in Australia's coastal zone. In doing

so, the Inquiry has sought to identify the deficiencies of current management

arrangements and propose solutions to improve their effectiveness, so that Australians

obtain greater benefit from the use of the zone's resources. The Inquiry's proposed

solutions take into account vital aspects of the quality of life for Australians:

continuing economic development; maintenance of the environment through the

sustainable use of resources and preservation of biological diversity and biophysical

processes; and continuing social and cultural advancement

1.04. Although the Inquiry is required to give particular attention to integrated

management of the sectors mentioned in its terms of reference, issues arising from

other important activities involving the use of coastal zone resources—agriculture,

fisheries, shipping, mineral exploration and extraction, conservation, recreation, and

other major industrial, commercial and service activities—and from the use of the zone

by indigenous people have also been considered. The Inquiry has considered the

management of coastal zone resources as a whole and has proposed management

solutions that are applicable to current and potential uses of the zone and all major

activities there.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

2 Introduction

Box 1.1 The Inquiry's terms of reference

COMMONWEALTH OF AUSTRALIA

Notice of Referral of a Resource Matter under s.16 of the Resource Assessment Commission Act 1989

For the purpose of decisions that the Commonwealth may make in the exercise of its powers,

I require the Resource Assessment Commission to conduct an inquiry into Building, Tourism, Mariculture and associated development in Australia's coastal zone.

The scope of the inquiry shall be to:

• examine and report on the future use of Australia’s coastal zone resources with particular reference to the integrated management of building, tourism, mariculture and associated development, particularly outside metropolitan areas;

• examine and report on the use, including potential use, of regulatory and economic instruments and institutional arrangements to promote integrated coastal zone management.

In preparing its report, the Commission should:

• take into account and give due weight to, the findings of previous related inquiries and existing background and policy work by Commonwealth, state, territory and local governments;

• lake into account and give due weight to the work and objectives of the special Premiers' Conference aimed at providing a clear definition of the roles and responsibilities of the different spheres of government; reducing duplication and overlap of functions and services; and providing more integrated and effective delivery of programs and services;

• assess the environmental, cultural, social, industry, and economic impact of such development;

• develop criteria for evaluating the future use of coastal zone resources.

The report of the inquiry is to be given to me by 25 November 1993.

R J L Hawke Prime Minister

1.05. Examining coastal zone management arrangements has required the Inquiry to

investigate the policies, institutions, regulatory mechanisms and activities of all

spheres of government. Each sphere has responsibilities and interests in the zone and

influences the management and use of the zone's resources. The activities of

individuals, community groups, indigenous organisations and business and industry

are also influential. The Inquiry has been mindful of all these interests, responsibilities

and activities in proposing management solutions.

1.06. Background and policy work done by the Commonwealth and state, territory

and local governments, including the work of the special Premiers Conference held in

October 1990, has also been taken into account, as have other relevant government

activities and the findings of previous inquiries.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Introduction 3

1.07. The Inquiry has paid particular attention to non-metropolitan areas. It did,

however, take the view that this did not preclude consideration of issues arising in

metropolitan areas, and it has considered such issues to the extent that they are

relevant to recommendations for the coastal zone in general.

1.08. Although this Inquiry is specifically concerned with Australia’s coastal zone

resources, many of the solutions put forward in this report could be successfully

applied elsewhere in Australia to achieve integrated and strategic management of natural resources.

1.2 APPROACH TO THE INQUIRY

1.09. The Commission's approach to inquiries is prescribed in the Resource

Assessment Commission Act 1989. Section 8 of the Act sets out a number of matters

to be dealt with in conducting an inquiry (see Box 1.2). Section 7 of the Act requires

the Commission to be guided by the policy principles adopted by the Commonwealth

Government for resolving competing claims for the use of resources; these principles,

contained in Schedule 1 to the Act, are set out in Box 1.3.

1.10. The Commission is committed to an open inquiry process and has provided

opportunities for all interested parties to participate in the Inquiry. It has endeavoured

Box 1.2 Section 8 of the Resource Assessment Commission Act

In the performance of its functions in relation to a resource matter the Commission shall, as far as practicable and subject to the terms of the referral of the matter:

(a) identify the resource with which the matter is concerned and the extent of that resource;

(b) identify the various uses that could be made of that resource;

(c) identify:

(i) the environmental, cultural, social, industry, economic and other values of that resource or involved in those uses; and

(ii) the implications for those values of those uses, including implications that are uncertain or long-term;

(d) assess the losses and benefits involved in the various alternative uses, or combinations of uses, of that resource, including:

(i) losses and benefits of an unquantifiable nature; and

(ii) losses and benefits that are uncertain or long-term; and

(e) give consideration to any other aspect of the matter that it considers relevant.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

4 Introduction

to gain a comprehensive understanding of people's attitudes and values in relation to

coastal zone resource use and management. In particular, it has consulted and

involved slate, Northern Territory and local governments. For example, case studies

of coastal zone management were undertaken with the collaboration of each of the

state governments (see Appendix C).

Box 1.3 Policy Principles: schedule 1 to the Resource Assessment Commission Act

1 There should be an integrated approach to conservation (including all environmental and ecological considerations) and development by taking both conservation (including all environmental and ecological considerations) and development aspects into account at an early stage.

2. Resource use decisions should seek to optimise the net benefits to the community from the nation's resources, having regard to efficiency of resource use, environmental considerations, ecological integrity and sustainability, ecosystem integrity and sustainability, the sustainability of any development, and an equitable distribution of the return on resources.

3. C’ommonwealth decisions, policies and management regimes may provide for additional uses that arc compatible with the primary purpose values for the area, recognising that in some cases both conservation (including all environmental and ecological considerations) and development interests can be accommodated concurrently or sequentially, and, in other cases, choices must be

made between alternative uses or combinations of uses.

I I I . This report is based on four main sources of information: evidence presented to

die Inquiry in submissions, hearings and consultations before and after the release of

the Inquiry's draft report in February 1993; the reports of the state case studies; the

findings of research projects conducted by staff of the Commission and consultants to

die Inquiry; and comments on the Inquiry's draft conclusions and recommendations,

published in August 1993.

1.12. Appendix C describes the Inquiry's public participation process including

meetings, case studies, workshops and field trips organised by the Inquiry.

Appendix 1) lists the reports and papers made publicly available during the course of

die Inquiry. Submissions received by the Inquiry and details of the Inquiry's hearings

are listed in Appendix E. Appendix F deals with the distribution of submissions, the

transcript of hearings, and research reports.

1.3 STRUCTURE OF THIS REPORT

1.13. Chapters 2 to 4 ot the report describe the characteristics of Australia's coastal

zone resources, luture uses of these resources and their management. These chapters

provide die basis tor examining the major resource use issues in the zone and the

capacity ot existing regulatory and economic instruments and institutions to achieve integrated management.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Introduction 5

1.14. Chapters 5 and 6 set out the Inquiry's framework and proposed approach to

improving coastal zone management. They highlight the need for national action and

describe the nature of such action. They set out the four essential elements of the

Inquiry's proposed plan for better management of Australia's coastal zone—the

National Coastal Action Program.

1.15. The Inquiry's recommended actions related to each element of the National

Coastal Action Program and the relationship of the Program to other national

strategies are described in detail in Chapters 7 to 17. Chapter 18 summarises the

actions that governments and others must take to implement the Inquiry's

recommendations. Chapter 19 lists the Inquiry's conclusions and recommendations.

1.16. It should be noted that in the remainder of this report, and unless otherwise

specified, the term 'states' is used to refer to the states and the Northern Territory.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 2 RESOURCES, VALUES AND USES OF THE COASTAL ZONE

2.01. The coastal zone has a special place in the lives of Australians. Most

Australians want to live there and if they can't they want to lake their holidays ihca·. It

contains diverse ecosystems and a high proportion of Australia's industrial activity

occurs in the zone. It is a priceless national resource.

2.02. In the first section of this chapter the Inquiry defines the coastal zone and

briefly describes it in terms of the definitions used. Section 2.2 describes the natural

processes that occur there. The uses and development of the zone's resources, in

particular building, tourism and mariculture, arc discussed in Section 2.3. Section 2.4

discusses conservation reserves and areas of special significance in the zone. The

effects of coastal zone resource uses are discussed in Section 2.5 and Australians'

attitudes to the coastal zone and the uses of its resources are described in Section 2.6.

conclusions are reached in Section 2.7.

2.03. Further information about the range and extent of coastal resources, their

principal uses, and the values associated with them can be found in two information

papers prepared by the Inquiry, Resources and Uses o f the Coastal Zone (RAC

1993m) and Values and Attitudes Concerning the Coastal Zone (RAC 1993q).

2.1 COASTAL ZONE DEFINITION AND DESCRIPTION

2.04. The Inquiry adopted the 1991 approach of the OECD Environment Directorate

in defining the coastal zone according to the nature of the problem being examined,

particularly the objectives of management. The marine boundary of the coastal zone is

defined by the Inquiry to be 200 nautical miles seaward of the low-water mark. Dial

boundary marks the extent of the Australian Fishing Zone, which is larger in area than

the whole of the AusUalian land mass. Since there are strong links between resource

uses in river catchments and marine areas the Inquiry used two definitions ot 'coastal

zone' for identifying and describing the landward extent of resources and human

activities in Australia's coastal zone: existing local government administrative areas

abutting the coast as a basis for examining the extent of human uses and activities; and

natural drainage basins abutting the coast for describing the extent ol physical and

biological resources (see RAC 1993m).

2.05. Figure 2.1 shows the coastal zone as defined by administrative boundaries.

Under this definition the zone occupies about 1.318 million square kilometres.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

8 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

approximately 17 per cent of the land area of Australia. Figure 2.2 shows the coastal

zone as defined by drainage basins. Under this definition the zone occupies about

1.327 million square kilometres, again approximately 17 per cent of the area of

Australia.

2.06. Including its external territories, Australia has one of the largest marine zones in

the world (8.9 million square kilometres) and one of the longest coastlines

(approximately 70 000 kilometres) (Zann 1993). The coastline of mainland Australia

itself, including Tasmania, is approximately 36 700 kilometres (ABS 1990). The

coastal zone contains a wide range of climatic, geological and oceanographic regions,

which in turn house a very rich store of biological diversity. The zone supports a

diverse and interacting mixture of terrestrial, estuarine and marine ecosystems, ranging

from coral reefs to coastal forests, which directly or indirectiy provide many of the

resources needed for a broad range of commercial and non-commercial uses and

activities. The zone also contains the largest areas of coral reefs of any nation and the

third-largest area of mangroves, and it has globally significant populations of a number

of endangered species.

2.07. Based on the local government definition, Australia's coastal zone supports

about 86 per cent of total population, including nearly one-half of Australia's

indigenous population. In the past 20 years the zone has witnessed significant

increases in population and tourism growth and has been the location of many types of

development About half of Australia's total population growth has occurred in

non-metropolitan parts of the zone, particularly on the Sunshine Coast and the Gold

Coast of Queensland, in the south-west of Western Australia, in far north Queensland,

and on the central and north coasts of New South Wales.

2.08. The coastal zone is especially significant because it contains a high proportion

of the resources used to produce goods and services; much of Australia's commercial

and industrial activity is found in land- and sea-based enterprises located in the zone.

In particular, it is where most of the fishing industry, tourism and other service

industries, and significant parts of the agriculture, forestry, mining (including

petroleum) and manufacturing industries are concentrated. Provision of land, sea and

air transport facilities is a major activity in the zone, as is the provision of other

infrastructure associated with the production and consumption of goods and services.

It is also the area providing a high proportion of recreational opportunities in Australia.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 9

2.2 COASTAL PROCESSES

2.09. Australia's coastal zone exhibits a broad range of physical features—coastal

plains, hills and mountains, river catchments and drainage basins, beaches, cliffs,

estuaries, wetlands and other enclosed water bodies, oceans, coral reefs, islands,

mudflats and dunes. The biological features of the coastal zone are extremely varied,

with a wide range of flora and fauna inhabiting the terrestrial and aquatic

environments. Coastal ecosystems are characterised by complex interactions between

the flora and fauna and the physical elements of both terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

For example, mangrove ecosystems are dependent on specific levels of water salinity,

the location of seagrass beds is determined largely by the amount of available sunlight,

and coastal forest ecosystems are influenced by topography, soil moisture and nutrient

gradients (see RAC 1993m).

2.10. The environment of the coastal zone is subject to continuing change brought

about by natural processes. This is particularly the case in the shore zone, which is

that area most directly influenced by marine processes such as the actions of waves,

currents, tides and storm surges. These processes interact and continuously shape and

modify the physical features of the shore zone, including beaches, spits, sand dunes and

offshore sandbars. These physical features are part of a naturally dynamic system; their

form and location change in response to changes in marine processes and in the

availability of sand and other sediments.

2.11. Many of the sandy coastlines of Australia are a legacy of the last major sea-level

rise. Since the sea reached its present level, around 6000-7000 years ago, the supply

of sand to the shore zone in many parts of Australia has stabilised or declined. Erosion

that occurs along some parts of the Adelaide beaches, for example, is largely a result of

a natural lack of sand.

2.12. Superimposed on the more or less continuous changes that occur as a result of

the natural dynamism of the shore zone are rapid changes that occur in response to

short-term natural events such as cyclones, floods and storms. Such events, which

have caused major environmental damage and economic loss, have occurred in much

of Australia's coastal zone in recent years, including major flooding and beach erosion

along the east coast in the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s (see Box 2.1). Despite the relative

absence of major storm events over the past 15 or so years, many parts of the

Australian coast are vulnerable to natural hazards. Serious concerns exist about the

capacity of many local governments to assess the vulnerability of coastal areas to such

natural hazards (Thom, Submission 577, p. 2).

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

Source: RAC (1993m).

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zom

12 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

2.13. Over at least the past 40 000 years, humans have become increasingly important

agents of change in the coastal zone, the most dramatic changes having occurred since

European colonisation in Australia, about 200 years ago. The resources of the zone

have been, and continue to be, modified by a wide range of human activities. The scale

of modification ranges from dredging operations that directly influence localised water

flows to regional-scale changes in land use, such as clearing of vegetation for

agriculture and residential development, that alter the dynamics of water catchments

and offshore water quality.

Box 2.1 Examples of the effects of natural processes in the coastal zone

1949-52 storms During 1949-52 the New South Wales and Queensland coasts were hit by a succession of storms. Although not particularly violent, the storms caused substantial erosion because there was not enough time between storms for the sand to build-up again.

1955 floods At least 22 lives were lost when the Hunter and northern rivers of New South Wales flooded in 1955. More than 10 000 houses were flooded and 100 houses were swept away in Maitland, the most severely affected town.

1967 storms Extensive erosion and property damage was sustained on the Gold Coast and in the Sydney-Newcastle region during storms in 1967. The Gold Coast was hardest hit during June and Sydney was affected by severe storms in late August and again in November.

Cyclone Ada In January 1970 Cyclone Ada ravaged islands in the Great Barrier Reef, resulting in the loss of 13 lives and millions of dollars of damage.

1974 storms In January 1974 serious flooding occurred in many parts of Australia. Brisbane was particularly hard hit with 6000 homes flooded, 13 lives lost and damage of about $200 million. The New South Wales coast was also hit by a sequence of storms in May-June 1974, causing extensive beach erosion and damage to property, particularly in Sydney and environs.

Cyclone Tracy On Christmas Day of 1974 Darwin was devastated by a powerful cyclone. The city was almost completely flattened and about 50 people were killed. Twenty-six thousand people were evacuated from Darwin by air.

Source: Aplin et al. (1987),

2.14. It is not easy to disentangle the impacts of natural variability in coastal zone

processes from impacts that may arise from human activities—such as global warming

resulting from increased levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere (see Box

2-2) or from coastal zone management practices that can, for example, interfere with

the movement of sediment along the coast. Beach erosion in southern Queensland has,

for instance, been exacerbated by the effects of breakwaters built at the mouth of the

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 13

Tweed River. Similarly, localised erosion near Busselton in Western Australia has

been intensified by the construction of groynes intended to slow a natural regression of

the shoreline that is due largely to diminishment of the sand supply since current sea

levels were reached.

2.15. From a resource management perspective, the uncertainties related to the

climatic and sea-level implications of an enhanced greenhouse effect are closely linked

to the natural dynamics and variability of physical processes that operate in the coastal

zone. Regardless of possible sea-level rise and accompanying changes in wind and

wave strength and direction due to the greenhouse effect, variability in the frequency

and severity of storm events presents a significant hazard along many parts of the

Australian coast * •

Box 2.2 Global warming and the coastal zone

Although scientists are generally in agreement that global warming is occurring, the process and effects are not fully understood and the rates of change and the magnitude of many impacts remain uncertain. Based on the most recent revision of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change business as usual' scenario, the following impacts are predicted:

» an increase, during the next century, in global mean temperature of 0.2°C-0.5°C per decade;

• a rise, during the next century, in global mean sea level o f 3-10 centimetres per decade.

Any rapid changes in climate may change the composition of ecosystems. Some species will benefit; others will be unable to migrate or adapt rapidly enough and may become extinct.

Human settlements exposed to natural hazards such as coastal or river flooding, severe drought, landslides, severe storms and tropical cyclones will be most vulnerable to impacts of the enhanced greenhouse effect

Source: IPCC(1991). _________________________________

2.3 RESOURCE USES AND DEVELOPMENT

2.16. The resources of Australia's coastal zone are subject to an enormous range of

uses; the principal uses are discussed in detail in Information Paper No. 3

(RAC 1993m). Among these uses are the following:

• housing and urban development;

• tourism and recreation;

• industry and commerce, including government services;

• fisheries, including mariculture;

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

14 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

• mineral and petroleum exploration and extraction;

• agriculture, grazing and forestry;

• building, construction and infrastructure, including transport, energy and

telecommunications;

• hunting, fishing and gathering for subsistence or diet supplementation purposes.

2.17. Many resources are contained in national parks, reserves and other protected

areas in sucn a way that they remain available for use by present and future

generations. These uses are described in Section 2.4.

2.18. Particular areas of the coastal zone may be subject to one or more uses at any

time, and the range of uses can change over time. The suitability of an area for

particular uses and activities depends on a number of biophysical, socio-economic and

regulatory factors.

2.19. The socio-economic factors that influence the suitability of an area for

particular uses and activities are specific locational characteristics such as proximity to

high-quality living environments, access by business to markets, and the availability of

infrastructure (such as roads, water, ports, airports and telecommunications).

Technological and economic factors such as access to labour and materials are

important, as are opportunities for investment. In addition, there is a range of attitudes

and values in the community about how the resources of the coastal zone should be

used.

2.20. Finally, the suitability of an area for a particular use can be influenced by

regulations and laws, which impose restrictions on what may be done. They include

rights of use and access to property, and planning and development controls.

Population growth

2.21. In the last two decades, the populations of non-metropolitan coastal cities and

towns have grown at a faster rate than those of capital cities and major industrial

centres. This is producing a new pattern of urban settlement in Australia that has two

particular characteristics: expansion of outer-fringe metropolitan areas of the major

capital cities or urban growth in regions that are developing as satellites of major cities.

In some places the two phenomena merge.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 15

2.22. Very rapid population growth occurred between 1971 and 1991, especially in

parts of the coastal zone in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and Western

Australia (see Figure 2.3). Between 1983 and 1991,401 000 dwelling units were

constructed in the non-metropolitan coastal zone; this represents approximately

50 000 dwelling units per year, or approximately 35 per cent of dwelling construction

in Australia in that period. If dwelling construction in the metropolitan coastal area Ls

included, approximately 90 per cent of all building activity in Australia between 1983

and 1991 took place in the coastal zone.

Figure 2 3 State and non-metropolitan coastal zone population growth, 1971-91

Queensland

New South Wales

Western Australia

Victoria

South Australia

Northern Territory

Tasmania

200 400 600 800

___________ Population growth (Ό00)

1000 1200

Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

2.23. Most of the population growth and associated human settlement in

non-metropolitan areas has been concentrated in relatively few regions. Figure 2.4

shows the location of the top 10 non-metropolitan regions in terms of combined

population growth and building development from 1971 to 1991. Seven of the top 10

regions are in south-east Queensland and in New South Wales between the Illawarra

region and the Queensland border.

Building development

2.24. The coastal zone is the focus for much of Australia's building activity. This

activity takes many forms: residential subdivision development; commercial

development; construction of roads and other infrastructure (such as water and

sewerage services); development of recreation facilities and public amenities; tourist

developments such as marinas and hotels; coastal protection works; and so on.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

Figure 2Λ Coastal growth regions, 1971-91

Per cent change 1971-1991 too

Caims

N orthern Territory

Queensland

Sunshine Coast Western Australia

Brisbane Outer

South Australia

Gold Coast/Albert Shire

Perth O uter

Richmond/Tweed

N ew South Wales Hunter

Gosford/Wy ong A .C.T

lllawarra

Victoria

South East Melbourne

Tasmania

Note: Capital city growth is excluded. Source: RAC (1993b)._____________

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zom

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 17

2.25. The building industry contributes significandy to the Australian economy. In

1991-92 it accounted for 14 per cent of Australia's gross domestic product and

employed 8 per cent of the workforce. It consists of a variety of types of businesses

from individual operators and small owner-operated enterprises to large national

companies. It is a volatile industry and its activity fluctuates widely as part of the

cyclical variations in the Australian economy. In Australia an extremely high

proportion of building and supporting industrial activity occurs in the coastal zone.

Urban development

2.26. As a consequence of rapid population growth in many coastal cities and towns

there has been a significant expansion of urban development into areas that were

formally dominated by rural activities. This urban expansion can be classified into two

main categories. One consists of the spread of new residential and associated

commercial developments around the perimeter of established towns and cities. These

developments are typically suburban in character and frequently made up of 'standard'

residential buildings. In many cases such developments are occupied by people

wishing to live permanently in the area. In some cases, these developments serve

mainly as holiday centres. The other category of urban expansion is the development

of larger lots for semi-rural uses, mainly in the hinterlands of coastal cities and towns.

This type of development is associated with a wide range of uses, from predominantly

residential activities on larger-than-normal lots to 'hobby farm' activities on lots of up

to 20 or more hectares.

2.27. Urbanisation has profound effects on many important coastal zone resources. It

can result in the pollution of coastal waters by stormwater run-off and effluent

disposal, degradation of beaches and other natural environments from improper or

excessive use, a reduction in the area of bushland, wetlands and agricultural land, and

habitat depletion.

2.28. Many of these impacts arise from urban lifestyles. When many urban

settlements were originally established, very little consideration was given to the

impact that urban living would have on the surrounding environment. Consequently,

many urban stormwater and sewage systems discharge directly into coastal rivers and

coastal waters, little thought having been given to the effects of such discharges on

receiving waters. In addition, many areas surrounding large population centres have

become over-exploited as people pursue their personal recreation activities.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

18 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

2.29. Nationally the pattern of movement appears to be that 15-24-year-olds and

people arriving from overseas are moving to central cities while all other groups are

moving outwards. Small numbers of employed people are moving to central cities, but

there is a much larger movement of unemployed people to coastal regions (Flood

1992). The details of the patterns of movement vary. In some areas those who

relocate are predominantly elderly retirees, as on the Momington Peninsula of Victoria.

In other areas, such as the South and East Moreton region in Queensland, there is

more a mix of employed, unemployed and those defined as not in the labour force

(retirees and pensioners). A number of factors appear to be influencing this movement

of people— see Box 2.3. Research suggests that the patterns of population movement

in Australia do not confirm the standard model of population movement being

determined by location of employment (Flood 1992). An active choice by those not in

the workforce to live in a particular area seems now to be at least as important, as

employment opportunities.

Box 2.3 Factors contributing to the development of the coastal zone

Cost factors The outer fringes of Australia's metropolitan areas often provide the cheapest option for people wishing to buy a house. Many of these fringe areas are in the coastal zone; examples are south-east Melbourne, the Gosford-Wyong area in New South Wales, south-east Queensland, and the areas

north and south of Perth.

Changes in social values and increasing mobility In the past few decades society has begun to place greater emphasis on access to healthy environments and opportunities for recreation and leisure.

Planned decentralisation All state governments have attempted to achieve some relocation of jobs and economic activity away from major cities. This has resulted in the planned relocation of some public sector activities, in many cases to other parts of the coastal zone.

Structural changes in the Australian economy Moves away from investment in labour-intensive manufacturing and the declining viability of some agricultural activities have led to investment in real estate and other economic activities such as tourism. Non-metropolitan coastal zone locations provide significant opportunities for much of this investment, and the potential for high rates of return from both land and building development.

Structural changes in the labour force These include the growth in service employment at the expense of manufacturing employment and increasing disposable income at the family level. Such changes often favour coastal zone locations and provide opportunities for migration to coastal centres.

An ageing population There is a trend for people to retire earlier and to relocate after retirement, and many choose to move from older metropolitan areas to growing coastal regions. For example, Hervey Bay in Queensland and Coffs Harbour in New South Wales both have relatively high proportions of their population in

the age group over 55 years.

Other economic factors The provision of infrastructure, particularly roads, railways and airports, and development associated with the growth in tourism have been major factors influencing the development of many areas.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 19

2.30. The trend towards increasing settlement in non-metropolitan coastal areas has

substantial economic, social and environmental effects. A large group of people on

fixed incomes (retirement incomes or social welfare support) are moving to cheaper

areas of high amenity (Flood 1992). This will have major implications for social policy

and the demand for service provision in the coastal zone.

Land tenures in the coastal zone

2.31. Land tenure is an important consideration in managing the coastal zone. To a

large extent the use of coastal lands is determined by the tenures in which those lands

are held. Figure 2.5 shows the distribution of tenures in Australia's coastal zone: about

57 per cent of the zone is private land, 16 per cent is held under indigenous tenure, and

less than 5 per cent is occupied under each of forestry, defence, reserves, and other

tenures; mining activities occupy less titan 1 per cent of the area.

Figure 2.5 Distribution of land tenures in the coastal zone

Defence

Other

Reserved crown

Forestry

Vacant crown

Indigenous

Private

Per cent

Notes: Estimates are based on the administrative area definition of the zone (see RAC 1993k). 'Indigenous' refers to freehold or leasehold land held by the Aboriginal Development Commission or incorporated Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Groups and Crown land reserved for Aboriginals and Torres Strait Islanders.

Source: AUSLIG (1992). _ _ _ _ _ _ _

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

20 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

Tourism and recreation

2.32. The tourism industry is a significant contributor to the Australian economy,

contributing about 5.5 per cent of gross domestic product in recent years; it accounted

for 6 per cent of employment in Australia in 1991-92. Domestic tourism accounted

for 69 per cent of gross tourism expenditure, the balance being attributed to tourists

from abroad. A high proportion of tourism activity in Australia is centred on the

coastal zone. Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and other capital cities are very important

tourist centres; in addition, both international and domestic tourism contribute to the

decentralisation of economic activity and employment to non-metropolitan holiday

destinations (BTR 1991).

2.33. Growth in the number of international visitors to Australia has been significant

in recent years. The annual number exceeded 2 million for the first time in 1988 and

has continued to increase, the average annual growth rate from 1986 to 1991 being

11 per cent (BTR 1991). Table 2.1 shows the market share of international visitors in

each state and territory in 1986 and 1991. The growth rate for domestic tourism has

been lower than that for international tourism in recent years. The number of domestic

trips made each year increased by 10 per cent between 1984— 85 and 1989-90 but

recent recessionary conditions have led to a downturn in growth.

Table 2.1 Market share of international visitors, by state and territory, 1986 and 1991

Percentage of total visitor-nights

State/territory 1986 1991

New South Wales 32 36

Victoria 19 17

Queensland 23 24

South Australia 7 5

Western Australia 10 11

Tasmania 3 2

Northern Territory 2 3

Australian Capital Territory 3 2

Note: Figures do not add up to 100 per cent due to rounding. Source: Chohan (1992).

2.34. The non-metropolitan coastal zone contains nearly half of Australia's

9000 commercial tourism establishments. It is the site of 38 per cent of all hotels and

motels, 48 per cent of caravan parks, and 75 per cent of 'holiday establishments', which

includes self-contained flats, units and houses (RAC 1993m).

2.35. Although building associated with ,ourism, in particular hotel and resort

construction, is often thought to represent a major component of coastal zone

development, only 30 per cent of all hotel and resort approvals occur in the

non-metropolitan coastal zone, accounting for only about 7 per cent of the total value

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 21

of approvals for all buildings in the zone between 1983 and 1991. Often, however,

they constitute single, large-scale, 'one off developments taking advantage of

appealing views, waterfront locations, access to areas of high amenity, and large areas

of land with facilities such as golf courses.

2.36. The coastal zone is used extensively for recreation by both residents and

visitors. Visitors include 'day trippers' as well as domestic and international tourists on

longer visits. Tourism and recreation are therefore closely associated, and the coastal

zone supports a wide range of terrestrial and marine-based recreational activities

(RAC 1993m).

Mariculture

2.37. Aquaculture is the farming of organisms in freshwater, marine and estuarine

environments. Mariculture is the farming of such organisms in marine and estuarine

environments. In 1990-91 the gross value of mariculture production was about

$172 million. This represents a significant proportion of the gross value of production

of the entire fishing industry, which amounted to $1.2 billion in 1990-91 and

$1.4 billion in 1992-93 (ABARE 1993b). There are approximately 4400 mariculture

farms in Australia and almost 90 per cent of them are in New South Wales. About

93 per cent of all mariculture enterprises are engaged in farming edible oysters; other

long-established enterprises are those producing pearls and pearl shells in Western

Australia.

2.38. The mariculture industry grew rapidly after the mid-1980s, but there has been a

slowing in growth since then (Treadwell et al. 1992). The slowdown is largely the

result of a decline in the production of edible oysters and relatively slow growth in the

pearl industry. Most of the recent growth in mariculture has been in salmon and prawn

production; ocean trout production has declined, partly in response to low yields

caused by less-than-ideal conditions (see RAC 1993m, sect. 6.4).

Other commercial uses of coastal resources

2.39. Coastal resources support a wide range of other commercial uses, many of

which are significant contributors to both the national economy and regional

economies. These uses include mineral and petroleum exploration and development,

fisheries, agriculture, forestry and manufacturing activities (see RAC 1993m,

sect. 6.6).

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

22 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

2.40. Most of Australia's petroleum resources are located in offshore basins. There

are 38 offshore petroleum production installations: three in the Timor Sea, 15 on the

North West Shelf adjacent to Western Australia, and 20 in Bass Strait adjacent to

Victoria. About 78 per cent of domestic oil production occurs in the Bass Strait fields.

Liquefied natural gas exports from the Northwest Shelf make a large contribution to

Australia's export income.

2.41. The Australian Fishing Zone extends 200 nautical miles offshore. Covering an

area of 8.94 million square kilometres, it is larger than the continental land mass of

Australia (DPIE 1991). Although they are diverse and occupy a very large area,

Australia's fish resources are not as abundant or productive as those in many other

parts of the world. Few prospective areas of the Australian Fishing Zone are still to be

explored and Australia's catch of wild (non-farmed) fish is not expected to expand

significantly. Despite its small total production, however, Australia's fishing industry is

economically valuable (Kailola et al. 1993a, p. 17). The gross value of fishing

production in 1991 was about $1000 million (ABARE 1993b).

2.42. The coastal zone supports diversified agricultural and forestry industries that

are significant contributors to many regional economies. The sugar cane industry,

which is situated in coastal areas of Queensland and northern New South Wales, is one

of Australia's most important agricultural industries. Plantings of sugar cane have

increased since the early 1980s and currently total around 341 000 hectares

(RAC 1993m, sect. 6.6).

2.43. Most of Australia's manufacturing industries are located in the coastal zone.

Manufacturing output in 1992-93 represented about 13 per cent of gross domestic product.

2.4 CONSERVATION RESERVES AND AREAS OF SPECIAL

SIGNIFICANCE

2.44. There are many land and marine conservation reserves in Australia's coastal

zone. The major public land tenure class designated for this purpose is nature

conservation reserves. About 10 per cent of Australia's coastal zone is currently

reserved under this broad tenure, the large number of different types of reserves being

administered by various Commonwealth, state and territory agencies (see RAC 1993m).

2.45. The present terrestrial conservation reserve system comprises about

34 categories of reserves, each state and territory having a variety of reserve types.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 23

Table 2.2 shows the number and area of terrestrial conservation reserves in the coastal

zone of each state.

Table 2.2 Number and area of terrestrial conservation reserves within the coastal zone, by jurisdiction, 1993

Jurisdiction Number Area (km2) Per cent of coastal zone

New South Wales 256 17 882 15

Victoria 293 13 215 14

Queensland 403 27 098 10

Western Australia 502 55 071 11

South Australia 179 19 546 16

Tasmania 155 16 041 30

Northern Territory 11 13 774 7

Total 1 799 162 627 12

Note: Estimates are based on the drainage basin definition of the coastal zone, and include all conservation reserves occurring landward of the high-water mark. Marine protected areas with a terrestrial component are also included, but overlap with Table 2.2 has been minimised. Source: RAC (1993m),______________________________________________________________

2.46. The range of permissible uses of protected marine and estuarine areas in

Australia is defined in legislation. The majority of marine and estuarine reserves are

managed on a multiple-use zoning basis, less than 5 per cent being set aside solely for

nature conservation (Mobbs 1989). The largest marine protected area—covering

34.5 million hectares—is the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, which was established

by Commonwealth legislation in 1975. Table 2.3 shows the number and extent of

marine protected areas in Australia in 1984 and 1992: in that time the number of

reserves increased by about 36 per cent, increasing the area of reserves by about

15 per cent.

2.47. Many Inquiry participants expressed concern about the inadequacy of the

current reserve system in representing the range of ecological communities ol the

coastal zone, especially the under-representation of temperate marine habitats.

Although the percentage of the zone in reserves is in accord with internationally

recognised minimum reserve conservation levels (IUCN et al. 1991), the House of

Representatives Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and the Arts has

listed a number of coastal terrestrial ecosystems that in its view urgently require

protection (HORSCERA 1991, p. 24). These are areas of coastal heath, coastal

littoral forest, estuarine and brackish wetiands, and subtropical and temperate

mangrove ecosystems.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

24 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

Table 2.3 Number and area of marine protected areas in Australia, by jurisdiction, 1984 and 1992

Jurisdiction 1984

Number

1992

Area Παη2)

1984 1992

New South Wales 16 23 37 922

Victoria 20 29 50 518

Oueci.sland 67 133 2 168 47 204

Western Australia 11 16 9 11 445

South Australia 52 56 211 364

Tasmania 15 26 487 610

Northern Territory 4 8 2 581 2 584

C ommonwealth3 7 13 362 779 372 289

Total 192 304 368 322 435 937

a Includes Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. Source: Bleakly et al. (1993).___________

2.48. The coastal zone contains many areas included on the Register of the National

Estate and the World Heritage List. These areas are subject to the provisions of

Commonwealth legislation—the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975 and the

World Heritage Properties Conservation Act 1983. Just over half of all national estate

places in the coastal zone are found in New South Wales and Victoria; less than 10 per

cent are found in each of Queensland, South Australia and the Northern Territory.

The majority of these places are historic sites in metropolitan areas; about two-thirds

of them are in New South Wales and Victoria. Overall, about 60 per cent of registered

coastal places are located in metropolitan areas. Most of the sites registered on the

basis of natural attributes or their historic, spiritual or cultural importance to

indigenous people are in non-metropolitan areas (see RAC 1993m, sect. 5.2).

2.49. The World Heritage List is an inventory of places of outstanding universal

value. Eight places that fall wholly or partly in the coastal zone are on the World

Heritage List: the Great Barrier Reef, the Lord Howe Island Group, the Western

Tasmania Wilderness National Parks, the Australian East Coast Temperate and

Subtropical Rainforest Parks, the Wet Tropics of Queensland, Kakadu National Park, Shark Bay, and Fraser Island.

2.5 EFFECTS OF RESOURCE USE

-.50. Although human activities have affected resources in the coastal zone for many

centuries, particularly since European settlement, many changes in the type and

intensity of coastal zone resource use have occurred in the last two decades as a result

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 25

of increased urban development, changes in rural land uses and practices, rapid

expansion of the tourism industry, and increasing recreational use. These changes have

increased competition for the uses of many of the zone's resources and have resulted in

some losses of environmental and cultural amenity.

Competition between resource users

2.51. Competition between resource users is a significant issue in the coastal zone.

Building developments often have extensive land requirements in the most scenic or

productive areas of the coastal zone and need access to infrastructure (roads, water,

waste disposal, health and community services), recreation areas and commercial

facilities. This results in competition with other land uses, particularly agriculture and

conservation and in some cases tourism, mining and industrial activity. Increased

building activity in the coastal zone can disrupt existing land uses and lifestyles.

Property development imposes increased costs on local communities by generating

demand for more infrastructure and services.

2.52. Urbanisation of the coast can adversely affect the fishing industry by destroying

wetlands and polluting waterways. It may also constitute the greatest threat to

significant indigenous cultural sites in the coastal zone.

2.53. Tourism and recreation activities in the zone generally require a combination of

high environmental amenity and access to coastal sites, as well as infrastructure, capital

investment and support facilities. These activities adversely affect amenity and

diminish landscape values.

2.54. Mariculture developments are located in nearshore waters in harbours, bays,

estuaries and other sheltered areas. They require high water quality, a sheltered

location, ease of access, and proximity to processing plants, transport networks and

markets. Mariculture can be adversely affected by other uses that diminish water

quality, such as agriculture, industry and urban development. Mariculture can also

compete with uses that have similar requirements, such as conservation, recreation,

holiday homes, tourism and fishing.

2.55. In addition to the use of fisheries resources by the commercial fishing industry,

an estimated $2.2 billion was spent on recreational fishing in Australia in 1984.

Conflict frequently arises between the competing commercial and recreational fishing

sectors, much of it centring on 'fish thieves' (unlicensed fishers who sell fish), gill

netting in estuaries, freshwater fisheries and trawler by-catch (catch of non-targeted

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

26 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

fish) (Australian Recreational and Sport Fishing Confederation, Submission 588).

Conflict can also arise between both these sectors and indigenous communities, who

may rely on local fisheries for food.

Degradation of species and habitats

2.56. Degradation of coastal habitats, through direct loss or alteration to their

composition and structure, reduces their capacity to function effectively as ecosystems.

These ecological functions include circulating mineral nutrients and energy,

assimilating waste products, regulating the chemical balance of oceans, the atmosphere

and soils, and maintaining biological diversity (de Groot 1992). Inquiry participants

identified many ways in which coastal environments have been, and are continuing to

be, lost and degraded. The Australian Nature Conservation Agency informed the

Inquiry,

Nationally, the coastal zone has the greatest density of threatened species. The coastal area from Cairns to Adelaide and especially the north-east NSW - south-east Queensland region is of particular concern. The eastern

seaboard has the highest concentration of threatened land plants in the country, reflecting the extent of habitat loss as a result of agriculture, urbanisation and industry. (Submission 304)

2.57. Among the sources of coastal degradation identified by the Inquiry are the

following:

• Recreation on beaches and coral reefs damages intertidal and coral habitats

through trampling and excessive collection of live shells.

• Human activity introduces weeds and feral animals, leading to degeneration of

coastal habitats. This includes the introduction of exotic marine species as a

consequence of dumping ballast water in harbours and other inshore waters.

• Industrial and urban-sourced pollution has led to marked deterioration in the

water quality of rivers, estuaries and beaches.

• Dredging and extractive activities can degrade the seabed and adversely affect

aquatic fauna by increasing turbidity and sedimentation, introducing pollutants to

the water, and creating turbulence and the potential for erosion. •

• Sediments and nutrients derived from river catchments where the dominant land

uses are grazing and cropping can lead to degradation of water quality,

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 27

particularly in rivers and estuaries, threatening the viability of some ecosystems (including coral reefs).

• The clearance of mangroves and in-filling or drainage of wetland areas degrades

nursery habitats vital to many species, including commercially harvested fish and crab species.

2.58. To remain sustainable, fisheries stocks need to be maintained; although some

Australian fisheries have been managed on a sustainable basis, many have not. The

Review Committee on Marine Industries, Science and Technology found that the

dominant trend in the status of fished stocks is a gradual decline in production since

1983-84, despite continued expansion of fishing activities into new fisheries and the

application of improved fishing technology (DITAC 1989). The Bureau of Rural

Resources found that several fisheries have been severely overfished and stock

recovery remains in doubt (BRR 1992b).

2.59. Figure 2.6 shows the current status of Australia’s wild fisheries resource:

59 per cent of fisheries are poorly understood and 32 per cent are over-exploited to

some extent.

2.60. The final report of the Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Group

on Fisheries stated,

The current condition of Australia's fish stocks is the outcome of a century of interaction between governments and fishers (and other sectors having an impact on the resource), though the greatest threat to those stocks from overfishing has been over the last few decades ... If fish stocks are to be managed and remain ecologically sustainable for future generations, an incrementalist 'business-as-usual' view of the future will not suffice. It is

clear that a new, more holistic approach, is required (ESD Working Group 1991a, p. 83).

2.61. Fishing practices can also degrade habitats. Some fisheries affect populations of

non-commercial species through their harvesting practices—the unintended killing of

dugongs and turtles in some trawling operations is an example and is causing great

concern to indigenous communities in northern Australia.

2.62. Many Inquiry participants emphasised the importance of coastal wetlands,

which include coastal estuarine habitats, coastal lakes, tidal flats, seagrass beds and

mangroves. As important habitats for migratory species, as nursery sites fo r m any

marine species (including commercial and recreational species) and as valuable

recreational assets, wetlands are regional repositories of biodiversity. N um erous

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

28 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

Figure 2.6 Resource status of Australian fisheries

Uncertain 23%

Unknown 36%

Fully exploited 16%

Heavily exploited 7%

Over-exploited 9%

Under exploited 9%

Note: Percentages based on 100 major fishery groups. Source: Kailola et al. (1993a).

participants drew attention, however, to past and continuing loss and degradation of

coastal wetlands through in-fill for urban and agricultural development, including canal

estates, through use of wetlands for industrial and domestic waste dumps, through

pollution from run-off, and through inappropriate or conflicting uses of some habitats, resulting in weed invasions.

2.63. The release of urban stormwater and sewage run-off (which is often high in

nutrients, especially phosphorous and nitrogen) into inshore waters has led to

excessive algal growth and significant losses of seagrass beds. There has been a

reduction from 250 square kilometres to 72 square kilometres between 1973 and 1984

in the extent of seagrass beds in Westemport, Victoria, a loss of about 97 per cent of

all seagrass beds in Cockbum Sound, Western Australia, between 1954 and 1978, and

similar losses near urbanised coastal settlements in South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland (Brodie 1993).

2.64. There has been a significant reduction in areas of wetlands, particularly in urban

and industrial areas; for example, 75 per cent of wetlands in the Swan coastal plain had

been filled or drained by 1964 (Riggert 1974). Australia does not yet have a definitive

inventory of its wetlands. In 1990 the Australian Nature Conservation Agency

launched the Directory of Important Wetlands in Australia project, as part of the

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 29

Oceania Wetland Inventory being undertaken by the International Waterfowl and

Wedands Research Bureau. Using the Ramsar Convention definition (see RAC

1993m), the Agency is currentiy compiling information received from all states and

territories. It is anticipated that the Directory will be published in late 1993 and will

contain descriptions of about 500 to 600 wetlands.

Pollution

2.65. A large number of submissions to the Inquiry expressed concern about

discharges from sewage outfalls, run-off and discharges from urban, industrial and

agricultural activities, and sediment release from construction works and subdivision development

2.66. The main sources and types of pollution in Australia's coastal zone are 'point

source' pollution, which includes industrial effluents, rainwater run-off from urban

areas, and sewage discharges; and 'non point source' (dispersed) pollution arising from

activities such as land clearance, livestock production and agricultural activities,

including the use of pesticides and fertilisers. The report of a recent study of sediments

and nutrients in coastal catchments in Queensland illustrates the significance of

non-point pollution sources. Box 2.4 presents a summary of the main findings of that

study.

2.67. Most of the Australian marine environment is remote from high concentrations

of population and heavy industry and is relatively uncontaminated by pollutants arising

from human activities. There are, however, significant problems in relation to

pollution of the coastal and marine environment at local and regional scales. Despite

substantial reductions in pollution by heavy metals since the mid-1970s, levels remain

high in a number of locations, mainly near industrial areas, including the Derwent River

estuary in Tasmania and at Port Pirie in South Australia.

2.68. Contamination of coastal waters by nutrients and sediments derived from

various land-based activities such as sewage discharge, land clearance and agricultural

activities is a concern in many parts of Australia. Among the effects of this pollution

are the loss of large areas of seagrass beds from coastal lagoons, bays and estuaries

and blooms of algae in areas such as the Peel-Harvey estuary in Western Australia and

the Hawkesbury-Nepean river systems in New South Wales. Sewage pollution of

rivers and beaches remains a major problem in many urbanised parts of the coast

(Brodie et al. 1990).

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

30 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

Box 2.4 Sediment and nutrients in Queensland coastal catchments

In 1990 the Queensland Minister for Primary Industries, in consultation with the Minister for Environment and Heritage, established an Advisory Committee on the Downstream Effects of Agricultural Practice to advise on the impact of agricultural practices on coastal zone ecosystems, including the Great Barrier Reef, and to recommend programs for reducing adverse effects.

The Committee established a joint study based on 20 catchment groupings along the east coast of Queensland. The study found as follows:

• Catchments contributing most were the Burdekin-Haughton (2.83 million tonnes per year), North East Cape - Normanby River (2.10 million tonnes per year) and Fitzroy (1.86 million tonnes per year). The combined east Queensland total was almost 15 million tonnes of sediment entering the marine environment every year.

• Annual loss of sediment from individual catchments can be expected to vary by a factor of five or more in the wet tropics regions and by a factor of 100 or more in the drier southern catchments.

• Approximately 77 000 tonnes of nitrogen and 11 000 tonnes of phosphorus are exported annually from Queensland's eastern catchments: the Burdekin-Haughton, North East Cape - Normanby River and Fitzroy catchments making the greatest contributions.

• The bulk of sediment and nutrient export derives from grazing land; exports from cropping lands are more significant in the wet tropics catchments.

• Point sources of nitrogen and phosphorus make up only a minor proportion of total catchment exports, with the exception of the heavily populated Gold Coast - Beaudesert and Brisbane catchments.

• Current estimated annual exports of sediments, nitrogen and phosphorus from diffuse sources are around three to five times higher that those experienced before European colonisation.

• Catchments with high run-off rates have the highest estimated annual exports of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus per unit area of catchment: these are (in decreasing order) the Johnstone, Mulgrave-Russell, Pioneer-O'Connell, Tully-Murray and Proserpine catchments.

• From the perspective of discharge in to waters of the Great Barrier Reef region, total exports of sediments and nutrients are most relevant. Accordingly, measures to minimise soil erosion from grazing lands in large catchments require encouragement and implementation at catchment scale. However, the adoption of improved land management practices to limit exports of sediment, nitrogen and phosphorus at the farm scale will probably have the most immediate and beneficial effects in catchments with highest unit-area discharges.

Source: Moss et al. (1993)

2.69. The following are among the sources of pollution caused by land-based activities in the coastal zone:

• high nutrient loads that result in 'red tides', which are seasonal blooms of specific

phytoplanktonic organisms;

* agricultural practices that increase the sediment, nutrient and pesticide content of run-off that enters the coastal environment;

• a number of agricultural chemicals found to be harmful to marine organisms and

to pose a health risk for humans who eat contaminated fish and shellfish; •

• direct acute or chronic toxic effects from industrial discharges and dumping;

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 31

• the many contaminants that remain lethal for a long time after they are released

into the environment, so the effects may be apparent in several generations of estuarine and marine species;

• stormwater, which can be highly contaminated, containing chemicals and oils

picked up from roads, gardens, sediments and rubbish;

• domestic and commercial waste products, including litter.

2.70. Land use practices in many coastal catchments affect the water quality of

downstream rivers and estuaries. Pollutants such as agricultural chemicals found in

coastal streams are seriously affecting rivers and marine environments (see Box 2.4).

Some pollutants have had serious effects such as the malformation and infection of

edible marine species. Recent studies suggest that measures to minimise soil erosion

from grazing lands will probably have the most immediate and beneficial effects in

terms of reducing total export of sediments, nitrogen and phosphorus.

2.71. The Inquiry commissioned case studies of the extent of water pollution and

associated water quality management in a number of river estuary systems, including

the Hawkesbury-Nepean, Hunter and Derwent systems (see RAC 1993s). Box 2.5

compares the averaged measurements of specific pollutants in these river systems, with

the water quality guidelines of the Australian and New Zealand Environment and

Conservation Council.

2.72. Pollution from marine-based activities is also important Among the principal

sources of pollution caused by these activities are oil spills, dumping of dredged

material, releases of sediments from mining and organic compounds associated with

anti-fouling paints, ballast water discharges, and releases of sewage from vessels.

Maritime transport activity around the Australian coast presents a continual risk of

pollution of the marine environment by the various forms of liquid hydrocarbons,

chemicals, bulk and packaged noxious substances, and waste products either earned or

generated on board ships. Ship-sourced oil spills in ports are generally associated with

berthing, bunkering and other terminal operations and discharges of oily water

mixtures from the bilges of machinery spaces. Spills at sea can be caused by ship

collisions, stranding or other accidents or by the deliberate discharge of oily mixtures

from tanks or bilges. Spills occurring in harbours, estuaries or enclosed bays have

greater potential to affect coastal activities and resources than spills in the open sea.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

32 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

Box 2.5 Management of water quality

The Inquiry conducted five case studies to examine water quality in various catchments around Australia. The data gathered by the Inquiry were not intended to be comprehensive owing to the brevity of the studies and care must be exercised in interpreting them (see RAC 1993s). For example, some water quality figures are based on annual averages while others represent a single annual figure, making them only indicative of water quality in the river catchments.

Agricultural run-off: Hawkesbury-Nepean system Nutrient levels (particularly phosphorus and nitrogen) in the Hawkesbury-Nepean system are primarily the result of agricultural and urban run-off and sewage treatment plant waste water discharge. Total phosphorus levels in the system ranged from 12 to 160 pg/L, in 1992-93, which js a little higher than the range recommended by ANZECC's water quality guidelines (10-100 pg/L) for aquatic ecosystem protection. The guidelines are a conservative limit, above which algal blooms have been known to occur. The levels of total nitrogen in the system range from 1000 to 2750 pg/L, which is significantly higher than those recommended by the guidelines (100-750 pg/L). The acceptable total levels of nitrogen, like phosphorus, may vary significantly according to site-specific conditions. River flow rates play an important role in determining the acceptable level of nutrients. Thus, parts of the system where flow rates are low may be able to sustain only low levels of agricultural run-off without the occurrence of algal blooms. This is particularly the case in summer, when flow rates are lower and a greater amount of sunlight is available. Flow rates are also affected by dams providing water to Sydney and irrigation for agriculture.

Heavy metals: Derwent River estuary Significant levels of heavy metals have been found in water samples from the Derwent River estuary, including, cadmium, lead, mercury, copper and zinc. The occurrence of heavy metals in the River has been attributed to a zinc factory in the catchment area. Although the levels detected are well within ANZECC guidelines for drinking water, irrigation and livestock water, they are above the levels set for aquatic ecosystem protection. For example, the guidelines set a maximum concentration for lead at between 1 and 5 pg/L for ecosystem protection and the lead concentration in the Derwent River in

1986 was 6.4 pg/L. Similarly, the suggested mercury concentration is 0.1 pg/L, compared with 0.2 pg/L present in the River. If emissions of heavy metals into the River remain above ANZECC guidelines aquatic ecosystems may be at risk.

Salinity: Hunter River Salinity levels in the Hunter River ranged from 350 to 1200 pS/cm in 1992-93, depending on location, which is higher than the advisory limits for some water uses (280-1500 pS/cm, depending on use) suggested in the ANZECC guidelines and higher than the New South Wales Environment Protection Agency’s upper limit (700 pS/cm). The elevated salinity levels in parts of the River are mainly the result of two factors: waste water discharges from open-cut coal mining, and the reduction in river flow rates due to the extensive use of water for other uses, particularly power generation. Waste water discharges from mining in the area are particularly saline because of the high natural salinity characteristic of the area's geology. The process of electricity generation increases water salinity in waste water discharges because a proportion of the water used is released as steam. Power stations in the area divert more than one-third of the total yearly river flow of the Hunter region for use in electricity generation.

Note: pS = micro siemens—measure of conductivity, pg = micrograms (10~9). Source: ANZECC (1992a), RAC (1993s).__________________________________ _

2.73. To date Australia has been fortunate in not having experienced any cataclysmic

oil spills. The largest spill, the loss of some 17 000 tonnes of light crude oil from the

Greek tanker Kirki off the coast of Western Australia in July 1991, resulted in

relatively little environmental damage. Although reports of oil slicks at sea have been

more frequent in the 1980s and early 1990s than in the 1970s, this may be due to the

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 33

increasing number of ships using Australian waters or to increased surveillance and

more conscientious reporting. The prevention and control of ship-sourced oil pollution is discussed in Chapter 15.

2.74. Approximately 66 million tonnes of ballast water are discharged in Australian

ports each year, most of it having arrived in foreign cargo vessels (Jones 1991).

Ballast water discharge has the potential to affect marine resources through the

introduction of new species or disease, the release of contaminated sludges and

sediments, and the promotion of algal blooms (OECD 1990b). There are already

14 established exotic species believed to have arrived in Australia in ballast water

(Jones 1991). The implications of the introduction of such species and approaches to

the handling of ballast water are discussed in Chapter 15.

Cultural heritage

2.75. 'Cultural heritage' denotes places and things that have aesthetic, historic,

scientific or social significance or other special value for future generations as well as

the present community. 'Heritage' can refer to archaeological sites or buildings, or to

the way in which 'natural' areas are interpreted as part of a way of life.

2.76. Many parts of the coastal zone are of significant cultural and spiritual

importance to Australia's indigenous people: as the original occupants of the zone,

these people have had a long and close association with coastal environments.

Representatives of indigenous people expressed to the Inquiry concern about the

adequacy of current arrangements for the protection and management of the coastal

land, sea, sites and resources on which their cultures are based (see Chapter 10).

2.77. The main threats to many places of general cultural significance are urban

development and subdivision. Many sites on the Register of the National Estate are

conservation reserves or places within conservation reserves. Sites within

conservation reserves are afforded some protection, but sites outside reserves may be

vulnerable to degradation, frequently the result of a lack of knowledge and

documentation. The Australian Heritage Commission informed the Inquiry that

heritage values can be the cornerstone on which tourism is based and promoted, but

that poorly managed tourism can also destroy heritage values (Submission 340).

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

34 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

2.6 COMMUNITY VALUES AND ATTITUDES

2.78. The coastal zone is a place for leisure and recreation, for residence and

employment, and for enjoyment of the natural environment The coast is an important

part of the Australian ethos, a central component of the culture of many indigenous

communities, and a major contributor to the lifestyle of a high proportion of the

population.

2.79. Growth in the intensity of use of many parts of the coastal zone for residential,

recreational and development purposes is indicative of the great value that Australians

attach to this part of the country. Competition for many coastal zone resources has

increased, reflecting people's differing views about the values of the resources and their

use. Differing views are held about the functions of development, environmental

protection, aesthetic enjoyment, equity, and the appropriate role for governments to

play in resource management The Inquiry received evidence of the many different

values and attitudes people have in relation to these and other aspects of coastal

resource use (see RAC 1993q).

2.80. Ecological degradation of the coastal zone was the central concern for many

Inquiry participants. Specific concerns included water pollution from industrial waste,

sewage outfalls and agricultural run-off; dune and landscape degradation; and wetlands

depletion. These concerns were corroborated by survey evidence, which suggests that

Australians regard water pollution in the coastal zone as one of the nation's most

pressing environmental problems. Figure 2.7 shows that water and beach pollution is

consistently rated the highest of coastal environmental concerns. It also ranks equal

first among all environmental concerns, along with air pollution (data for which are not

shown in Figure 2.7). Loss or degradation of wetlands and rainforests as a result of

development is rated next in terms of coastal concerns, followed by over-development

of the coastline and mineral-sand mining.

2.81. The relationship between economic development and environmental protection

was a central area of conflict Continuing urbanisation of parts of the coastal zone,

particularly ribbon development, was of concern to many for ecological, aesthetic,

cultural or commercial reasons. There were many differences of opinion about the

advantages and disadvantages of tourist development. Despite these concerns, though,

most submitters were not against development as such, although many expressed

doubts about particular types of development. Those who represented commercial

interests were more concerned about constraints on development and more inclined to

accept trade-offs between economic development and ecological consequences. They

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 35

Figure 2.7 Trends in concern about coastal issues: percentage of those who are 'extremely concerned'

Water and beach · Over-development of 0 Development in Δ Mineral-sand pollution coastline wetlands and mining

rainforests

Notes: Respondents were asked in a face-to-face interview, 'Now I'd like to talk to you about your views on the environment. I’m going to read out some issues and I'd like you to tell me how you would rate your concern on a scale from 1 to 10. On this card you will notice that 1 is 'not concerned at all’ and 10 is "extremely concerned". How would you rate your concern

about: over-development of the coastline; development in wetlands and rainforests; inincral- sand mining; water and beach pollution?' (These items are selected from a longer list.) Samples were drawn from Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth.

Source: Frank Small and Associates (1992),__________________

emphasised the importance of the coastal zone for Australia's economic infrastructure,

including ports and shipping, and for particular economic activities such as mining and

fishing.

2.82. Aesthetic degradation of the coastal landscape was also a prominent concern

among Inquiry participants. Urban and residential development, the location of

specific industries in coastal areas, and pollution were identified as causing the loss of

important scenic coastal attractions, degrading the aesthetic quality of coastal areas,

and adversely affecting landscape values. Sewage treatment works, mariculturc

development, and the presence of dredges and transport vessels were also seen to be

impairing the aesthetic quality of coastal areas.

2.83. The differences in attitudes and values can be compared with findings from

several recent surveys that asked people questions about what they think are the most

important issues facing the nation. The most consistent finding was that unemployment and the economy were, by a large margin, the two issues of greatest

public concern, followed by the environment in third or fourth place. Economic issues

dominate at present but there is evidence to suggest that the environment is regarded

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

36 Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone

as the nation's most important long-term issue for government attention (see RAC

1993q).

2.7 CONCLUSIONS

2.84. Australia's coastal zone is a priceless resource. It contains complex and diverse

ecosystems that are subject to continual change caused by natural processes and the

effects of human activities. There is a strong desire to preserve the zone, and to use it.

2.85. Eightv-six per cent of the nation's population resides in the zone; almost half of

all population growth in Australia in the past 20 years has occurred in coastal zone

areas outside capital cities. A high proportion of Australia's fast-growing tourism and

recreational activities, all mariculture activity, almost all wild fishing activities (both

commercial and other), and a high proportion of industrial activity take place in the

zone. The challenge is to manage the pressures from increased resource uses while

maintaining the quality of the zone's natural environment

2.86. The principal source of population growth in non-metropolitan coastal areas is

migration from metropolitan areas, rather than natural increase. Population growth has

increased the intensity of use of many coastal resources, especially those associated

with housing, leisure and recreation.

2.87. Many current uses of coastal zone resources have significant direct, indirect and

cumulative impacts on the environment. Among the most important consequences of

increased resource use are continuing degradation and loss of many coastal habitats

(especially wetlands and fish-breeding areas), increased risks to endangered species,

over-exploitation of many fisheries resources, introduction of exotic species into

marine and terrestrial habitats, accelerated erosion and loss of coastal soils, and erosion

of dune and beach systems. Of particular concern is the declining water quality in

many rivers and streams, estuaries, wetlands and the ocean, caused by pollution from

urban, agricultural, industrial and marine-based sources. More intensive uses of

coastal resources are increasing the demands on the terrestrial and marine

environments to absorb these impacts.

2.88. Evidence presented to the Inquiry shows that the coastal zone is suffering the

environmental and social stresses of continuing urbanisation, which is occurring both

on the fringe of metropolitan areas and in an increasing number of coastal regions

outside capital cities. If no action is taken to change the way in which coastal

resources are used, there is a very considerable risk that ecosystems will be destroyed,

the recreational amenity of the coast will be degraded, and economic growth and

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Resources, values and uses of the coastal zone 37

employment opportunities will be lost; in short, the collective benefits provided by the

coastal zone will cease to be available to Australians.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 3 FUTURE USES OF THE RESOURCES OF THE COASTAL ZONE

3.01. Current uses of the coastal zone are creating serious impacts, and Australia's

future growth and development hold the prospect of even graver implications for the

resources of the zone. This chapter discusses major factors that will influence growth

and development and their implications for resource use and the way in which

resources need to be managed in the future.

3.02. Section 3.1 discusses the underlying factors that will influence growth and

development, particularly Australia's economic and demographic prospects.

Section 3.2 discusses development prospects in the coastal zone in relation to building,

tourism and mariculture. The Inquiry's conclusions about the future uses of coastal

zone resources are presented in Section 3.3.

3.1 ECONOMIC, DEMOGRAPHIC AND PHYSICAL PROSPECTS

Economic prospects

3.03. The rate at which future development of Australia's coastal zone resources

occurs will depend largely on the future growth of the Australian economy, which in

turn will depend largely on the future growth of the international economy. The World

Bank's scenarios for the world economy incorporate for major industrial countries

annual growth rates of between 1.2 and 4.0 per cent; for developing countries as a

whole the range is 2.9 to 6.5 per cent (World Bank 1991a).

3.04. A study undertaken for the Ecologically Sustainable Development Working

Groups provides some quantitative estimates of future growth possibilities in the

Australian economy (Adams et al. 1991). Among the study results of particular

interest to this Inquiry are the findings that dwelling construction in the 1990s is likely

to grow substantially, particularly in the second half of the decade, and that

non-dwelling construction will continue to grow at a much lower rate than general

economic growth. The study also concluded that tourism-related industries, which

include the provision of hotel and other accommodation as well as entertainment and

leisure-related services, will grow at much the same rate as overall economic growth.

Their growth rate may slow considerably after the turn of the century because of the

impact on domestic tourism of measures to reduce Australia's external deficit. The

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

40 Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone

depreciation of the real exchange rate for the Australian dollar assumed in the study

would increase the importance of foreign tourists to the tourism industry.

3.05. The Inquiry has not attempted to construct detailed scenarios of future

developments, but it has considered some of the broad implications of two different

scenarios relating to the demand for goods and services produced in the coastal zone:

one scenario assumes a high rate of economic growth and development; the other

incorporates a much lower rate. Box 3.1 sketches the broad qualitative implications of

these 'high growth' and 'low growth' scenarios.

Box 3.1 Some possible implications of 'high growth' and 'low growth' economic scenarios

High-growth scenario

The international economy Moderate growth of world population Gradual reduction of major economic imbalances Success of Uruguay Round of trade negotiations High rate of technological change High growth of real GDP and per capita income Real prices of primary products fall slowly Absence of major political tensions Continuance of strong economic growth in east and south-east Asia Environment versus development issues settled without major tensions

The Australian economy High growth of demand for Australian exports Expansion of exports of manufactures and services and increasing importance of trade with Asia Real exchange rate falls sufficiently to enable reduction in current account deficit to stabilise foreign debt/GDP ratio Real income per head rises steadily

Population growth steady (say, 1 per cent per annum, mainly through immigration) Population continues to age

Possible implications for the coastal zone Arising from increased affluence in world economy and decline in Australian dollar—further growth in number of visitors from OECD and Asian countries; further growth in demand for exports of goods produced in the coastal zone

Arising from growth of Australian population and its increasing real income—further growth of domestic tourism; further increase in number of retirees living in coastal areas

Low-growth scenario

The international economy Failure to curb population growth Continuance of major economic imbalances Failure of Uruguay Round of trade negotiations

Slow rate of technological change Slow growth of real GDP; stagnation of real income per head Real prices of primary products fall significantly Continuance of major political tensions Continued acrimony over environment versus development issues

The Australian economy Substantial fall in real prices of export commodities; increasing difficulty in finding markets for other goods and services

Insufficient fall in real exchange rate to contain external debt situation Population growth slow; immigration very restricted Little or no increase in real income per head Population continues to age

Possible implications fo r the coastal zone Slow growth in number of tourists from abroad Stagnant domestic tourism Relatively slow increase in pressure on coastal resources from tourism and other development Limited government funds available for resource management

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone 41

3.06. The scenarios reveal the importance of population growth rates for potential

increases in demand for coastal zone resources. The overall growth of the Australian

population will probably remain very dependent on the rate of economic growth,

principally because population growth is heavily dependent on net migration and the

level of net migration is in turn dependent on economic prospects. Variations in

economic growth in Australia, and in other countries, are likely to have a marked effect

on the growth in the number of visitors to the coastal zone; continuing growth in real

income per head, as envisaged in the high-growth scenario, will be accompanied by

high rates of growth in demand for tourism and related activities in the zone.

Irrespective of variations in the rate of economic growth, patterns of population

movement will continue to shape coastal settlement As the population of Australia

ages, greater numbers of retirees can be expected to want to take up residence in

selected parts of the coastal zone. The population also appears to be relocating to

coastal areas because costs are lower and the lifestyle is more appealing. Higher rates

of growth may accelerate these trends because they will probably be accompanied by

higher living costs in metropolitan areas, which will stimulate the movement of

population to other coastal areas (see Box 2.3).

Demographic prospects

3.07. Despite uncertainties about future rates of economic and population growth,

population projections can be used to consider some of the implications of growth for

resource use in the coastal zone. Medium-term projections made by the Australian

Bureau of Statistics are used here for this purpose.

3.08. Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections for the period to 2005

assume that, despite some changes in growth patterns within regions, overall

population growth in the coastal zone will be approximately the same as it was in the

decade from 1981 to 1991 and will be broadly concentrated in the same geographical

areas. If this happens, the population of non-metropolitan areas of the coastal zone

will increase from 4.1 million to more than 5 million and will account for nearly

one-half of total population growth in Australia. As in the previous decade, regional

projections suggest that most growth outside central metropolitan areas will occur in

coastal areas of Queensland, New South Wales, Western Australia and Victoria

(see Figure 3.1 and Table 3.1). South-east Queensland, coastal New South Wales,

south-east Melbourne and the areas north and south of Perth are likely to remain the

centres of population growth.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

42 Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone

3.09. The ageing of the population will probably be a very important demographic

change affecting the use of coastal zone resources; the proportion of the population

aged over 65 years is projected to increase until at least the middle of the next century

(see Table 3.2). The shift of unemployed persons and persons on social security

benefits into the new growth areas of the coastal zone is also marked. These trends

will have important implications for the demand for services. Providers of community

and health services, transport and housing in coastal areas will therefore have to take

greater account of the needs of the elderly and those dependent on social security

income. This will be particularly important in many coastal urban areas that at present

do not offer a number of the services available in larger cities.

Figure 3.1 Projected non-metropolitan coastal zone population growth, by state, 1990-2005

Queensland

New South Wales

Western Australia

Victoria

Tasmania

Northern Territory

South Australia

Population change (’000)

Source: RAC, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections.

Table 3.1 Projected change in proportion of population in the non-metropolitan coastal zone, by state, 1990-2005 (her cent) State 1990 2005 Change 1990-2005

New South Wales 22 24 2

Victoria 13 15 2

Queensland 45 49 4

Western Australia 32 34 2

South Australia 13 11 -2

Tasmania 42 43 1

Northern Territory 68 65 -3

Source. RAC, based on Australian Bureau of Statistics population projections.

3.10. Further growth in tourism and associated industries will be accompanied by

further increases in the workforce producing goods and services in many coastal areas.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone 43

Based on developments in the last decade, it seems probable that these trends will

continue, even if the overall rate of population growth is slower than it was in the 1980s.

Table 3.2 Proportion of persons aged over 65 years, 1971-91, and projections for 2001-31

Median age of population

Year Percentage (years)

1971 8.3 27.5

1981 9.7 29.6

1991 11.4 32.5

2001 12.3 35.8

2011 13.8 39.1

2021 17.6 41.6

2031 21.5 43.8

Source: House of Representatives Standing Committee on Long Term Strategies (1992).

3.11. Since 1961 the rate of household formation in Australia has been more rapid

than the rate of population growth (see Table 3.3). As a consequence, the average

number of people in households has fallen considerably; for example, in New South

Wales between 1971 and 1991 the average number of people in households fell from

3.09 to 2.62. The result of this was that growth in demand for new dwellings was

greater than population growth. Although the rate of household formation will

probably slow, it is expected to exceed population growth for at least the next decade

(NHS 1992).

Table 3.3 Growth in household numbers relative to population growth, 1961-66 to 1981-86

Period

Households (Ό00)

Growth (% p.a.)

Population (Ό00)

Growth (% p.a.)

1961-66 373.3 2.6 1091.3 2.0

1966-71 515.3 3.1 1156.1 1.9

1971-76 469.9 2.4 792.8 1.2

1976-81 528.4 2.4 1027.9 1.5

1981-86 518.5 2.1 1025.9 1.4

Source: NHS (1992).

3.12. Much of the supply of new housing could occur on the fringe of metropolitan

areas (Berry 1992). Many of these areas are in the coastal zone, and the demand for

residential land, buildings and support services in outer urban fringes near the coast

will probably continue to grow at a higher rate than overall population growth. As a

consequence, there will probably be further demands for development and use of sites

in areas of high environmental quality. The supply of housing will depend partly on the

availability of land in appropriate locations and the provision of infrastructure and

other support services.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

44 Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone

3.13. There is an increasing risk that the pressures arising from further development,

when combined with pressures arising from current resource use by both rural and

urban industries, will lead to significant impacts on the quality of resources in the

coastal zone. Unless adequately managed these pressures will, in many cases, lead to

deterioration in the quality of water and other important resources; as a result, the

sustainability of the resource base will be further endangered. The high quality of

Australia's environment, which is taken for granted by all Australians, will be lowered

and Australia's current international reputation for providing high-quality tourist

destinations and living conditions will be severely affected. Such an outcome would

have serious implications for the future of the tourism and associated industries, as well

as seriously affecting the high quality of life enjoyed by most Australians.

3.14. One approach to dealing with pressures arising from further development in the

coastal zone would be to consider the option of restricting the growth of the

population; a proposal made to the Inquiry would curtail immigration and move

towards zero population growth (Haselgrove, Submission 426). But evidence

establishing a simple and direct relationship between overall population growth in

Australia and environmental deterioration is lacking, particularly in view of the

improvements that have been achieved in reducing some types of pollution in recent

years (National Population Council 1991). A recent review by the Bureau of

Immigration Research notes that much of the environmental destruction that has

occurred in Australia took place or was set in train during the first 150 years of

European settlement, when the Australian population was far smaller than at present.

Further research into the relationships between urban and rural activities and

environmental effects is necessary before consideration can be given to the formulation

of appropriate policies to deal with this issue (Fincher 1991). It has not been

established to date that an increase in Australia's population is, in itself, the cause of

degradation of the environmental amenity of the coastal zone.

3.15. Although no convincing case has been established for attempting to prescribe

maximum population levels for Australia as a whole, it is clear that current patterns of

population settlement warrant consideration when strategies are being formulated for

particular regions and local areas. The so-called carrying capacity concept was

developed as a technical framework in which these and related issues might be

considered; it was initially applied to biological issues but later extended to encompass

broader considerations that ought to be taken into account when determining the

number of people that may make use of specific resources. After several decades of

experience the concept has been considerably refined and can be used to assist in

analysing some of the issues associated with development and conservation of

resources (RAC 1993a). The relationship between resource use levels, management

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone 45

and impacts of use is, however, neither simple nor uniform. Use limits may be avoided

or made more effective by alternative management actions such as user education,

investment in user facilities, and other strategies designed to enhance the sustainability of resource use.

Community attitudes

3.16. The demand for residential land, buildings and support services in the outer

urban fringe near the coast will probably continue at a higher rate than overall

population growth. Greater environmental awareness means there will probably be

continuing demand for development and use of sites in areas of high environmental

quality. The coastal zone currently has many such sites and they are likely to be

favoured for development. At the same time, concern for the quality of coastal

environments and the demand for better management of coastal zone resources and for

protection of high-quality environments will continue.

3.17. These underlying economic, social and demographic factors suggest that the

patterns of demand for use, development and management of coastal zone resources in

the next decade and beyond will be similar to those experienced in recent years.

Natural processes

3.18. Many Inquiry participants expressed concern that the impacts of the enhanced

greenhouse effect are not adequately considered in planning and management. As

described in Chapter 2, physical processes also have a significant impact on human

activities in the coastal zone. Management and development of resources in the

coastal zone need to take account of the potential hazards posed by natural processes,

the possibility of changes induced by the enhanced greenhouse effect, and the impact

of human settlement on these processes. Specific conclusions relating to research into

the management of natural hazards are put forward in Chapter 14.

3.2 PROSPECTS FOR BUILDING, TOURISM AND MARICULTURE

3.19. Future changes in the industries that are the principal focus of this

Inquiry—building, tourism and mariculture—will be closely related to both future

population growth and future economic growth; they will also be affected by social,

political and other changes.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

46 Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone

Building

3.20. If the number of people per household does not change substantially the number

of dwellings in the coastal zone will increase at least at the same rate as the population

increases; this suggests that a minimum of 400 000 dwellings may be constructed in the

non-metropolitan coastal zone in the next decade. If the ratio of dwellings to land

remains the same as it has been recendy (approximately 14 houses per hectare), these

additional dwellings will require approximately 35 000 hectares of land.

3.21. The principal component of coastal zone population growth will probably

continue to be rapid outer fringe metropolitan growth accompanied by some migration

from inner metropolitan areas:

About 90 per cent of urban population growth will be located near and beyond the existing fringe. To achieve a significantly higher degree of containment in this time horizon [20 years] would require truly radical policy interventions ... (Berry 1992)

3.22. For a number of reasons it seems that the patterns of urban development that

emerged in the 1980s will continue:

• Much of the land available in many growth centres has already been developed or

subdivided to accommodate urban development.

• Many of the growth areas have been identified as such by state and local

governments and their development is being promoted by those governments.

• Roads and some service infrastructure have already been provided in many of

these areas.

• Much of the undeveloped land in these areas has been purchased specifically for

development and there is a high expectation among landowners that further

development will occur.

Many of the dwellings in the coastal zone are intermittently occupied by owners

living in metropolitan areas, and many of them will be used as permanent dwellings as their owners retire.

3.23. There will probably be continued emphasis on construction of low-density,

detached, single-storey residential buildings in the coastal zone, although some

innovative forms of housing may be introduced, with resulting changes in land use.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone 47

There is considerable interest in pursuing policy and program reforms that will

promote better land use and coordination of urban development within and between

governments. For example, the introduction and promotion of national initiatives such

as the Australian Model Code for Residential Development (Green Street Joint

Venture 1990) and the Australian Model Code for Residential Development—Urban

(Australian Housing Industry Development Council 1992) could lead to a trend

towards housing forms that better reflect changing family structures, an ageing

population and changing economic circumstances.

3.24. Some initiatives have been taken to change the form of new housing. For

example, the Robina Central Park Estate in Albert Shire in south-east Queensland is a

high-density housing estate developed by private enterprise with the support of Albert

Shire, using technical and planning principles, which were developed as part of a

Commonwealth-funded urban development program. Promotion and policy changes

by governments and changing community attitudes and economic circumstances could

lead to similar initiatives in other areas. Some higher density developments could also

occur in the more expensive range of the residential market, although many such

developments are designed principally to meet the needs of people wishing to stay

briefly in major tourist destinations.

3.25. Nevertheless, the potential for extensive changes in the form and density of

residential development does not appear to be great. As a consequence, the sprawling

nature of much urban development in the coastal zone will probably persist for some

time unless policies are introduced to encourage change.

3.26. In addition to the many and diverse industries already operating in both urban

and rural areas of the coastal zone, many further commercial developments will

probably occur in response to the demands created by increasing numbers of residents

and visitors and by emerging markets for goods and services produced in the zone.

Much of the growth in manufacturing employment and associated factory construction

in the coastal zone in the last 15 years has been to support building and

land-development activities. Although there will be other reasons for development (for

example, further development of natural resources, including minerals) a large part of

private investment is likely to be in service and small-scale manufacturing industries

that are closely associated with land and building development and tourism growth.

The infrastructure required to service growing regional economies will also provide

many opportunities for further investment.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

48 Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone

Tourism

3.27. The coastal zone will probably remain the principal focus of tourism and

recreation in Australia. Current projections are that international tourism will grow

more rapidly than domestic tourism in the 1990s and that the number of international

visitors to Australia may exceed 5 million by the year 2001 (Chohan 1992). One

projection suggests that international tourism will grow at an annual rate of about

7 per cent during the 1990s and that annual growth in domestic tourism will be around

2 to 4 per cent in the same period (Department of Tourism 1992). As pointed out in

Section 3.1, the numbers of both domestic and international tourists will be heavily

dependent on economic growth in Australia and abroad.

3.28. It is expected that the bulk of visitors to Australia will continue to visit specific

major destinations in the coastal zone, including Sydney, Brisbane, Melbourne, the

Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef region and other parts of north Queensland. A

number of other locations will attract more affluent groups of tourists.

3.29. Domestic tourists will continue to make up the majority of visitors to most

other coastal areas. The preferred locations for coastal tourism developments will

continue to be those with desirable features (such as views and proximity to beaches

and relatively unspoilt areas), those where there has already been substantial

investment in facilities, and those that can offer a different 'lifestyle experience' (for

example, holidays centred on 'eco-tourism' and particular activities such as golfing or

fishing). Tourism developers are likely to continue to seek desirable locations in the

non-metropolitan coastal zone, such as those in far north Queensland, in the

Whitsunday region, in south-east Queensland, and in selected parts of the north and

central coast of New South Wales. Eco-tourism opportunities will probably also lead

to developments at isolated locations such as remote sites (for example, north-west

Western Australia, Cape York, south-west Tasmania and parts of the Northern

Territory) and islands off the Queensland coast. Many indigenous groups are showing

increasing interest in providing facilities for tourists and there will probably be a

substantial increase in the number of facilities provided by them.

3.30. Although a considerable amount of new investment in tourism is likely to occur

in the coastal zone in the next decade and beyond, new investment in high-quality and

expensive tourist accommodation and resort facilities is expected to be limited in the

short term, mainly because of the current oversupply of these facilities and the failure

of demand to grow at rates previously anticipated.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone 49

3.31. The decentralised nature of many tourist activities in the coastal zone means

that there will be increasing demands for infrastructure to satisfy the needs of the

increased number of tourists. Local governments already provide a wide range of

tourism infrastructure—roads, parking, landscaping, signs, rest rooms, camp grounds,

barbecue and picnic facilities, lookouts and water, sewerage and waste disposal

services, and so on. Many local government authorities in rapidly growing areas are,

however, having great difficulty in meeting the demand to provide these facilities:

While many local government authorities have been successful in developing the tourism potential of their areas, many do not have the resources to either plan or provide for tourism growth or take account of the broad regional impacts of development proposals. In this context, the coordination of tourism policies at the regional level is arguably one of the

most important challenges facing the tourism industry. (Department of Tourism 1992, p. 5)

Mariculture

3.32. Prospects for mariculture depend on further expansion of domestic and

international demand for various types of fish products. Recent reviews show that

world demand for such products continues to increase and that traditional wild

fisheries will not be able to satisfy the demand. Increasing demand for mariculture

products is projected, but Australian producers may face growing competition from

Asia and there is some doubt whether the majority of Australia's mariculture products

will be price-competitive on the world market in the medium term (Treadwell et al.

1992). The best opportunities for additional production of mariculture products may

lie in an expanding domestic market, particularly for off-season and high-quality

products, the supply of which from wild fisheries will probably decline. Further

expansion of mariculture is dependent on keeping costs at competitive levels.

3.33. If the mariculture industry is to grow further it will need additional areas for

production. Locations for such expansion will need to provide clean water and

disease-free environments that offer sufficient food sources and are not threatened by

predators. In many cases locations suitable for mariculture will also be suitable for a

variety of activities, such as recreational fishing and boating, other recreational water

activities, commercial shipping, and traditional uses by indigenous people. Mariculture

also requires foreshore land for a variety of associated facilities such as jetties, sheds,

pumps, waste disposal equipment and processing plants. Developments in some

locations may restrict access to waterways for other users and thus result in further

competition for the use of some coastal resources.

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50 Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone

3.3 CONCLUSIONS

3.34. Although it is not possible to predict the rate at which development will occur

in the coastal zone, a continuation of recent trends will place increasing pressure on

resources in many parts of the zone, particularly those that are attractive for residential

living, for meeting the growing demand for tourism opportunities, and for the further

development of other industries, including mariculture.

3.35. Pressures will arise from further development of resources required for the

expansion of agriculture, fisheries, minerals and manufacturing and from the provision

of infrastructure, including transport, energy, telecommunications and other services.

Coastal areas that will probably face the greatest pressure are those that have

experienced the greatest growth in recent decades—south-east Queensland, coastal

New South Wales, south-east Melbourne, and areas north and south of Perth.

3.36. The high percentage of the newly settled population in many coastal areas that

is elderly or dependent on social security pensions suggests that demand for services to

support their needs will increase.

3.37. Tourism and associated activities will probably continue to grow faster than

most other activities in Australia and will probably grow faster in many coastal

locations than elsewhere, specifically in the major international visitor destinations of

Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef and north Queensland. This

poses risks of environmental damage and consequent losses to the tourism industry if

this growth is not managed properly.

3.38. Overall, building, construction and associated activities seem likely to continue

to grow rapidly in many coastal areas, particularly to provide housing for further

increases in population. Despite the possibility of some increase in residential

densities, urban sprawl will continue in many areas unless policies are pursued to

discourage or limit this type of development.

3.39. Further development of the mariculture industry will be largely dependent on

domestic demand and will be accompanied by competition with other coastal zone

users for some of the resources required for the industry's expansion.

3.40. The coastal zone faces a crisis that is slowly escalating—the steady spread of

population into metropolitan fringes and new metropolitan settlements. The cost of

providing services and infrastructure is high where the population is thinly spread.

Ecologically sustainable development of the zone will require active management. The

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Future uses of the resources of the coastal zone 51

expected future patterns of population expansion mean that governments will

experience increasing difficulty in managing the areas to which people are moving.

There is an urgent need to rationalise the policies that determine settlement patterns.

3.41. Future growth and development will undoubtedly place serious pressure on

coastal zone resources. Coastal zone managers need to develop the capacity to

manage strategically if they are to achieve the long-term results they want, rather than

be saddled with unintentional effects such as those that result from current systems of

management. Growth and development require the application of carefully formulated

strategic approaches.

3.42. Strategic approaches are essential because of the number of uncertainties that

arise from natural processes, social changes, and the effects of growth in the

population and in economic activity in the zone. Approaches to resource management

must be sufficiently flexible to allow many possible outcomes to be taken into account when formulating management strategies. Techniques for formulating and developing

strategic approaches that have been developed in the public and private sectors must

be fully used.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 4 CURRENT COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT

4.01. Arrangements for managing the resources of the coastal zone are complex.

Many government agencies are involved, as are community-based bodies and

industries. Governments rely principally on regulatory mechanisms, and to some

extent economic and financial instruments. The complexity of the arrangements is a

function of the need to respond to several difficult matters—the intricate biophysical

systems of the zone, the diversity of resources in the zone, and the wide range of

values held by users of coastal zone resources—as well as the fact that coastal zone

issues invariably span the responsibilities of more than one sphere of government

4.02. This chapter provides an overview of the management mechanisms currently

used by governments in the coastal zone. Section 4.1 describes the legislative

framework and Section 4.2 describes existing regulatory mechanisms. Section 4.3

examines the funding of coastal zone management and Section 4.4 describes the use of

economic and financial instruments. Government institutional arrangements are

summarised in Section 4.5. In Section 4.6 the Inquiry puts forward its conclusions

about the existing management of coastal zone resources. The roles of industry, the

community and indigenous peoples in coastal zone management are discussed in

Chapters 9 and 10. Boxes 4.1 to 4.5 provide illustrations of the problems of coastal

zone management and their implication for the coastal zone.

4.03. In addition to the sources of information used by the Inquiry

generally—submissions, evidence and research—the reports of the case studies

conducted by the Inquiry in collaboration with the states provide additional insights

into the management mechanisms discussed in this chapter (RAC 1993j, 1993h,

1993n, 1993p, 1993r, 1993t).

4.1 THE LEGISLATIVE FRAMEWORK

4.04. Legislation provides the framework for the allocation, use and management of

coastal zone resources. It is used by governments to make regulations and to establish

agencies with responsibilities for programs, policies, agreements and direct

management of coastal zone resources.

4.05. Australia's federal system embodies a 'concurrent and non-hierarchical' division

of powers between the state and Commonwealth governments. The powers of the

Commonwealth Government are set out in the Constitution and all powers not

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

54 Current coastal zone management

specified or implied by the Constitution rest with the states. States may legislate under

concurrent powers but when a law of a state is inconsistent with a law of the Commonwealth the law of the Commonwealth prevails and the law of the state, to the

extent of its inconsistency, is invalid. Local government powers are conferred by state

legislatures, although local government is entrenched in the federal political culture.

(s. 109 of the Constitution; Galligan & Fletcher 1993, pp.l, 2). Information Paper

No. 1, Government Approaches to Coastal Zone Resource Management, describes in

some detail the legislative framework in each jurisdiction (RAC 1992b).

4.06. Although the Commonwealth has passed and administers numerous Acts with

direct implications for the management of the coastal zone, the legislative power for

management of coastal zone resources lies primarily with state governments (state

governments are responsible for 72 per cent of national expenditure on management of

the coastal zone—see Section 4.3). The states have enacted legislation that creates

laws on such matters as development control, planning, beach protection, fisheries and

forest management, environment protection, the establishment and management of

national parks and reserves, mariculture development, establishment of port

authorities, resource allocation and management, and the management of most public

land in the coastal zone. State legislation often also defines general powers under

which government agencies act and frequently devolves to agencies high levels of

independence to provide significant services such as water supply, sewage treatment,

port services, provision of roads, management of pollution, and management of

national parks.

4.07. Some states have supplemented planning and environment protection legislation

with statutes specifically aimed at coastal protection, including provisions for

administrative procedures and arrangements. In South Australia the Coast Protection

Act 1972 establishes the Coastal Protection Board to protect the coast from erosion,

deterioration, pollution or misuse on both private and public land and to engage in

environmental restoration. The Coastal Protection Bill currently being considered by

the Queensland Government consolidates into a single approvals process the approval

provisions of the Beach Protection Act, the Canals Act and the Harbours Act. It also

provides for the preparation of state and regional coastal management plans. In

Victoria the Crown Land (Reserves) Act 1978 establishes local foreshore committees of management.

4.08. State legislation, including Local Government Acts, confers on local authorities

powers to administer their jurisdictions and to make by-laws. Functions typically

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Current coastal zone management 55

Box 4.1 The problems of management: example 1—urban development

Canal estate developments in south-east Queensland The high concentration of population in the coastal zone has resulted in an increasing demand for coastal residential canal estates. There has been a proliferation of canal estate developments in

Queensland since the early 1950s. Many of these developments have had significant impacts on the environment. For example, they occupy low-lying land, resulting in the destruction of wedand habitats that provide the transitional zone between terrestrial and marine ecosystems and the subsequent loss of species diversity. In addition, waterways in the estates often contain high levels of

pollutants.

The environmental and economic benefits of wetland habitats have been discarded in favour of economic gains from canal developments. A lack of knowledge of the impacts of such developments and the absence of an approval system that adequately assesses the impacts of canal estates have resulted in a number of unsustainable developments. Existing canal estates also present continuing

management difficulties; for example, the maintenance of canals and revetment walls is a major cost for local government authorities. The Gold Coast City Council has recognised these difficulties and intense developments will require more precise planning guidelines and controls.

Management of coastal shacks in South Australia In the last 30 years a considerable number of shacks have been established on leased Crown land along the Yorke Peninsula coastline. These shacks have been developed as cheap holiday homes. Although they were built on legal leases, many of the shacks were poorly sited—in some cases built

on the beach itself or very close to it. Many of them were poorly built also with inadequate sewage and power facilities. Significant management problems were caused by, or associated with, the shacks, including coastal erosion and dune degradation, flooding, reduced public access and reduced amenity.

Despite numerous attempts to deal with the problem, the management of coastal shack settlements and the consequent impacts on the coastal environment are continuing management problems for rural local governments and state coastal management agencies. For example, in response to erosion problems, shore protection works were constructed, which are more likely to accelerate erosion.

Development of subdivisions in Tasmania Numerous housing developments along the Tasmanian coastline—for example, in George Town Municipality—have failed to take account of the ecological and landscape sensitivities of the area. Some of these developments have proceeded with a disregard for, or lack of awareness of, the

environmental consequences that might be associated with development. Problem areas include the impact of mobile dunes on residential areas, pollution, and expensive continuing maintenance requirements associated with increased recreational use of beaches. The development of coastal subdivisions has occurred with little attention being given to adequate street construction, drainage

and sewerage systems, water reticulation and refuse management The lack of adequate infrastructure has caused a number of problems: erosion from drainage discharges; pollution in various forms; damage arising from disturbance to vegetation; dumping of wastes; damage to inshore fisheries and wetlands; and so on.

The lack of a long-term strategic approach, coupled with the desire to develop land at minimal cost is creating management difficulties for councils in the area. The patterns of development resulting from this ad hoc approach may also hamper the efficient provision of infrastructure services.

Sources: R C Brisbane (Submission 159), Gold Coast City Council (1992), Queensland Conservation Council (Submission 298), RAC (1993n), Municipality of George Town ________ (Submissions 69, 359). ____ ______ _______________________ .______

delegated to local authorities by state governments relate to public health, waste

disposal, swimming, foreshore management, tree preservation, and the management of

land. Local governments are not usually responsible for the administration of

legislation directed specifically at coastal zone management, but they are involved in

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

56 Current coastal zone management

the administration of much related legislation. For example, local land use plans are

usually prepared by local councils in accordance with the requirements of state

planning legislation; in some cases they are used to implement policies related to

coastal areas.

4.09. The legislative framework is constantly evolving to accommodate changing

circumstances and community attitudes. Several states are currently engaged in

legislative reforms affecting coastal zone management. The Land Use Planning and

Approvals Package being considered by the Tasmanian Government is intended to

provide a framework for implementing the Government's policy of sustainable

development, economic growth and a more efficient approvals process. Substantial

legislative reform in Queensland, including the proposed Coastal Protection Act, is

aimed at achieving more effective and integrated management of natural resources,

reflecting the Queensland Government's holistic approach to the issue. In South

Australia the recently passed Development Act 1993 takes over the development

control functions of a number of Acts including the Coast Protection Act, which is

currently under review. The South Australian Government is also in the process of

preparing a supplementary development plan to insert uniform statewide objectives and

principles into each coastal council's development plan.

4.10. Despite recent attempts by state governments to consolidate and update

legislation, there remains a plethora of Acts affecting coastal zone management. It is

typical of the organisation of all states that important responsibilities for managing the

resources of the coastal zone remain dispersed among several government

departments, agencies and bodies.

4.2 REGULATORY PROCESSES

4.11. Regulatory mechanisms, such as council by-laws or conditions on development

approvals (in contrast with economic instruments such as user charges) are the

principal means by which governments control activities and allocate resources among

users and potential users of resources. Table 4.1 summarises the different management

mechanisms used by government. Regulations are used to control a vast range of activities in the coastal zone, ranging from the use of beaches for recreation to major

resource and tourism developments. Different approaches are used for the regulation

of private and public land and for different aspects of land and building development,

including building, subdivision, heritage, health, safety, environmental management and

land use issues. As a consequence, there are now over 900 regulatory systems

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Coastal protection Use facilities

Freehold

Approvals processes EIA procedures

Headworks charges Performance bonds

Management plans

Rangers

Management plans

8 E

p 00

58 Current coastal zone management

involving more than 1500 regulatory agents (more than 900 local authorities and

600 state and federal agencies) concerned in some way with the regulation of land and

building development (TASQUE 1992).

4.12. Regulatory mechanisms used to control the use and development of coastal

zone resources can be classified into three broad groups. The first comprises

mechanisms used to regulate access to and use of public resources such as fisheries,

mineral deposits, native flora and fauna, and Crown land. The second group comprises

mechanisms used to control the development of privately owned land and other

resources. Overlying both of these groups is the third group: mechanisms used for

environmental protection.

Regulation of public resource use

4.13. Approval systems governing access to and use of public resources vary

according to the type of resource. In the case of public land, every state has

legislation, usually a Lands Act, that establishes a regime for the management of

Crown land and the seabed within state territorial limits. This legislation determines

how Crown land may be alienated, developed and managed. In respect of specific

sectors of economic activity, the tradition among state governments has been to also

create independent systems of regulation for freshwater and rivers, minerals and fish

resources. These systems are usually based on separate pieces of legislation and

administered by different Ministers ( See Table 4.2). Although this sectoral division

facilitates regulation within each sector, it hinders decision making that integrates the

interests of different sectors. The result is that systems are disposed to function

without reference to other agencies or to broader government policy frameworks.

Regulation of privately owned resources

4.14. Land use planning and development control legislation is used to guide, control

and regulate many development activities. Although there are differences between the

states, all state systems have four elements in common:

• the means for establishing the use or uses to which a particular area of land may

be put, usually known as 'land use zoning'; •

• a process, often referred to as 'rezoning', for changing the use classification for a

particular area of land;

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

Table 4.2 Distribution of state government resource management responsibilities

State____________________________________________________

Responsibility Victoria_______ New South Wales Queensland_______ Tasmania___________ South Australia

Planning Department of

Planning and Development

Department of Planning

Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning;

Department of Lands

Department of Environment and Land Management­ Planning Division

Department of Housing and Urban Development- South Australian Planning Commission

Public land management: Crown land

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Department of Conservation and Land Management

Department of Lands Department of Environment and

Land Management - Tasmanian Property Services Group

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Environment Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Environment Protection Authority Department of the Environment and

Heritage- Environment Division

Department of Environment and Land Management - Environmental

Management Division

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

National parks and reserves

Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

Department of Conservation and Land Management -National Parks and

Wildlife Service

Department of the Environment and Heritage- Queensland

National Parks and Wildlife Service

Department of Environment and Land Management- Parks and Wildlife

Service

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Soil conservation Department of Conservation

and Natural Resources

Department of Conservation and Land Management

Department of the Environment and Heritage

Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries

Department of Primary Industries

Western Australia Northern Territory Department of Department of Lands, Planning and Urban Housing and Local Development Government

Department of Land Administration

Department of Conservation and Land Management

Department of Department of Lands, Conservation and Housing and Local Land Management Government

Department of Land Administration

Department of Conservation Conservation and Commission of the Land Management- Northern Territory Environment Protection Authority

Department of Conservation Conservation and Commission of the Land Management Northern Territory

Department of Conservation Conservation and Commission of the Land Management Northern Territory

Department of Agriculture

v ©

South Australia Engineering and Water Supply Department

Department of Environment and Natural Resources

Department of Primary Industries

Department of Marine and Harbours

Department of Primary Industries: Fisheries Division

Department of Mines and Energy

Western Australia Northern Territory Western Power and Water

Australian Authority

Waterways Commission -Water Authority of Western Australia

Department of Conservation Conservation and Commission of the Land Management Northern Territory

Department of Transport and Statutory Port

Authorities

Fisheries Department of Western Australia

Department of Minerals and Energy

Darwin Port Authority

Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries

Department of Mines and Energy

Current coastal zone management 61

• a process for regulating the subdivision of land;

• mechanisms for controlling building and other development on the land, in

accordance with building standards, design criteria, and so on.

4.15. State planning legislation generally provides governments with power to

prepare and alter state, regional and local land use plans and to regulate the use,

development and protection of private land. It also delegates substantial powers to

local government. Where local government has principal responsibility for rezoning

and subdivision there are often mechanisms to ensure that decisions are given final

approval by the relevant state government or are audited to ensure compliance with

state guidelines. Planning and building approvals are managed by local governments in

accordance with the requirements of statutory planning instruments. State legislation

provides for appeals against decisions made under the legislation regulating planning

proposals or the conditions attached to development approvals.

4.16. As a consequence of use over many years, regulatory systems have developed

into a complicated set of arrangements that permit consideration of a wide range of

issues from the broad strategic level (for example, strategic land use plans in

Queensland) to the very detailed (for example, building design and layout under

development control plans in New South Wales), and including aesthetic issues (for

example, heritage and urban design controls in South Australia) and economic issues

(the need for economic impact assessment for some developments in Queensland).

These separate matters are usually dealt with under several systems and most coastal

zone developments require several approvals; for example, canal estates in Queensland

can require up to 20 different approvals (Queensland Premiers Department 1989).

4.17. Conflict between developers and government planners is common. The

Commonwealth Government's Indicative Planning Council outlined the key areas of

conflict over local government processes for approvals, as identified by developers and

by local government planners (Indicative Planning Council 1992, p. 12). For

developers the areas were council procedures, processing difficulties within planning

departments, opposition by residents to development proposals, insufficient delegation

of decision-making responsibility to council staff, and lack of clear guidance from

council planners. Planners identified a different set of problems: inadequate information supplied by developers when lodging applications, lack of knowledge of

planning controls by applicants, failure of applications to comply with council policy,

insufficient pre-lodgement consultation, and failure of applicants to respond to requests

for additional information.

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62 Current coastal zone management

Box 4.2 The problems of management: example 2—tourism

Management of Green Island and Reef, Queensland Green Island is a small sand cay located on a coral reef approximately 27 kilometres offshore from Cairns. It has been used by tourists since the 1920s. In the 1970s various problems with the management of Green Island were evident. These were associated with building on a dynamic and relatively unstable sand cay, increasing tourist pressures endangering the natural resources of the

Island and Reef, and inadequate provision of services.

The need for an overall plan of development for the Island and a more effective management approach led the Queensland Government to establish the Green Island Management Committee to prepare a management plan for the area, completed in 1980. The Plan, though a useful document, was not successfully implemented. The main reason for this was the absence of a single responsible management agency.

By the latter half of the 1980s, Green Island's popularity as a day-trip and overnight tourist destination had grown significantly, resulting in adverse impacts. These included environmental impacts, a decline in the quality of infrastructure on the Island, and increased erosion, to the point of

threatening the physical stability of built structures such as the jetty. Faced with this increasing tourist pressure and the need for a more coordinated approach to management, the Government initiated work on the current management plan for the Island—the Green Island and Reef Management Plan, which was approved in 1993.

The Phillip Island penguin parade, Victoria Since the 1920s tourist interest in the fairy penguins that inhabit Phillip Island has increased substantially, from a few interested locals to up to 5000 people per night. Although the penguins are not endangered their numbers have been significantly affected. Breeding areas have been reduced in size by 80 per cent since the early 1900s as a result of a range of tourism impacts, including uncontrolled vehicular and pedestrian access and habitat loss due to tourism development. During the

1980s penguin numbers declined by approximately 45 per cent.

In response to these impacts and the inability of previous management arrangements to deal with the situation, in 1985 the Victorian Government announced the Penguin Protection Plan , which outlined a program of scientific research, a land purchase program to increase the size of the reserve, and the preparation of a management plan in an effort to halt the decline of the penguin colony. Successful

implementation of the Plan has resulted in significant improvements in wildlife protection and tourism and the numbers of fairy penguins are beginning to increase again.

Management of Sydney's northern beaches The northern beaches of Sydney are among the most popular beaches in Australia, for both domestic and international visitors. A major issue relating to their management centres around a lack of funding for local government.

Local councils bear many of the costs of beach management. They carry out dune stabilisation works, protect beach amenity and provide and maintain public beach facilities. But, while the tourist use of the beaches has increased, the financial assistance the councils receive for coastal management has not. For example, Manly Municipal Council's grant funding (Financial Assistance Grants—relating to councils' coastal responsibilities) has diminished each year since 1988.

Local councils such as those on Sydney's northern beaches are experiencing difficulty managing the impacts of tourism in the face of strong promotion, by state and Commonwealth governments, of tourism growth.

Sources. RAC (1993j), RAC (1993r), Manly Municipal Council (Submission 476), Pittwater _________Municipal Council (Submission 510).___________

4.18. Other areas of contention are the time taken to grant approvals and lack of

predictability in processes. Major projects that require multiple approvals and new

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Current coastal zone management 63

developments such as marine farms are more likely to suffer from delays. Australian

Paper Manufacturers submitted that 'industry seeks a clear and transparent process for

the assessment of development opportunities within the coastal zone and for the

resolution of conflicts. There must be certainty in the process which provides security of decisions once they are made' (Submission 213, p. 6).

4.19. In response to previous studies identifying delays as a major feature of

approvals systems, a number of reforms are currently in progress to streamline these

procedures and improve efficiency. These include the Local Approvals Review

Program, the Integrated Development Approvals System in Queensland, and the Land

Use Planning and Approvals Package in Tasmania.

4.20. One mechanism now in use is the 'fast tracking’ of approvals for large and

complex development projects considered to be of national or state significance.

Although this approach offers obvious advantages, a number of Inquiry participants

expressed concern about it, particularly in relation to the substantial amount of

ministerial discretion it allows, the lack of community consultation, and a perceived

failure to have regard to appropriate approval and environment protection legislation,

including adequate environmental impact assessment The Australian Conservation

Foundation suggested that the 'fast track' approach is in direct contravention of

Schedule 3 of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, which, among

other things, states that the level of assessment of projects should reflect the

environmental significance of the project and the degree of public interest

(Submission 589, p. 6).

4.21. Another concern is lack of regard for the total effect of successive approvals.

Local government administration usually relates only to matters within each authority's

jurisdiction and pays limited attention to matters affecting other areas. This has

contributed to the 'tyranny of small decisions', whereby the cumulative impact of a

number of small developments, which may individually cause minimal environmental

effects, generates significant and sometimes detrimental effects on the resources of the

coastal zone (HORSCERA 1991). According to the Australian Heritage Commission,

One of the major deficiencies of the current process for approval of coastal development is that it is frequently focused on assessment of individual projects, with little consideration of cumulative effects of a number of

developments within the same region. (Submission 340, p. 17)

4.22. The processes for obtaining development approvals are particularly complicated

when different tenures are involved. State and local governments, and in certain

circumstances the Commonwealth, may be involved, with a diverse range of agencies

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64 Current coastal zone management

having different requirements and operating different approval systems. Figure 4.1

shows the way in which mariculture developments may be subject to this multiple

approvals process.

Environmental protection and regulation

4.23. The third group of regulatory mechanisms—those designed to safeguard

environmental quality and values—consists of three sub-groups: environment

protection legislation; pollution control mechanisms; and environmental impact

assessment procedures.

4.24. Legislation is used to protect the environment through protective land tenure

and regulations dealing with land use. Most states have also introduced mechanisms to

provide some form of environment protection on privately owned land; for example,

soil conservation legislation, native vegetation clearance legislation, native flora and

fauna protection legislation, and land management agreements.

4.25. Pollution control mechanisms, including permits and licences, are used to

regulate air, water and noise pollution. Environment protection agencies are

increasingly being used to replace fragmented administrative arrangements and to

administer relevant environmental protection legislation.

4.26. In all states legislation requiring identification and assessment of the

environmental impacts of proposed developments is the principal means by which

environmental considerations are explicitly taken into account in the process of

approving development applications.

4.27. Environmental impact assessment procedures vary considerably between the

states. In New South Wales and South Australia environmental impact assessment is

part of the broader development approval process. In Western Australia and Victoria

environmental impact assessments formally operate as independent processes, although

in Victoria they are administratively coordinated with planning processes; in Tasmania

assessment is linked to pollution control mechanisms; and in Queensland the

requirement to consider environmental effects of coastal development is contained in

five Acts, with administrative responsibilities divided between state and local

governments. The Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation

Council is developing a national approach to environmental impact assessment

procedures. The Inquiry's views on environmental impact assessment are provided in Chapter 12.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

n

!

it coastal zone managemei

66 Current coastal zone management

Decision-making criteria

4.28. Both land use and environmental control systems rely on sets of criteria that

enable assessment of the development or use of the resources concerned. These

criteria take a variety of forms; many are broadly based and set out only general

parameters for development. They include the following:

• state, regional or local policies setting out the broad objective of development

(for example, regional environmental plans in New South Wales and strategy

plans in Queensland);

• development guidelines (for example, New South Wales coastal tourism development guidelines and Queensland Beach Protection Authority guidelines);

• documents setting out objectives and broader intentions for resource

management (for example, the Victorian Coastal Policy).

4.29. These criteria generally lack statutory force, either because they are advisory

(for example, the Australian Model Code for Residential Development) and are not

contained within statutory instruments or because they are broadly stated, open to

interpretation, and intended to be 'taken into account' in decision making rather than

applied rigorously (for example, state planning policies in Victoria). Other criteria are

more specific and are applied within statutory frameworks that allow limited discretion

and interpretation; examples are the water and air quality standards and development

standards contained in state and local planning instruments.

4.30. Assessment criteria in most states are usually part of separate regulatory

systems and are contained in a wide variety of documents; state legislation, regulations,

policy statements, management guidelines, planning schemes, codes, by-laws,

environmental performance standards, licence conditions, and so on.

Coordination of coastal policies and objectives

4.31. Although responsibilities for coastal zone management are typically spread

across several state agencies, a number of state governments have defined general

objectives for the management of coastal zone resources and established coordination

mechanisms. They are an important part of the management framework: they reflect

the broad intent of governments. Government objectives are expressed in legislation,

government policy statements and other documents prepared by government agencies.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Current coastal zone management 67

Box 4.3 The problems of management: example 3—mariculture

Norfolk Bay Aquaculture Management Plan The Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries developed a management plan for aquaculture in the Norfolk Bay region to provide a basis for the sustainable management of the industry. The Plan aimed to redress concerns about the timeliness of the approvals process, lack of

information for decision making, resource use conflicts and objections to mariculture development applications, future development of aquaculture in the region, and the management and control of existing farms. The Plan was intended as a management tool for the Department, particularly for new marine farm developments. It attempted to integrate mariculture with other resource uses and thus reduce conflict over the allocation of new marine farm leases. Guidelines were provided for development control consistent with other resource uses, maximising the benefit of aquaculture to the

community, to provide economic efficiency for marine farmers, and to improve the environmental monitoring of marine farms.

The Plan was an administrative plan, with no statutory basis. A decision on the allocation of a marine farm lease was made soon after the Plan's release. The application was the subject of a number of objections, which ultimately resulted in an appeal through the court system. The appeal became the longest ever over a marine farm lease application, concluding in refusal to approve the plan. During

proceedings the Magistrate considered the Plan inadmissable (since it was not a legal document) and would permit only the application and original objections to be presented. This resulted in the Plan being confined to the status of a guide for prospective applicants for a marine farm licence, thus limiting its potential in preventing conflict between marine farms and other uses.

Municipality of Circular Head—Dairy Effluent Program Oyster growers at Circular Head in Tasmania's north-west were adversely affected by poor water quality caused in part by dairy farming effluent discharges. This resulted in the allocation of a 'restricted' classification to Duck Bay oysters. This classification is allocated as part of the Tasmanian

Shellfish Quality Assurance Program to oysters in areas with chronic low levels of pollution (typically animal faecal pollution) that may fluctuate unpredictably. Areas with a restricted classification may be used only as nursery areas. Microbial contamination occurring after heavy rainfall often results in temporary closures of oyster farms. In 1981 several oyster farms in the Duck River estuary were

permanently closed as a result of such contamination.

With the assistance of several state government departments, the Municipality of Circular Head established a working group including representatives from the dairy farming industry to investigate solutions to the problem. A technical committee was established and inspected each dairy farm and allocated a priority for action to each adjacent stream. Depending on the rating, farms were given a

time within which they were required to install equipment to use the dairy effluent to spray onto farm pastures. The committee provided all farmers with substantial information and advice to assist them in meeting their obligations. It is expected that by 1996 all effluent will be contained within each

dairy farm. Licences issued under the Tasmanian Quality Assurance Program have now been upgraded from 'restricted' to 'approved conditional' and it is hoped that by 1996 they will be upgraded to 'approved', the highest category.

The Dairy Effluent Program represents a successful community-based, non-regulatory and non-statutory approach to the resolution of a natural resource management problem. The Program has now been extended throughout Tasmania. The Tasmanian Department of Environment and Land Management, in conjunction with the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries, has prepared

guidelines for the Program.

Source: RAC (1993p), Municipality of Circular Head (Submission 310).___________________ _____

4.32. Some state governments, and the Commonwealth, have made or are preparing

policy statements containing broad objectives for coastal zone management at all

levels. These include, for example, A Coastal Policy for Victoria (1991) and A Draft

Policy for Commonwealth Responsibilities in the Coastal Zone (1992).

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68 Current coastal zone management

4.33. Although there are some differences in state coastal policy statements, the

broad objectives, whether explicit or implicit, draw heavily on the concepts of

ecologically sustainable development, and reflect the following:

• balancing conservation and development of coastal resources;

• protecting resources while maintaining use and enjoyment of the coast;

• protecting ecological, cultural, indigenous, historic and scientific features;

• understanding and protecting natural systems and processes and incorporating this

understanding in decision making;

• enhancing the role of planning (including regional planning) and environmental

impact assessment in the allocation of coastal resources;

• protecting and enhancing the visual amenity and character of the coast;

• preserving public access to the coast;

• facilitating public participation in decision making.

4.34. Rarely, however, do these policy approaches rarely seek to integrate social,

economic and environmental goals in a single framework. Most of the stated

objectives are sectorally based, concerned with either particular resources or particular

areas; for example, the management of fish resources or coastal reserves. In the

absence of a holistic approach and an integrating mechanism, these objectives

sometimes conflict, both within and between spheres of government (see RAC 1993e).

4.35. Despite the fact that local governments have greatest responsibility for the

management of coastal zone resources, many local governments have no specific

coastal policies or objectives relating to their areas of jurisdiction. Many local

authorities do, however, have sectoral objectives that indirectly affect coastal zone

management, including those relating to programs for the management of open spaces, roads and infrastructure.

4.36. The case studies conducted by the Inquiry in collaboration with the states

showed that implementation programs have not been devised to achieve many of the

stated objectives of the policies, nor have associated programs been translated into

explicit objectives for state agencies or local government. Where programs have been

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Current coastal zone management 69

established, arrangements to monitor progress in achieving objectives are limited. As a

consequence, the degree to which coastal zone management policies are being

supported by management practices appears to be limited.

4.37. Most states have established coastal committees (comprising mainly

representatives of government agencies) to assist in the coordination of coastal

resource management and the implementation of coastal policy and to provide advice

to government on coastal resource use and protection. These arrangements include

the Coastal Management Committee in the Northern Territory, the Coastal

Management Coordinating Committee in Western Australia, the Coastal Committee of

New South Wales, and the Victorian Coastal Management and Coordination Committee.

4.38. In spite of the existence of these mechanisms, there is among government,

industry and community representatives who participated in the Inquiry a perception

that unnecessary functional duplication and overlap between agencies responsible for

coastal zone management are characteristic of existing coastal management. For

example, the Council of the Shire of Flinders in Victoria submitted that approval for

the use of Crown foreshore land is required by both local government and the

Victorian Department of Conservation and Environment and that this frustrates many

worthwhile projects (Submission 294). The fragmentation of agency responsibility

causes confusion about where responsibility resides and suggests inadequate

coordination between and within governments.

Processes of reform

4.39. The case studies of coastal management in selected areas around Australia that

the Commission conducted jointly with the states demonstrated the management

difficulties caused by of lack of coordination. This problem is particularly acute when

resources straddle both terrestrial and marine areas (Australian Conservation

Foundation, Submission 589, p. 23; Australian Petroleum Exploration Association,

Submission 553, p. 3) and is a hindrance to efficient management of mariculture and

offshore petroleum exploration. Other areas where lack of coordination causes

particular problems are when developments affect both public and private land tenures

(Wescott, Submission 530, pp. 12-14) and when components of proposals are subject

to different approvals processes.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

70 Current coastal zone management

Box 4.4 The problems of management: example 4—coastal processes

From the mid-1960s sand on beaches at the southern end of the Gold Coast was not being naturally replenished after storms. The source of the problem was traced to the training walls built at the mouth of the Tweed River, just south of the Queensland-New South Wales border.

The natural situation Beach erosion often occurs on the Gold Coast during heavy seas. Under normal circumstances the sand from the immediate beach and dunes is carried out to sea by large waves, to form a sand bar just

offshore. When wave conditions return to normal the sand is pushed back up onto the beach and on-shore winds carry dry sand into dunes, where it is trapped by vegetation, thus rebuilding the dune. This natural movement of sand to and from the beach does not affect the long-term character and use of the beach. On the Gold Coast and the north coast of New South Wales there is a natural drift of sand up the coast caused by the along-shore current. Thus beaches in the Gold Coast have their sand stock further replenished by this progressive sand movement.

Development effects When development changes the dynamic nature of the processes associated with sand movement it can create serious problems. Construction of training walls to prevent sand filling the Tweed River shipping channel, thus interrupting the natural processes, has had long-term adverse effects; for example, the permanent loss of sand from southern Gold Coast beaches, extensive erosion and beach

loss, and a large build-up of sand on the southern side of the walls. Loss of beaches on the Gold Coast has the potential to seriously reduce the attractiveness of the area for tourists, which would create a corresponding reduction in the economic input of tourism to the local economy.

Measures to overcome the problems Since 1970, $40 million has been spent on beach replenishment by Gold Coast City Council and the Queensland Government. With an increasing amount of work still to be carried out, the Council believes it is unlikely that it will be able to support the financial burden of continued replenishment.

Several solutions to the erosion problem have been canvassed. First, Gold Coast City Council has investigated the viability of pumping sand from large offshore deposits to restore and stabilise beaches. Estimates suggest that between 10 and 15 million cubic metres of sand would be required to provide an adequate storm buffer for the beaches. The Council has anticipated that this type of initiative would be expensive, although experience has shown it to be a very effective method of sand replenishment. Second, the Council requires that all excess clean sand from building excavations within 500 metres of the shore be deposited, profiled and stabilised on that beach. This method has provided approximately 750 000 cubic metres of sand for beach replenishment in the past five years. Third, any sand replenishment scheme requires vegetation to be planted and beach access to be controlled (through fences and access paths) to enable dunes to be stabilised and protected from wind and water erosion. Finally, a sand bypass system has been proposed at the mouth of the Tweed River.

Ibis system would pump sand (approximately 500 000 cubic metres annually) trapped on the southern side of the training walls to beaches on the northern side. Thus the sand drift to Gold Coast beaches would be restored and the sand levels maintained, and siltation problems in the shipping channel would be obviated. A bypass system would be expensive, the initial cost being in the order of $8 million and annual operating expenses approximately $750 000. Such a system operates effectively at the mouth of the Gold Coast Seaway, just north of the affected area

Source: Gold Coast City Council (Submission 165, att.)._____________________________________

4.40. A number of policy and legislative reforms have been made at Commonwealth

and state levels to try to improve coordination among responsible agencies and across

the three spheres of government. In state governments there is growing recognition of

the problems caused by the dispersal among a number of agencies of responsibilities

for management of coastal zone resources. This has resulted in revision of some

procedures to take account of a wider range of policy considerations, often by using

coordinating mechanisms between government agencies. Whole of government'

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Current coastal zone management 71

approaches to legislation and policy formulation, such as those being followed by the

Queensland Government, may also lead to substantial improvements in fragmented approaches to coastal management.

4.41. Attempts are being made by state and local governments to improve the

regulatory framework. For example, the Tasmanian Government is considering

developing marine planning schemes to operate in conjunction with local government

planning schemes to better integrate marine and terrestrial management systems. A

number of states now require government agencies to conform with planning

legislation to provide more consistency in the development of private and public land,

and some state governments are broadening their approach to include multisectoral and

wider environmental considerations.

4.42. Despite recent changes to management systems, major weaknesses remain in

current regulatory and approvals mechanisms. The most important is that generally

decisions such as zonings, road construction, developments or subdivisions do not pay

sufficient regard to the wider impact of the change. Often this is the result of dispersal

of responsibility for different functions among several agencies. Existing arrangements

are also ineffective and inefficient in resolving conflicts among users of coastal zone

resources. As the South Australian Department of Premier and Cabinet stated, 'There

are major problems, still, in resolving conflict in allocating resources' (Submission 121,

p. 2). Conflicts between developers and communities about development proposals

often are eventually resolved through costly and time-consuming litigation or formal

arbitration.

4.43. The most serious overall shortcoming is that, despite frequent preparation of

policies to manage the coastal zone, promulgation of sets of objectives, creation of

coordination mechanisms and frequent overhauls of administrative machinery, the

collective process of land and resource management in Australia is producing

unanticipated consequences, in particular degradation of the coastal environment. One

notable result is that Australia is experiencing an urban sprawl into the coastal zone,

with effects that were never intended.

4.3 CURRENT FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS

4.44. An important determinant of coastal zone management is the level and nature of

government expenditure. In the Inquiry's estimate, total expenditure by agencies of the

three spheres of government (including water supply, sewerage and other authorities)

on various aspects of resource management in the coastal zone totalled approximately

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72 Current coastal zone management

$7.6 billion in 1991-92. State agencies were responsible for approximately 72 per cent

of this expenditure, local governments about 23 per cent, and the Commonwealth

about 5 per cent (See Figure 4.2). Further information about expenditures by state,

local and Commonwealth spheres of government is provided in Chapter 17; the details

of these estimates are provided in Information Paper No. 7 (RAC 1993d). While these

estimates are the best available they should be treated with caution: governments do

not clearly identify coastal zone management as a program or function in their

accounts. A few coastal expenditure items are readily identifiable, but most

expenditure is either subsumed in programs that are not focused specifically on the

coastal zone or distributed among agencies that share responsibilities for management

Figure 4.2 Direct expenditure by governments on management of coastal zone resources, 1991-92

Total: $7635m

Commonwealth: 5% ($373m)

4.45. These figures include expenditure on the management of natural resources in

offshore, foreshore and coastal catchment areas, expenditure on the provision and

management of basic infrastructure such as sewerage, water, ports and maritime

services, and expenditure on research into coastal zone issues. Expenditure is funded

from budgetary allocations, transfers from other governments, and receipts from

external sources such as industry levies and fees for service, including charges for the

supply of water and sewerage and the use of ports and other facilities. Costs

associated with the provision of roads and other transport facilities, energy, and social,

educational and health services are excluded from the estimates.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

4.46. Figure 4.3 shows that government expenditures are dominated by the costs of

sewerage, sanitation and drainage, and land and water management; for example,

water supply, conservation and natural resource management. Next most important

are expenditures on coastal infrastructure; for example, provision and management of

port facilities, coastal protection and stabilisation, and urban renewal works.

Expenditures on marine resource management—including fisheries, estuaries and

waterways—and on resource use policy and planning each amount to about 4 per cent

of total government expenditure.

4.47. The marked imbalance between the taxing capacities and the expenditures of

the three spheres of government is a distinctive and well-known feature of Australia's

federal fiscal arrangements (see, for example, James 1992). As a consequence of the

fact that a single income tax system is used, the Commonwealth collects about 50 per

cent more revenue than it needs to finance its own outlays and transfers the balance to

the states. The states raise directly only about half of the revenue needed to finance

their general budgetary outlays, most of the balance is met by general grants from the

Commonwealth. Local government has a shortfall in revenue equal to about

one-quarter of its outlays the shortfall being met principally through an extensive

system of grants from state and Commonwealth governments.

4.48. The major disadvantage of existing fiscal arrangements is that many decisions

about government expenditure are divorced from revenue-raising capacities.

According to Professor Russell Mathews, formerly Director of the Centre for Research

into Federal Financial Relations at the Australian National University,

... the overriding weakness is that no level of government is responsible for the essential budgetary process of linking revenue-raising and spending decisions. The Commonwealth government lacks the information necessary to form judgments about Stole and local expenditure levels and

priorities, while State and local governments are able to avoid most of the responsibility for determining the extent to which funds are provided to finance those expenditures. (Mathews 1985, p. 21)

4.49. In particular, many local government authorities referred to the gap between the

coastal management responsibilities of councils and their financial resources.

According to the Australian Local Government Association,

From a local government perspective there appears to be a tendency of central governments to create worthy programs in response to community demand, to then rely on Local Government networks to coordinate and deliver services and, when politically expedient, to then 'rationalise', leaving

Local Government to meet raised community expectations without adequate financial support (Submission 66, p. 9)

___________________________________________________ Current coastal zone management 73

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74 Current coastal zone management

Figure 4.3 Areas of government expenditure on management of coastal zone resources, 1991-92

Total $7635m

Source: Adapted from RAC (1993d).

4.50. Difficulties in raising funds are often aggravated by local opposition to rate

increases to pay for infrastructure costs associated with people who visit coastal areas

but do not contribute directly to local government revenues. Constraints on rate

increases, decreasing grants from state and Commonwealth governments, rising

community expectations and growing tourist numbers were cited as sources of

financial pressure by many local governments that participated in the Inquiry. Basic

services such as roads, sewerage, drainage and sanitation were often nominated as

requiring additional funds, together with foreshore facilities and coastal rehabilitation projects.

4.51. Financial difficulties also lead to an inability to employ the expertise required for

coastal management programs: this is particularly the case for local government. In

some cases financial difficulties mean that coastal management plans cannot be

implemented. In Western Australia, for example, more than half of the 45 coastal

councils have prepared such plans but, according to the Western Australian Municipal

Association, none has been fully implemented because of a lack of financial resources (Submission 272, p. 2).

4.52. State government funding pressures on coastal zone management arise mainly

from the need to upgrade coastal infrastructure to levels consistent with sustainable use

of coastal resources. Infrastructure is being placed under considerable stress from

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Current coastal zone management 75

expanding populations and industrial activities and it is questionable whether new and

replacement expenditure is sufficient to maintain the quality of services provided.

States are under increasing pressure to increase resources for conservation

management and to purchase freehold areas with high conservation values and retain

them in public ownership. The pressures arising from these sources are aggravating

the impacts of fiscal imbalance: states face increasing pressures to increase resources

for management in the coastal zone but do not have the financial resources at their

disposal to meet these demands.

4.53. Although the Commonwealth spends less on direct coastal zone management

than either the states or local government, its domination of federal financial

arrangements means that it can greatly influence the overall level of resources available

for coastal zone management and the allocation of those resources to particular

activities.

4.4 THE USE OF ECONOMIC INSTRUMENTS IN THE COASTAL ZONE

4.54. Although the management of coastal zone resources is dominated by regulatory

approaches, a wide range of economic and financial instruments is also being used for a

variety of purposes. This section describes the main instruments currently in use.

Chapter 13 discusses issues relating to these instruments in greater detail. The Inquiry

contracted the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics to conduct

case studies of a number of the instruments, to provide information about how they

operate in practice and whether they achieve their objectives (see ABARE 1993c).

Table 4.3 shows the instruments studied. The results of several of the case studies are

also summarised in this section.

Charges and taxes

4.55. Charges for resource-related services in the coastal zone are widely used;

examples are effluent charges, cost recovery fees, developer contributions and rentals.

Many of these charges are based on the user-pays and polluter-pays principles, but the

degree to which they accurately reflect the costs, including environmental costs, of

resource use varies greatly. Cost recovery fees are generally designed to recover at

least some of the costs of managing resources; they include fees for entry to national

parks and for car parking and camping, and charges imposed on some commercial

users o f resources. Revenue from fees is usually paid into the general revenues of

governments. In some cases it is made available to the agency responsible for

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Current coastal zone management 77

managing the resources concerned. The revenue raised by fees can be substantial: in

1992-93 the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service raised $21 million

through the sale of concessions, the issue of licences, and the collection of royalties, fines and user charges.

4.56. Some charges—for example, parking fees at metropolitan beaches—provide net

revenues that relieve local ratepayers of some of the costs of facilities used by visitors

to the areas concerned and discriminate in favour of ratepayers and residents for beach

parking. Warringah Shire Council, which is responsible for a number of Sydney's

northern beaches, estimates that about one-quarter of its annual expenditure on the

maintenance of beach facilities is covered by the net revenue from car parking charges

at beaches in the Shire. While there are some inefficiencies associated with beach

parking charges, such as cross-subsidisation between various beach user groups, the

charges achieve their main purpose of raising revenue to help meet the costs of beach

management (ABARE 1993c, p. 130).

4.57. Other charges or taxes are levied to help meet costs arising from particular

activities. The Northern Territory Government imposes a tourism marketing levy on

accommodation charges, and commercial and residential property owners who rent to

tourists pay a levy on the unimproved capital value of the property to the Gold Coast

Council; in both cases the proceeds are used to promote tourism. The Northern

Territory levy is currently 5 per cent of accommodation charges: in 1992-93 it raised

an estimated $4 million, contributing approximately 20 per cent of the total

expenditure of the Northern Territory Tourist Commission. The Gold Coast levy

raised $1.1 million in 1992-93, most of which went to the Gold Coast Visitors Bureau.

Administration costs do not appear significant in the Northern Territory; in the Gold

Coast costs were high in 1992-93, which was the year of implementation, but are

expected to fall significantly in future years (ABARE 1993c). In both cases the levies

have been effective as a means of contributing funds for tourism marketing; they have

not been used to regulate the level of tourism use in order to reduce adverse

environmental impacts.

4.58. Differential rating systems are used by many local authorities in the coastal

zone. For example, Manly Municipal Council in Sydney applies a special differential

rate on commercial business to help fund tourism promotion, cleaning of the beach and

pedestrian mall, and maintenance of parks and reserves. In 1992 approximately

83 per cent of the $1.9 million collected was used to fund management of visitor-

related impacts.

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78 Current coastal zone management

4.59. Following the enactment of the Commonwealth Government's Primary

Industries and Energy Research and Development Act 1989, industry levies are

collected to help fund independent research and development corporations. For

example, a levy on the gross revenues of commercial fishing catches is used to fund

research grants made by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation. The

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has also recently introduced a small charge

on tourism and mariculture operators to fund research, education and management

projects at the recently established Reef Research Centre. Although these levies have

been successful in raising revenue, difficulties have been experienced in identifying all

the users and beneficiaries of research and management (ABARE 1993c, p. 85).

4.60. Local authorities in all states use developer contributions to help cover costs

that are either wholly or partly incurred as a result of development activities; the type

and range of facilities to which the contributions apply vary considerably. Developer

contributions for physical infrastructure such as hydraulic services and roads are widely

accepted and used. Less common, and more controversial, is the funding through

developer contributions of social infrastructure such as playgrounds, schools and

hospitals. Chapter 13 summarises the use of developer contributions in Australia.

4.61. Rentals are charged by all state governments and many local authorities for the

lease and use of Crown land. For example, in 1990-91 the Tasmanian Government

raised $511 000 from Crown land leases throughout the State (RAC 1993p).

Increasingly, rentals from leases are based on market values. For example, annual

leases for shacks on coastal Crown land in South Australia have increased from a

nominal $100 per year to between $700 and $1400 per year (RAC 1993n). In Victoria

local foreshore committees of management charge fees, enter into agreements and

issue licences and leases to raise funds for management purposes. The committees

may also offer 'concessions' for the use of foreshore areas by private operators of

facilities, including sailboard and boat hire, food and drink sales and beach umbrella hire.

Tradeable rights

4.62. Tradeable rights, including quota systems, have been used to a limited extent in

recent years, most notably in the management of the southern bluefin tuna fishery and

the south-east fishery. Under these arrangements the right to catch a certain amount of

fish can be bought, sold or leased to others operating in the fishery. The objectives are

to maintain fish stocks by setting a total allowable catch for each fishery and to

improve the efficiency of participants in the fishery (see BEE 1992). Clearly defined

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Current coastal zone management 79

user rights, well-identified fish stocks, and the appropriate administration of the

management system all contribute to the apparent success of individual transferable

quotas in the southern bluefin tuna fishery. This is in contrast to the south-east fishery,

where managers have encountered a wide range of problems in using such quotas due

to the fishery's biological and structural characteristics (ABARE 1993c, p. 43).

4.63. Transferable water entitlements are used throughout Australia to improve

agricultural productivity through the more efficient allocation of irrigation water (see

James 1993b). They may also be used to pursue secondary objectives such as

encouraging landowners to consolidate their holdings, providing a realisable asset that

irrigators can trade separately from the land resource, and establishing a commercial

basis for the provision of water supply infrastructure. The Victorian Rural Water

Corporation has used such entitlements with some success, although there are major

impediments to their operation, among them the limits placed on transfer between

states because of different subsidy regimes and trading restrictions (either bulk or

individual) between regions or sectors. The impact on environmental values associated

with minimum river flows, dilution flows, and the needs of riparian forests and

wetlands also warrant consideration in assessing the effects of tradeable water

entitlements. The protection of environmental values is currently being met through

administrative means but could potentially be handled through the trading of

environmental entitlements in the water market (ABARE 1993c, pp. 65-9).

4.64. Tradeable rights also apply to the states involved in management of the

Murray-Darling Basin: improvements in salinity levels gained from jointly funded salt

interception works can earn credits for each state, permitting higher levels of salinity

elsewhere in the system (Blackmore 1991).

Other incentives

4.65. Enforcement incentives such as non-compliance fees are imposed when

resource users do not comply with regulations; examples are fines for failing to meet

water quality criteria or contravening planning legislation. Performance bonds are

used to provide funds to cover the cost of rehabilitation in the event of failure by

developers to comply with conditions associated with development. Refund of the

payment or release from the guarantee occurs when compliance has been achieved to

the satisfaction of the regulator. Bonds have been used mainly in the mining industry

to encourage land rehabilitation, but other applications include pollution reduction

programs in New South Wales and effluent control programs in South Australia

(James 1993b, p. 21). Other examples are the bonds imposed by the Great Earner

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80 Current coastal zone management

Reef Marine Park Authority for all fixed structures in the Park (such as pontoons,

marinas and mariculture facilities) and the bank guarantees that some local government

authorities require from developers.

Box 4.5 Problems of management: example 5—industrial development

Management of the Kwinana industrial area, Western Australia Kwinana is an industrial area adjacent to the deepwater Port of Kwinana, south of Perth. Historically, the area was set aside for major industrial growth to use the deepwater port and suitable nearby land. Several major industries have since located there.

Over time, residential development has encroached on the boundaries of the industrial area; it has constrained future industrial expansion and placed pressure on buffer areas. In addition, there is concern over issues relating to air emissions and their impacts on residential communities, the visual impact of industrial development, public access to the coastline and the health risk to beach users and

the local population.

The Western Australian Department of Resources and Development has commissioned a major investigation into the area: 'Towards Optimising Land Use in Kwinana'. Some land use conflicts are also being resolved through a cooperative approach between industry and government.

Management of the Gladstone industrial centre, Queensland Gladstone is one of Queensland's major industrial centres and its port handles a significant proportion of Queensland's exports. A number of major industries have located in Gladstone to take advantage of the deepwater port and industrial infrastructure.

Management issues in the Gladstone area include alienation of land with port frontage by industries not dependent on a coastal location, encroachment on the industrial area by incompatible land uses, and poor siting of some industries, causing air emissions to affect residential areas.

Inappropriate land use allocations in the past, a lack of long-term planning, and a current shortage of coastal industrial land are seen as compromising the industrial potential of the area. In response to this the Queensland Department of the Premier, Economic and Trade Development initiated the Gladstone Industrial Land Use Study, which has produced a number of recommendations for future development

Management of Western Port Bay, Victoria Western Port Bay is located south-east of Melbourne and has excellent potential for port development A number of industries are currently located, or are soon to locate, there. Unlike Kwinana and Gladstone, Western Port was initially well supplied with adequate land set aside for future development. But only 16 per cent of available industrial land in the area has been developed.

Two related factors appear to have contributed to this under-development: a low level of port infrastructure, and the fact that the Port of Western Port was not established as an autonomous entity, separate from the Port of Melbourne.

In 1991 the Western Port Regional Planning and Coordination Committee commissioned a land use review of the area. The resultant Structure Plan for landuse in Western Port and recent proposals by the Victorian Government to establish the Port as an autonomous entity able to compete with other ports are management responses to the need to attract more industries to Western Port and to encourage private investment for the construction of port infrastructure.

Source: AGO Woodward-Clyde (1993).___________________________________________________

4.66. Deposit refund systems are used to provide incentives for the re-use or

recycling of products, thus reducing pollution effects on beaches and in other parts of

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Current coastal zone management 81

the coastal zone. An example is the South Australian bottle refund legislation, which

requires a deposit to be paid on the purchase of bottles, the deposit being refunded on

the return of the bottles. Most states and many local authorities encourage recycling

by other means, including state government subsidisation of the recycling activities of local authorities.

4.5 INTERGOVERNMENTAL COORDINATION

4.67. In view of the involvement in coastal management in some form by each sphere

of government, the Inquiry reviewed mechanisms to facilitate coordination among

governments.

4.68. The Inquiry was told that fragmentation of coastal zone management

responsibility is exacerbated by jurisdictional boundaries that do not reflect physical,

geographical and ecological features and do not take account of natural processes that

operate across boundaries. The Australian Nature Conservation Agency submitted

that 'the fundamental failing of current management arrangements is that political

boundaries and administrative jurisdictions do not allow for the integrated management

of ecological units' (ANPWS, Submission 304, p. 74).

4.69. There are numerous examples of institutional arrangements that have been

developed to achieve coordination and integration of policy making and administration

among governments (see discussion in RAC 1993f). At the national level, attempts to

achieve consistent approaches have been made through the Offshore Constitutional

Settlement and, more recently, the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment

4.70. The Offshore Constitutional Settlement is a regulatory and administrative

approach to national cooperation. Under the Settlement, which was agreed at the

Premiers Conference in June 1979 and took effect in 1983, the Commonwealth granted

title and legislative power to the states for marine and seabed resources extending

3 nautical miles from the low-water mark. This agreement is supported by a suite of

Commonwealth legislation, including the Coastal Waters (State Powers) Act 1980 and

the Coastal Waters (State Title) Act 1980, that provides for shared Commonwealth

and state jurisdiction over mineral, petroleum and fisheries resources. Elements of the

agreement are incorporated in relevant state legislation.

4.71. Recent attempts to achieve national action on resource management and other

matters have emphasised the development of cooperative partnerships between

governments. This 'new federalism' is the culmination of many years of efforts to

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82 Current coastal zone management

establish greater cooperation between the Commonwealth and state governments

(Galligan & Fletcher 1993). Mechanisms driving 'cooperative federalism' include

ministerial councils and intergovernmental agreements, including the

Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment, which was signed in May 1992 by

the Commonwealth, state and territory governments and the president of the

Australian Local Government Association (see Box 4.6).

Box 4.6 The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment

The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment is an agreement, signed in May 1992, between the Commonwealth Government, the state and territory governments, and the Australian Local Government Association. It is a mechanism to facilitate

• a cooperative national approach to the environment, • a reduction in the number of disputes between the Commonwealth and states and territories on environment issues, • greater certainty of government and business decision making, • better environment protection.

The Agreement sets out the responsibilities and interests of the three spheres of government and deals with the accommodation of interests between spheres of government. It also specifies the principles of environmental policy that should guide the development of policy and programs by all spheres of government. These principles include the effective integration of economic and environmental considerations in decision-making processes in order to improve community well-being and to benefit future generations; to support the use of the precautionary principle, as well as principles that pertain to intergenerational equity, conservation of biological diversity and ecological integrity, and to support

the use of improved valuation, pricing and incentive mechanisms.

There are nine schedules to the Agreement, dealing with specific areas of environmental policy and management and forming part of the Agreement;

• data collection and handling, • resource assessment, land use decisions and approval processes, • environmental impact assessment, • national environment protection measures, • climate change,

• biological diversity, • national estate,

• World Heritage, • nature conservation.

Source: Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (1992)._____________________________

4.72. Ministerial councils exist to deal with coordination between the Commonwealth

and state governments and also assist in coordinating activities in the coastal zone;

examples are the Great Barrier Reef Ministerial Council, the Australian Fisheries

Council and the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council.

Many local government authorities have combined to form regional representative

groups; for example, the Seaside Councils Committee in South Australia, regional

organisations of councils in New South Wales, and similar bodies in other states.

These bodies are designed to improve communications between councils and with state

and Commonwealth governments, particularly on specific issues of concern to them.

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Current coastal zone management 83

4.73. Within and between governments, interdepartmental committees, informal

communication networks, departmental protocols, referral mechanisms, and the

cabinet submission process are used to coordinate the views, functions and

perspectives of various agencies with coastal zone management responsibilities. In

many regional centres representatives of state and Commonwealth agencies participate

in committees and other institutional arrangements, along with local government

representatives, to provide a coordinating framework for dealing with matters of local and regional concern.

4.74. While these mechanisms are available, they have not been applied with any great

effect to improve management of the coastal zone. A principal reason is that the state

governments have not seen the value in coordinating their own activities and that the

Commonwealth Government, which so frequently takes the initiative in creating

national coordinating mechanisms, has not had extensive responsibilities in coastal

management. A recent innovation is the establishment of a coastal committee as part

of the ecologically sustainable development process. It has a very limited brief.

4.6 CONCLUSIONS

4.75. Regulatory responsibility for management of coastal zone resources lies

primarily with state and local governments. Although state governments have

attempted to consolidate and update legislation, there remains a plethora of Acts

affecting coastal zone management, mostly reflecting the traditional sectoral approach

to such management.

4.76. There have been recent improvements in the level of coordination among the

large number of institutions involved in coastal zone management but coordination and

integration between institutions remain inadequate.

4.77. There are major shortcomings in the systems of management of Australia's

coastal zone:

• Different and usually uncoordinated approvals systems operate for public and

private land. •

• Management and use of resources spanning marine and terrestrial areas is

particularly impeded by a lack of integration and coordination of management

systems.

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84 Current coastal zone management

• Existing mechanisms do not provide for effective long-term management of coastal

zone resources.

• Approvals procedures are complex, time consuming and often sequential rather

than concurrent, making them costly for applicants and governments.

• Although some Commonwealth, state and local government agencies have

developed policies to achieve coastal zone management objectives, the policies and

objectives are not often implemented and they are rarely integrated with social,

economic and environmental goals.

4.78. There are telling examples of past and present management failures in the

coastal zone. Although governments have passed a considerable amount of legislation,

use many regulatory mechanisms, and have reformed institutions and management

mechanisms, current management arrangements do not adequately deal with the

problems arising in the coastal zone.

4.79. The division of responsibilities among several agencies in each state is one of

the systemic hindrances to more effective land management and therefore more

effective management of the coastal zone. There is a strong need for state

governments to integrate public and private land management systems.

4.80. State and local governments are responsible for 95 per cent of expenditure on

coastal zone management and are under steady pressure to increase funding of coastal

zone management. Pressures arising because of the imbalance between the taxing

capacities and the expenditures of the three spheres of government are being

exacerbated by the need to spend more on coastal zone management.

4.81. Governments rely principally on regulatory mechanisms to manage coastal zone

activities. At present, economic instruments are insufficiently used by state or local

governments for the management of coastal zone resources; there is considerable

scope for their increased use to guide resource uses in the zone and to raise revenue

for use in managing resources.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 5 A NATIONAL APPROACH TO COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT

5.01. Australia's coastal zone contains most of the nation's population, much of its

economic and social activity, and many of its prized natural assets. As a consequence,

sound management of the zone is of profound importance to the socio-economic

development of the nation as a whole and to the maintenance of many of Australia's

unique species and ecological systems.

5.02. Any general curtailment of development in the zone is not an option: it would

have very serious implications for the Australian economy and the welfare of

Australians. On the other hand, further development will increase the risk that the

impacts of some resource uses will have permanent effects on the quality of those

resources. The challenge is to manage resource uses in such a way that such

undesirable impacts are avoided.

5.03. Although some changes to existing management mechanisms are occurring and

will probably produce better results, there remains an urgent need to develop a set of

arrangements to ensure that development in the coastal zone is ecologically

sustainable. The arrangements must be able to deal, in a holistic way, with complex

and diverse issues. What is required is a national approach to coastal zone

management, reflecting the responsibility shared by all spheres of government

5.04. Management arrangements must be integrated, so that the efforts of all

parties—government and non-govemment—are harnessed effectively. Management

should also take a long-term perspective and at the same time be flexible enough to

respond to changing circumstances. In short, a national approach that is both

integrated and strategic is necessary.

5.05. This chapter describes the conceptual basis for a national approach to resolving

the problems of the coastal zone. Section 5.1 explains why a national approach is

necessary, Section 5.2 outlines the nature of such an approach, Section 5.3 examines

the relevance of ecologically sustainable development, Section 5.4 discusses a strategic

approach to the management of natural resources, and Section 5.5 discusses integrated

management

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88 A national approach to coastal zone management

5.1 THE NEED FOR A NATIONAL APPROACH

5.06. There is widespread support for a national approach to coastal zone management. In consultation with the Inquiry many state agencies with responsibilities

for coastal zone management supported the development of a national approach.

Many local governments also called for a national approach (for example, City of

Wanneroo, Submission 473; Sydney Coastal Councils, Submission 259; Western

Australian Municipal Association, Submission 606; Brisbane City Council, Submission

511; Newcastle City Council, Submission 20; Rosedale Association, Submission 611).

There was also interest from industry and conservation groups (for example, Australian Paper Manufacturers, Submission 213; Environment Management Industry

Association of Australia, Submission 515; BHP, Submission 665; Australian Mining

Industry Council, Submission 674; Australian Petroleum Exploration Association,

Submission 709; World Wide Fund for Nature, Submission 500; Australian

Conservation Foundation, Submission 301) and research organisations (for example,

CSIRO Institute of Natural Resources and Environment, Submission 13).

5.07. A national approach to managing Australia's coastal zone resources is based on

the need to

• deal with issues of national significance,

• protect the national interest,

• reflect the responsibilities of all spheres of government,

• meet international obligations.

5.08. Many coastal zone issues are of national significance. Analysis of the issues

arising from the activities specifically mentioned in the Inquiry's terms of

reference—building, tourism, mariculture and associated development—shows that

there are seven major resource management problems of national ecological, social and

economic significance in the coastal zone: •

• degradation of some coastal zone resources, particularly depletion of biological

diversity, reduced water quality, reduced landscape amenity, and declining fish

stocks. This has largely been a result of activities associated with the increasing

urbanisation of many coastal areas and increasing tourism, recreation, agricultural

and other commercial activities;

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A national approach to coastal zone management 89

• the inadequacy of terrestrial and marine conservation efforts in the zone;

• lack of anticipation of the effects on resources of present and proposed

development, and especially consideration of serious and irreversible implications

for some resources;

• failure to take account of the potential effects of natural events when managing

resources;

• impediments to development arising from fragmented approvals and management

processes;

• dissatisfaction with many existing management mechanisms, including a

widespread perception that decision making about the use of many coastal zone

resources is ad hoc and myopic and often fails to involve key interest groups;

• significant gaps in research into and availability of information about coastal zone

ecosystems and social and economic systems.

5.09. The coastal zone plays an overwhelmingly important role in the economic,

social and cultural framework of Australia. Sustainable development of its resources

is critical to the well-being of Australians and to the maintenance of the nation's diverse

and unique ecology and species. The socio-economic development of the coastal zone

is of profound importance to the nation. These are issues of national significance and

of great public concern. No single sphere of government can manage the coastal zone

entirely on its own.

5.10. Governments could, and should, respond to these issues in their own

jurisdictions. If that is all that is done, though, the result would fall well short of what

can be done if all governments participate in a national effort The three spheres of

government have significant and legitimate responsibilities and interests in the zone.

At times, these responsibilities and interests are shared. But there are problems that

are not being confronted or are being poorly handled. There are many cases when a

cooperative, Australia-wide approach is necessary to find effective solutions to these

problems. Intergovernmental cooperation within a national framework is necessary if

these problems are to receive the attention they deserve; it will minimise duplication

and overlap and ensure that public funds are used effectively and efficiently.

5.11. Australia has international obligations in the zone that necessitate coordination

between the spheres of government. The Commonwealth Government is party to

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90 A national approach to coastal zone management

international treaties that require coordinated action from all three spheres of

government Examples are the Climate Change Convention 1992, the Convention on

Biological Diversity 1992, the Convention on the Continental Shelf 1958, the

Convention for the Protection of the World Cultural Heritage 1972, the Convention

on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (the Ramsar

Convention) 1971, the International Convention on Prevention of Marine Pollution by

Dumping of Wastes and Other Matter (the London Dumping Convention) 1972, the

International Convention for Prevention of Marine Pollution from Ships (MARPOL)

1973, the Torres Strait Treaty 1978, and the United Nations Convention on the Law

of the Sea 1982.

5.12. A national approach is needed if the financial resources that are available to

improve coastal zone management are to be channelled to places where they are

needed and spent wisely. State governments are primarily responsible for managing

most coastal zone resources, but they face restrictions on their capacity to devote

additional resources to improve management of the coastal zone. The

Commonwealth's central role in the Australian fiscal system means that it is uniquely

placed to facilitate development of a nationally coordinated program involving the

other spheres of government.

5.13. This Inquiry's call for a national approach is not new—a number of previous

investigations of coastal zone management have also identified and recommended a

national approach to coastal zone management (see RAC 1993k).

5.2 NATURE OF A NATIONAL APPROACH

5.14. Many different views were expressed to the Inquiry about the nature of a

national approach to coastal zone management. The coexisting yet differing

responsibilities of the three spheres of government make it undesirable for the

Commonwealth Government to attempt to impose a national approach. Within state

governments, a number of agencies have responsibilities for management of resources

in the coastal zone and in other parts of their jurisdictions: efficient and effective

outcomes would not be achieved by combining these responsibilities in single agencies

in each state because the agencies would be very large and cumbersome. Neither can

local government's important and growing responsibilities for coastal zone

management be combined in a single agency. It would therefore not be productive to

try to reorganise responsibilities within the government sector in an attempt to achieve

integrated management by giving all responsibilities to a few agencies.

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A national approach ίο coastal zone management 91

5.15. In general, the national approach needs to incorporate

• government leadership and financial support,

• shared goals and objectives,

• more effective use of existing resources through pooling experience, resources and knowledge,

• improved research and information,

• mobilisation of community and industry involvement in management of coastal

resources.

5 .16. The Inquiry has directed its attention to the nature of a national approach and

ways in which such an approach can be established and implemented. It has taken into

account many diverse management issues (such as those arising from oil spills from

shipping); it has not focused on any specific issue, nor has it tried to devise specific

solutions to the many difficulties confronting coastal zone managers. It has taken a

long-term perspective and concentrated on changes required to existing management

mechanisms, to ensure that current and future issues can be dealt with as part of a

national, integrated and strategic management framework.

5.3 ACHIEVING ECOLOGICALLY SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT

5.17. Ecologically sustainable development has been adopted by Australian

governments as the overall goal for the management of Australia's resources. A

national approach to coastal zone management must therefore be consistent with the

principles of ecologically sustainable development. The term 'ecologically sustainable

development' is defined in such a way as to encompass the sustainability ol economic

development by recognising that continued economic development and improvement

of the quality of life are dependent on effective management of natural resources,

including the maintenance of ecosystems (see Box 5.1).

5.18. Because of the overwhelmingly important role of coastal zone resources in the

economic, social and cultural framework of Australia, sustainable development ot these

resources is critical to the well-being of Australians and to the maintenance ol tire

nation's diverse and unique ecology and species. In the long run, failure to achieve

ecologically sustainable development in the coastal zone will lead to a degraded natural

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92 A national approach to coastal zone management

environment, diminished quality of life for the majority of Australians, and constrained

economic activity.

Box 5.1 Ecologically sustainable development: goal, objectives and guiding principles

The goal is: Development that improves the total quality of life, both now and in the future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends.

The core objectives are: • to enhance individual and community well-being by following a path of economic development that safeguards the welfare of future generations • to provide for equity within and between generations • to protect biological diversity and maintain essential ecological processes and life-support

systems

The guiding principles are: • decision making processes should effectively integrate both long-term and short-term economic, environmental, social and equity considerations • where there are threats of serious or irreversible environmental damage, lack of full scientific

certainty should not be used as a reason for postponing measures to prevent environmental degradation • the global dimension of environmental impacts of actions and policies should be recognised and considered • the need to develop a strong, growing and diversified economy which can enhance the capacity

for environmental protection should be recognised • the need to maintain and enhance international competitiveness in an environmentally sound manner should be recognised • cost effective and flexible policy instruments should be adopted, such as improved valuation,

pricing and incentive mechanisms • decisions and actions should provide for broad community involvement on issues which affect them

These guiding principles and core objectives need to be considered as a package. No objective or principle should predominate over the others. A balanced approach is required that takes into account all these objectives and principles to pursue the goal of ESD.

Source: National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (1992, pp. 8-9).______________

5.4 A STRATEGIC APPROACH

5.19. A strategic approach to management is a critical element of the ecologically

sustainable development of Australia's coastal zone resources. Such an approach

establishes clear objectives, identifies the means to achieve these objectives, and

provides a means of dealing with the dynamic physical characteristics of the coastal

zone as well as the many management issues arising from human activities.

5.20. Box 5.2 summarises the main characteristics of a strategic approach to

management. Of particular importance is the need to maintain flexibility within the overall approach:

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A national approach to coastal zone management 93

A viable strategic approach... does not set [a] series of tightly prescribed and uniform national targets, with a single list of performance indicators. Rather the process of strategic management required for the coastal zone must be committed to a continuing exercise of negotiation and

participation, and acceptance of regional variation. Its principal objective is to ensure the continued movement of the process in acceptable directions, even if not towards a predetermined end. (Davis & Weller 1993, p. 23)

Box 5.2 Main characteristics of a strategic approach to management

Strategic approaches to resource management have four main characteristics: they are action oriented; they are focused, and focused early; they are flexible and adaptive; and they are capacity building.

Action oriented Strategic approaches to resource management are fundamentally directed towards action. Their aim is to bridge the traditional gap between planning and implementation by taking account of the needs of implementation at each stage of the process and by involving implementers fully in the process.

Focused, and focused early Although strategic management examines the area being considered in a systematic way, it focuses keenly on key issues. Identifying these issues involves introducing the views, values and preferences not just of resource managers and other experts but also of stakeholders. This focus on key issues and involvement of stakeholders facilitates identification of a limited number of management options that appear most acceptable and most likely to achieve the stated management objectives.

Flexible and adaptive When ends and means are ambiguous and the external environment is highly uncertain, as is the case with coastal resource management, management cannot be conducted in a rigid, predetermined sequence. It has to be an iterative, periodically adapting process that is capable of meeting emerging

needs. It must also be flexible, keeping options open and being adaptive to unforeseen change.

Capacity building Involving those responsible for successful implementation (such as line managers and decision makers) in the strategic process enables them to acquire new management skills, develop commitment to the overall management strategy, incorporate broad strategic objectives in day-to-day work

programs, and learn from the experiences of others.

Source: Adapted from Lang (1990).______________________________________________________

5.21. Implementing a strategic approach to management of coastal zone resources

requires that agreement be reached on a set of overall objectives that are shared by all

parties with interests in the zone. Uniformity of the means of achieving agreed

objectives is not critical. Successes and failures experienced in implementation are

used to enlighten the process and enable management practices to be reviewed.

Objectives and strategies are also reviewed on a continuing basis, to ensure that

changing circumstances are taken into account in the revision of strategies and policies

to implement them.

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94 A national approach to coastal zone management

5.5 INTEGRATED RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

5.22. The management problems discussed in Chapter 4 demonstrate that attempts to

deal with coastal zone issues on a sectoral basis, without regard to the consequences

for other sectors, are frequently ineffective and inefficient. A holistic, long-term

approach to national coastal zone issues requires that decisions about resource use be

made within an integrated framework. Integration of resource management processes

is thus a critical element of the ecologically sustainable development of Australia's

coastal zone resources.

5.23. Integration of coastal zone management has four elements:

• consideration of all values—ecological, economic, cultural, social and

others—associated with a resource and its uses, and the effects of uses on those

values in decision making;

• integration of the effects of sectoral management activities within governments;

• integration of the effects of management between spheres of government;

• integration between governments and community and industry groups.

5.24. Integrated management does not mean abandoning management by activity or

sector, nor does it mean forsaking specialised skills. It is principally about operating in

a framework that, while retaining the benefits and efficiencies of sectoral management

and associated expertise, brings together management of different parts of the coastal

zone by ensuring that common objectives are being pursued.

5.25. There are many examples of the way in which integrated management can be

applied. Take the reduction of water pollution. Water management agencies cannot

achieve water quality objectives by themselves, even though they control sewage

treatment, the pricing of water, and some catchments. Other matters outside their

jurisdiction must also be addressed—such as industrial effluent, the use of fertiliser on

agricultural land, discharges from boats and ships, and rubbish disposal. Reduction of

water pollution frequently requires elimination or control of the source of the problem,

which often lies outside the jurisdiction of the water authority; this involves making

industries and individuals aware of the consequences of their actions and their

responsibilities for such actions.

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A national approach to coastal zone management 95

5.6 CONCLUSIONS

5.26. A national approach to the problems of Australia's coastal zone is essential for

four main reasons: no single sphere of government can manage the zone alone; issues

of national significance and of great public concern are involved; the socio-economic

development of the coastal zone is of profound importance to the nation; and Australia

has international obligations in the zone that necessitate coordination between the spheres of government.

5.27. Although the states may be able to manage the zone's resources independently,

they cannot do this effectively and efficiently because they might pursue conflicting

objectives and they might forgo the cost-reduction opportunities that will be afforded

by participation in a national approach. A national approach will allow the

Commonwealth to play an important role in facilitating and coordinating management

while maintaining the primary role of state and local governments in managing

resources within their jurisdictions.

5.28. A national approach will ensure that government agencies have common

objectives for coastal zone management, thus minimising duplication and conflict. It

will ensure more effective use of financial and human resources, by pooling experience,

resources and knowledge. It will also provide a framework for national leadership and

financial support and for the mobilisation of community and industry involvement

throughout the coastal zone.

5.29. A successful national approach to the ecologically sustainable development of

the coastal zone calls for wider use of strategic and integrated management

approaches.

5.30. Rivalries between the spheres of government make achievement of a national

approach to any issue a difficult task in a federated nation such as Australia. But it is a

necessary task if Australia is to avoid the coastal management problems that beset

other parts of the world such as the Mediterranean, the North Sea and parts of the

United States.

5.31. Australia is one nation; it is not a loose configuration of states. It is bound by a

national constitution that has as its joint aims the preservation of the rights of the states

and the forging of one nation with common goals and aspirations. The whole is

greater than the sum of its parts, and it is in the interests of the states, local

government and the Commonwealth to act cooperatively to protect what is probably

Australia's greatest asset—its coastal zone.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 6 THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM

6.01. A national approach is essential to solve the problems of the coastal zone. The

Inquiry proposes adoption by all spheres of government of a National Coastal Action

Program to improve the management of the resources of Australia's coastal zone. The Program has four elements

• a set of nationally agreed coastal zone management objectives

• arrangements for implementing and managing the Program

• greater community and industry involvement

• innovative management mechanisms.

6.02. The Program aims to create a new system of management of Australia's coastal

resources. Primary responsibility for directing the Program will rest with the Council

of Australian Governments. A small management agency, the National Coastal

Management Agency, will be created. It will initially be responsible for securing

agreement on national coastal zone management arrangements and subsequently

coordinate the Program for the Council of Australian Governments (as set out in Chapter 8).

6.03. Once agreement is reached about the Program, it will be each government’s

responsibility to implement the elements of the Program.

6.04. Sections 6.1 to 6.4 summarise the elements of the National Coastal Action

Program; details of the Inquiry's conclusions and recommendations in relation to each

element are provided in subsequent chapters. Section 6.5 outlines the operation of the

National Coastal Action Program. Section 6.6 summarises the benefits offered by the

Program. Section 6.7 briefly examines government actions that lie outside the

immediate scope of the Program but that are also necessary to improve management of

coastal zone resources. Conclusions are reached and the Inquiry’s recommendation is

made in Section 6.8.

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98 The National Coastal Action Program

6.1 NATIONALLY AGREED OBJECTIVES

6.05. A national program to integrate management of coastal zone resources requires

a set of common objectives for the guidance of all those involved in using and

managing those resources. Common objectives provide direction and understanding.

Common management principles for coastal zone management are also required if

resource managers are to uniformly achieve integrated management. These principles

then need to be translated into management criteria for resource managers.

6.06. The objectives and principles proposed by the Inquiry should be adopted by the

Council of Australian Governments; they are contained in Chapter 7.

6.2 IMPLEMENTING AND MANAGING THE PROGRAM

6.07. Administrative arrangements are required to commit governments to the

Program and to manage it efficiently. An agreement between governments is

necessary to establish the framework for developing common objectives and to guide

the way in which strategies can be developed to achieve these objectives.

6.08. There is no need for a new 'mega-agency', but new national institutional

arrangements and coordinating machinery are needed. This will ensure more effective

integration of management activities within each sphere of government, between

governments, and between government and non-government bodies.

6.09. The Commonwealth should take the lead in initiating and implementing the

components of the National Coastal Action Program. A Commonwealth-imposed

national regulatory scheme is not required. An incentive-based program, with a

legislative basis, is required to ensure that coastal zone expenditures and programs are

consistent with national objectives.

6.10. Chapter 8 presents the Inquiry's conclusions and recommendations relating to

the agreement and institutional arrangements necessary to implement the Program.

6.3 COMMUNITY AND INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT

6-11. Action by governments alone will not be sufficient to implement the Program:

all stakeholders, particularly local communities, industries and peak bodies

representing conservation, union, industry and indigenous interests, must be involved

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The National Coastal Action Program 99

in coastal zone management. A successful national approach must include

arrangements that encourage such involvement and harness the willingness of these

groups to improve coastal zone management. Chapter 9 presents the Inquiry's

recommendations for more effective community and industry involvement Effective

community participation must include the involvement of indigenous communities.

Chapter 10 addresses the specific interests of Australia's indigenous people.

6.4 INNOVATIVE MANAGEMENT MECHANISMS

6.12. There is considerable scope for innovation in coastal zone management. The

National Coastal Action Program requires the use of a number of management

mechanisms:

• improvements to management at local and regional levels, as discussed in Chapter 11;

• adoption of more efficient administrative systems, particularly systems designed to

integrate and streamline development approval processes within and between

governments, as discussed in Chapter 12;

• improved use of economic and financial instruments to achieve management

objectives, as discussed in Chapter 13;

• improved research and information programs, as discussed in Chapter 14;

• effective surveillance and enforcement, as discussed in Chapter 15;

• adequate funding of programs to achieve management objectives, as discussed in

Chapter 17.

6.13. It is also important that implementation of the Program be carried out in an

efficient manner. This is discussed in Chapter 18.

6.5 OPERATION OF THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM

6.14. The principal aims of the Program are to redress current problems in coastal

zone management and to obviate future problems. The Program is designed to achieve

the following results:

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100 The National Coastal Action Program

• reduce degradation caused by urban sprawl and activities in urban and rural

locations in the coastal zone;

• provide better facilities for recreation in the coastal zone;

• provide better management and preservation of natural processes in coastal areas;

• achieve more effective and rational use of land in the zone for building,

development, tourism and other uses;

• improve recognition by the community of the value of the resources of the zone;

• improve recognition of indigenous peoples' interests in the management of the

zone;

• improve water quality in streams, estuaries and coastal seas;

• improve management of fisheries through more effective management of the

sea-based resources of the zone;

• establish a sounder base for mariculture;

• improve understanding of the effects of human activities on coastal ecosystems and

social systems;

• enhance community appreciation of the natural processes that operate in the

coastal zone.

6.15. A number of important changes will need to be effected to achieve these results,

among them the following:

• land use and resource management planning that better provides for the wider

effects of development decisions;

• more efficient processes for approval for use and conservation of land- and sea-

based resources in the zone;

• better coordination of policies and programs;

• improvements in expertise, knowledge of coastal processes, and the management skills of on-ground managers;

• encouragement of widespread community, industry and indigenous involvement in management; •

• provision of more resources, from government, industry and communities, for

coastal zone management;

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The National Coastal Action Program 101

• more effective monitoring of the effects of activities in the coastal zone.

6.16. The Program will gather existing activities throughout the coastal zone into a

single national program. It will provide a focus for existing programs and it will

provide additional resources to improve management skills and harness community interest.

6.17. A minimal amount of new, national machinery is needed to operate the

Program. A small coordinating agency—the National Coastal Management

Agency—will be jointly established by the Commonwealth and state and local

governments. It will have a full-time national director and its staff will be drawn from

all spheres of government. It will not be a Commonwealth government agency; rather,

it will be a national agency responsible to all governments through the mechanisms of the Council of Australian Governments. It will not take over resource management in

the coastal zone. This will continue to be the province of bodies in the

Commonwealth, state and local government systems. Key purposes of the Agency will

be to secure coordination of the activities of government bodies and to ensure that

common objectives are pursued.

6.18. The Agency will use the national objectives and principles proposed by the

Inquiry to guide the development of programs to improve coastal zone management.

Governments will incorporate these objectives and principles in their own programs.

Government agencies will use these common objectives and principles, together with

criteria established by ministerial councils and other strategies, to derive principles and

criteria for use at local and regional levels,

6.19. The Agency will encourage governments to review existing programs relevant

to the coastal zone, to ensure that they support the objectives and principles of the

National Coastal Action Program.

6.20. With assistance from the Agency, governments will develop and use more

innovative approaches to management of resources in the coastal zone. This will

include the greater use of economic instruments, such as ensuring that those who use

facilities in the coastal zone contribute to the cost of providing them.

6.21. The Agency will also encourage the development of programs to improve the

expertise and management skills of government agencies in the coastal zone,

particularly within local government Agencies responsible for on-ground management

will be encouraged to develop policies that manage resource uses on a regional basis.

They will also be encouraged to adopt strategic approaches to management.

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102 The National Coastal Action Program

6.22. The Agency will assist in devising and managing a national Coastcare initiative,

designed to encourage 'grass roots' community involvement in management of the

coastal zone Australia wide.

6.23. To give a solid institutional basis to the National Coastal Action Program and

to encourage government agencies to adopt common objectives and policies,

Commonwealth legislation should be enacted to authorise the Agency to disburse

special program funds to government agencies that participate in elements of the

National Coastal Action Program.

6.24. The operations of the Agency should be funded by all governments, in keeping

with its national character. The Commonwealth Government has, however, a special

role in providing the Agency with the funds to encourage state and local government

participation in elements of the National Coastal Action Program.

6.6 BENEFITS OF THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM

6.25. Adoption of the National Coastal Action Program will not only overcome the

deficiencies of current management arrangements but also provide the basis and

opportunity for advancing the capabilities and capacity of management. The Program

allows consideration of all uses and activities in the zone and the full range of

community aspirations. It provides a framework for integrated and strategic decision

making that can accommodate specific issues. It fosters the achievement of long-term

rather than short-sighted, expedient results. In acknowledging that circumstances

change, the Program is sufficiently flexible to cater for today's issues and requirements

and to adapt to those that will emerge in the future.

6.26. The Program establishes a process whereby those involved in and affected by

coastal zone management are brought together to pursue commonly agreed

objectives. It provides the basis for a partnership between local communities, industry

and governments, enabling each group to participate in and contribute to coastal zone

management within its own capacities and responsibilities. By bringing together

stakeholders, it presents an opportunity for reducing and resolving conflict

Involvement of local communities will ensure that development in the zone is more

attuned to the community's social, cultural and environmental needs. The Program

will also help to reduce opposition to and delays experienced by developments that

follow agreed procedures and show that they are in accordance with community objectives.

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The National Coastal Action Program 103

6.27. By coordinating arrangements within and between governments, the National

Coastal Action Program provides the means for reducing overlap and duplication in

government activities, thus ensuring more efficient and effective delivery of services.

It also offers the means for achieving harmony between government programs and

reducing the possibility of programs pursuing conflicting objectives or of one program

having adverse effects on another. Further, the Program will reduce the likelihood of

management mistakes and mitigate the adverse impacts of one resource use on other

uses. It will concentrate on achieving positive outcomes rather than perpetuate the

current situation in which resources are required to repair the consequences of poor management.

6.28. The National Coastal Action Program recognises the special attachment

Australia's indigenous people have to many parts of the coastal zone, and it provides

the opportunity for local communities to participate in the achievement of sustainable

development. It takes account of the research and information needs of coastal zone

managers and proposes ways for governments, communities and industry to gain

better access to the knowledge and expertise necessary for effective and efficient

management It also identifies better mechanisms and procedures for managing

coastal resources and takes account of the importance of ensuring that activities in the

zone are adequately monitored.

6.29. Above all, the National Coastal Action Program provides the framework

within which citizens, community groups, indigenous organisations, industry and

governments can tackle some of the apparently intractable problems that confront this

very important part of Australia.

6.7 GOVERNMENT RESPONSIBILITIES OUTSIDE THE NATIONAL

COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM

6.30. The 'whole of government' nature of managing activities in the coastal zone

made it difficult for the Inquiry to determine the scope of its investigations, particularly

because of the many similarities between issues that are characteristic of the coastal

zone and those that pervade Australia as a whole. Within the time frame of the Inquiry

it has not been possible to examine all issues that may seem relevant to the Inquiry's

terms of reference.

6.31. In seeking to mitigate the negative effects of day-to-day activity, the National

Coastal Action Program will only go so far. It cannot provide the entire solution:

some other profound aspects of life in Australia must be confronted. Since so much

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104 The National Coastal Action Program

of Australia's population and economic activity is located in or adjacent to the coastal

zone, the basic aspects of human activity in Australia have a powerful influence on use

of coastal resources.

6.32. The two principal aspects identified by the Inquiry are the continuing sprawl of

urban settlement in many parts of the coastal zone and the unintended degradation of

the zone as the by-product of this urban sprawl, including the effects on freshwater

systems, estuaries and coastal seabed vegetation of run-off from agricultural land.

Very fundamental values that Australians hold must be examined if better results are to

be achieved. This Inquiry has focused on one of Australia's most valuable assets—the

coast. At the heart of the problem of maintaining this asset is urban sprawl, which is a

consequence of the Australian predilection for the quarter-acre residential block. The

coast is threatened by the marriage of two great Australian values: owning your own

house and living near the coast

6.33. These fundamental matters must be confronted if the question of management

of human activity in the coastal zone is to be definitively considered. There are

significant ecological consequences of the current patterns of urban settlement and

these must be fully taken into account as part of a broader review of land settlement

practices.

6.34. Each of these facets that cause concern for the coast is related to broader issues

that are already of concern to communities and governments. There is increasing

awareness that the pattern of human settlement is emerging as one of Australia's great

problems. Major social dilemmas are developing. As the population spreads away

from the traditional urban centres it compounds the difficulty of providing affordable

infrastructure to support it. Community services, transport and commercial services

either are not provided or are under-provided. There are many costly consequences.

Pressure mounts, for example, to provide highway systems because residential

accommodation is far from places of work. As part of this phenomenon, governments

have been unable to provide enough resources to manage the effects of human

settlement in parts of the coastal zone where the population is thinly spread.

6.35. The Inquiry learnt that the overall effects of this settlement pattern are not well

known. Research into the social effects of urban sprawl is very limited, although the

effects are at least recognised by governments. The Inquiry is fully aware that

changing the course of the process of human setdement in Australia will be very

difficult and very slow. Researchers contend that there is a lag of 10 to 15 years

before decisions taken today would alter current patterns of residential development

But these matters are of such profound importance that they cannot be ignored.

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The National Coastal Action Program 105

6.36. The impact of national taxation laws on housing and property development is an

emerging issue. Current tax arrangements encourage Australians to invest heavily in

their family home rather than in other assets. The impact of income tax policy on

investment in property and the contributing effect this has on the spread of human

settlement in the coastal zone should be fully examined. Examination of this issue

alone, even though it is part of a broader picture, would require a separate inquiry.

6.37. There is growing evidence that agricultural run-off into waterways is having a

major, negative effect on water quality and ecosystems. Again, this is part of a broader

issue that is being tackled: rural land management. A substantial national effort is

under way to improve the management of Australia's arable lands.

6.38. There is much that governments can do through general policy settings to

influence activities in Australia's coastal zone. Some attempts are being made to

formulate strategies and programs that affect coastal zone resources. The relationship

between these national strategies and the National Coastal Action Program is examined

in Chapter 16.

6.8 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION

6.39. A concerted national effort is essential if the management of Australia's coastal

zone resources is to improve and if Australians are to continue to enjoy the economic,

social and environmental benefits provided by the coastal zone. A National Coastal

Action Program, involving all governments and community and industry groups with

responsibility for and interests in the management of coastal zone resources, is

proposed.

6.40. The Action Program should contain

• national coastal zone objectives

• arrangements for implementing and managing the Program

• mechanisms for community and industry involvement

• innovative management mechanisms.

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106 The National Coastal Action Program

R.01 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Action Program for management of the resources of Australia's coastal zone be adopted by the Council of Australian Governments and implemented by the three spheres of government in consultation with community and industry groups that have responsibility for and interests in coastal zone management

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 7 OBJECTIVES, PRINCIPLES AND CRITERIA

7.01. For the National Coastal Action Program to be effective there must be national

agreement about the goals and objectives for the management of Australia's coastal

zone resources and the principles which will guide decisions-makers. As explained in

Chapter 5, the Inquiry proposes that ecologically sustainable development be the

overall goal for the management of coastal zone resources; Sections 7.2,7.3 and 7.4

propose objectives and principles for use in achieving this goal. Section 7.5 discusses

criteria that are being developed for resource management. Conclusions are reached

and recommendations made in Section 7.6. Section 7.1 introduces the terminology

used to discuss these matters and develops the context in which integrated

management takes place.

7.1 THE ROLE OF MANAGEMENT OBJECTIVES AND PRINCIPLES

7.02. Terms such as 'goals', 'objectives', 'principles' and 'criteria' are often used

without their meanings being clarified. The following definitions are used in this report:

• goal—the desired overall, long-term outcome of a policy, plan or strategy (for

example, ecologically sustainable development);

• objectives—the components of a goal that, if met, would ensure that the goal is

achieved. Objectives are derived from goals and should provide clear statements

of what management is to achieve;

• principles—statements that guide decision makers by setting out the factors that

should form the basis for reasoning when management or resource use decisions

are made; •

• criteria—statements that set out the detailed characteristics or qualities by which

proposed resource uses should be judged or tested. The criteria must be

consistent with the principles. They can be stated in a number of ways; for

example, they might be expressed in qualitative terms to define specific matters

that warrant attention or they might be stated in quantitative terms to define

standards that should be met.

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110 Objectives, principles and criteria

7.03. The philosophy underlying the goal of ecologically sustainable development

requires that decision-making processes integrate economic, environmental, social,

cultural and equity considerations as well as long-term and short-term interests. When

management responsibility is in the hands of a number of autonomous agencies

development of common objectives is a necessary foundation for integration of policies

and programs. Objectives that are clear, widely understood, and mutually agreed by

those responsible for their implementation are needed.

7.04. Identification of common principles to guide decision making about the use of

coastal zone resources is also necessary to facilitate integration. Application of such

principles may also help to reduce the number of disputes about competing uses of

resources. The use of agreed principles will help to move the emphasis in coastal zone

resource use debates towards explicit recognition of competing values, rather than

perpetuating the current situation in which debate about the matters to be considered

in decision making often obscures the central issues. When the principles on which

decisions are based are made public, the decision-making process is more transparent,

consistent and systematic, and the scope for abuse of discretionary power by decision

makers is limited.

7.05. Some principles for guiding decision making currently exist within the three

spheres of government. Typically, they are contained in policy documents and are

presented as policy guidelines rather than explicit statements of principle. Examples

are the principles of ecologically sustainable development contained in the National

Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development (1992) and coastal management

guidelines included in coastal policies developed by state governments (see RAC

1993e). These principles provide some assistance to management; often, however,

they need to be more explicit, have a wider perspective, and be given greater status in

the decision-making process.

7.06. The Inquiry has developed objectives and principles for the management of

Australia's coastal zone based on existing documents and consultations with coastal

zone managers. If these objectives and principles are to be effective it is essential that

they be agreed upon by those involved in their implementation. To achieve this, the

Inquiry discussed its proposed objectives and principles with a wide range of

stakeholders—representatives of state, local and Commonwealth governments and the

community, including the indigenous community and conservation and industry groups.

7.07. The concept of national objectives and principles for coastal zone management

was endorsed by all major Inquiry stakeholders. The objectives and principles put

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Objectives, principles and criteria 111

forward in Sections 7.2,7.3 and 7.4 constitute a synthesis of the views expressed and

are largely agreed by major stakeholders; the Inquiry is therefore confident that its

proposed objectives and principles have considerable support

7.08. The objectives and principles that have been developed are intended to be

comprehensive. When using them in a particular case, decision-makers will need to

exercise judgment about which specific objectives and principles are relevant to the

case under consideration and how competing principles should be applied. Trade-offs'

among the objectives and principles will be necessary. Various frameworks have been

developed to enable decision makers to make these judgments in a systematic manner (see RAC 1992c).

7.09. If a national approach to coastal zone management is to be achieved it will be

necessary for all spheres of government to establish management objectives and

principles that reflect their particular circumstances and responsibilities while remaining

consistent with those agreed at a national level. It is recognised that detailed local and

regional objectives will often be necessary to provide realistic operational targets for

on-the-ground coastal managers, and that criteria consistent with the national

principles will need to be developed for use in managing specific resources.

7.2 NATIONAL OBJECTIVES FOR COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT

7.10. The Inquiry proposes that the nine objectives that follow be endorsed as the

common objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. The objectives are

consistent with those agreed to by Australian governments for achieving ecologically

sustainable development (National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

1992). It should be noted that terms such as 'use' and 'development' in this report

include within their meaning the use of resources for conservation purposes.

Sustainable resource use

Objective 1 7.11. Coastal zone resources should be available fo r fair and equitable public and

commercial use so that their use optimises the long-term benefits to be derived by the

community.

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112 Objectives, principles and criteria

Objective 2 7.12. Consequences arising from the highly dynamic nature o f coastal environments

should be recognised and acted upon·, this includes taking into account fluctuations in

sea level and climate, impacts associated with storm events, changes in shoreline

position, and species mobility within coastal ecosystems.

Objective 3 7.13. Adequate and appropriate public access to the coast should be maintained, so

that a range of recreation opportunities can be enjoyed, consistent with these

objectives. In some cases management of public access will be required to protect

coastal resources and public safety.

Resource conservation

Objective 4 7.14. Areas and features o f significant ecological, physical, cultural, indigenous,

historic, landscape and scientific importance should be conserved and managed so that

their values are maintained.

Objective 5

7.15. The biological diversity o f marine and terrestrial ecosystems and natural

processes within coastal biophysical regions should be maintained for future

generations. Where environmental qualities have been degraded remedial action

should be taken to restore these qualities.

Objective 6

7.16. The quality o f coastal waters should be maintained or restored, to the extent

that there is no significant detrimental impact on the integrity of coastal ecosystems

and their ability to support a range of beneficial uses.

Public participation

Objective 7

7.17. Informed, public participation in open, consultative processes dealing with

management of coastal resources should be ensured. Arrangements for attempting to

resolve competing demands or aspirations should be established.

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Objectives, principles and criteria 113

Objective 8

7.18. Indigenous interests in the coastal zone should be recognised and incorporated into management arrangements.

Knowledge and understanding

Objective 9

7.19. Understanding of coastal zone ecosystems and natural processes and the effects

on them of human activities should be enhanced and incorporated in decision making.

This enhanced understanding should also be reflected in the skills of coastal zone managers.

7.3 GENERAL PRINCIPLES FOR RESOURCE MANAGEMENT

7.20. The general principles proposed in this section are designed to assist decision

making for natural resource use and management. They apply whenever the goal is to

achieve ecologically sustainable development through an integrated approach to

resource management; they are not confined to coastal zone resource management.

Integrated assessment and decision making

Principle 1

7.21. The economic, environmental, social and cultural values of resources should be

identified and the effects o f uses on those values should be determined as far as

practicable before decisions about resource uses are made.

Principle 2

7.22. The impacts of resource uses at local, regional, national and global scales

should be assessed and taken into consideration before decisions are made about the

use of specific resources. Such assessment should take into account long-term impacts

on the resource itself and on other resources and other users. As far as practicable,

negative effects of resource use should be minimised.

Principle 3

7.23. Resource uses should be monitored to ensure that impact assessments are

correct If impacts differ significantly from those predicted then remedial actions,

including reviewing the resource allocation, should be undertaken.

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Principle 4 7.24. Cumulative impacts should be taken into consideration before decisions are

made about the use of resources. As far as practicable, cumulative impacts that have

net negative effects should be avoided. It is also necessary to guard against unintended

negative impacts of numerous small decisions.

Principle 5 7.25. Alternative uses of resources and opportunities for multiple or sequential use

should be considered before allocation decisions are made. Resources should be used

sequentially only when one use will not significantly diminish a resource's value for

subsequent uses. When this is not possible resources should be allocated to competing

uses so that the greatest range of beneficial uses is satisfied while minimising conflict

between uses. At times it may be necessary to use areas for a single purpose or a

restricted number of purposes.

Implementing the precautionary approach

Principle 6

7.26. If there is a high risk of serious or irreversible adverse impacts resulting from

the use of a resource, the use should be permitted only if those impacts can be

mitigated or there are overwhelming grounds for proceeding in the national interest.

Principle 7

7.27. If a resource use is assessed as having a low risk of causing serious or

irreversible adverse impacts, or if there is insufficient information with which to assess

fully and with certainty the magnitude and nature of impacts, decision making should

proceed in a conservative and cautious manner. The absence of scientific certainty

should not be a reason for postponing measures to prevent or mitigate negative

impacts.

Principle 8

7.28. Areas remaining in or near their natural state should be developed for uses that

diminish their value only if development would provide considerable public benefit

and no other viable alternative exists. This will assist in conserving natural ecosystems,

biodiversity and the natural processes upon which life depends for future generations.

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Objectives, principles and criteria 115

Allocation of costs and benefits

Principle 9

7.29. Resources should be allocated to the use with the greatest long-term

community benefit, where benefit is determined by taking economic, environmental,

social and cultural considerations into account

Principle 10

7.30. Prices charged for access to public resources should reflect all short-term and

long-term economic, environmental and social costs directly associated with use of

those resources. If it is not possible to estimate these costs their existence and relative

importance should be taken into account before decisions are made about resource

uses. In addition, economic instruments should be applied equitably across all sectors

of society.

Principle 11

7.31. The costs arising directly from use of a resource—such as costs of repair and

rehabilitation of environmental damage, abatement of pollution, and the provision of

infrastructure—should be borne by users, rather than by society as a whole.

Public participation

Principle 12

7.32. Effective and high-quality public consultation and participation should be

encouraged before decisions are made. For the participation to be effective, the public

requires sufficient information and opportunity to be informed about alternative

resource uses and the benefits and losses associated with them. Processes for deciding

about resource allocation and management should be open and publicly documented to

allow for scrutiny.

Principle 13

7.33. The interests o f Australia's indigenous people should be recognised and

incorporated in resource use decision making. This requires, among other things,

effective protection of cultural and intellectual property; participation in the

management of resources in which people have traditional interests; recognition of

traditional rights to hunt, gather and fish, consistent with conservation objectives; and

conservation of the resources upon which these activities are based.

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116 Objectives, principles and criteria

Principle 14 7.34. Resource management objectives, the principles guiding decision makers, and

the criteria drawn from the principles should be publicly reviewed at regular intervals.

In addition, all significant policy instruments and new management programs should be

subject to analysis of their potential costs and benefits, and the analysis should be made

public. Options that are shown initially or in practice to impose a net cost should be

modified or abandoned.

7.4 SPECIFIC PRINCIPLES FOR COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT

7.35. The principles that follow have particular application in coastal zone

management because of the characteristics of resources in the zone.

Conservation of resources

Principle 15

7.36. The interdependence of terrestrial and marine systems and the need to

conserve their biological diversity and natural processes must be taken into

consideration in the use and management of coastal zone resources. Steps should be

taken to ensure that the diversity of coastal biophysical regions is maintained.

Principle 16

7.37. The desirability of maintaining natural habitats and sites o f ecological, cultural,

archaeological, historic and scientific significance should be taken into account. In

particular, heritage and cultural resources should be assessed for significance within an

agreed framework.

Principle 17

7.38. Natural physical and biological processes should be safeguarded.

Development should take account of natural coastal processes and be located so as to

disrupt or be affected by these processes as little as possible. When the disruption of

natural processes is unavoidable—for example, if it is necessary to build a port—every

attempt should be made to limit the disruption and the impact on adjoining coastal areas.

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Objectives, principles and criteria 117

Principle 18

7.39. The landscape quality of coastal areas should be assessed Resource uses in

the coastal zone should not have significant adverse long-term effects on landscape or

visual character unless the change induced is consistent with the management objectives for the region or local area.

Community involvement in management

Principle 19

7.40. Local communities should be encouraged to share responsibility for

management of local coastal zone resources and to participate in forums to determine

management strategies at local and regional levels.

Sustainable use

Principle 20

7.41. Access to coastal zone resources for development purposes should be

facilitated when the development is consistent with agreed principles for coastal zone

resource use. The degree to which an activity is dependent on being located in the

coastal zone should be taken into account when resources are being allocated. Priority

should be given to uses that are particularly dependent on coastal locations or coastal

resources.

Principle 21

7.42. Public access to the coast, including beach, foreshore and marine areas, should

be maintained for recreation and other public activities. The extent, location and type

of access may, however, need to be controlled to mitigate adverse effects of this

access, to resolve incompatible uses, or in the interest of public safety.

Principle 22

7.43. The disposal o f waste, particularly into rivers, estuaries and the ocean, should

be limited to the quantity and quality that the receiving environment can assimilate

without suffering long-term degradation. If the assimilative capacity is unknown,

pollution discharges should be progressively reduced to levels at which there is a low

probability of adverse impacts on the receiving environment beyond the mixing zone.

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118 Objectives, principles and criteria

Principle 23 7.44. Urban development should occur in accordance with predetermined urban and

coastal zone management objectives for each area. Incremental linear sprawl of

coastal towns should be discouraged.

Principle 24 7.45. As a general rule, the cost o f development in coastal areas—including

infrastructure costs, the costs of environmental management and monitoring, and the

costs of managing natural hazards—should be borne by development proponents and

ultimately by users. It should not be a burden to present or future communities. If a

direct benefit accrues to the community as a result of a development it is reasonable

that costs be apportioned between the developer and the community in accordance

with the distribution of benefits.

Principle 25 7.46. When developments in the coastal zone will result in increased recreation use, it

is necessary to assess the hazards that might affect the users and develop facilities

required to manage the increased use. The costs of the assessment, and of providing

facilities, should be borne by the development proponent. Comprehensive

arrangements should be established to meet the continuing costs of management and

maintenance.

Principle 26

7.47. Resource uses that meet national, regional and local coastal zone management

objectives should be permitted. Relevant governments should ensure that coastal zone

management objectives and decision-mating criteria are consistent with agreed

national objectives and principles. These objectives and criteria should be developed in

consultation with community and industry groups and other spheres of government

that have an interest in the resources of each coastal area.

7.5 CRITERIA FOR COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT

7.48. The principles proposed in sections 7.3 and 7.4 can be used in mating decisions

related to the use of coastal zone resources. Efficient decision mating requires the

development of decision-mating criteria that are consistent with these principles and

that provide specific guidance to resource managers and agencies responsible for

managing coastal zone resources. Criteria can provide more precise guidance for the

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Objectives, principles and criteria 119

use and management of particular classes of resources or commonly occurring situations.

7.49. Criteria can be used to clarify the meaning of concepts embodied in the

principles. For example, criteria can be developed to help define the concept of 'a site

of scientific significance' (see Principle 16) or they can be specified in ways that

establish quantitative standards, such as acceptable levels of pollutants in water or the density of urban development

7.50. Application of criteria is a critical component of efficient management; the

criteria must be based upon sound knowledge of the physical, social, cultural and

economic factors associated with particular resource uses. In some cases it may be

necessary to establish national criteria; in others it is necessary to take account of

conditions in the area in which the criteria are to have effect. When developing

criteria, it is necessary that there be consultation with the communities and managers

who will be required to implement the criteria and the resource users who will be

required to comply with them. The fact that criteria are a critical element in making

decisions about the use of coastal resources means that they must be relevant to the

management of particular areas and be based on sound assessment of causal factors.

Distortions can arise from the rigid application of inappropriate criteria.

7.51. Many criteria are already applied to the development and use of coastal zone

resources in Australia. They have been specified for a range of activities particularly at

state, regional and local scales. The types of criteria vary from general qualitative

guidelines to very specific quantitative standards. Typically, these criteria have been

established for particular purposes and have not been formulated in an integrated way.

7.52. In addition to criteria that have been explicitly stated in management or policy

documents, many implicit criteria are applied by decision makers to decisions about

coastal resource use. These may be either implied from more general policy statements

or they are derived from 'professional judgments' made by the decision makers. These

implicit criteria should be stated explicitly. Their identification and clarification will

improve decision making by increasing certainty and clarity.

Current initiatives

7.53. A number of national programs are currently producing guidelines for the

development of criteria to be applied to particular sectors of resource management. In

1992 Australian governments agreed under the Intergovernmental Agreement on the

Environment to establish a ministerial council, the National Environment Protection

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120 Objectives, principles and criteria

Agency, to determine whether to adopt national standards, guidelines or goals for

environment protection and to consider the most effective means to achieve national

environmental outcomes. Standards, guidelines or goals adopted by the Agency are to

be interpreted and applied in accordance with protocols agreed by the participating

governments. The Commonwealth, states and territories will be responsible for the

attainment and maintenance of and compliance with agreed national standards, goals

and guidelines, through their respective environment protection agencies. Once

established, the National Environmental Protection Agency will have the potential to

play a significant role in the establishment of national environmental guidelines that will

contribute to improved management of coastal zone resources.

7.54. The water quality guidelines being developed as part of the proposed National

Water Quality Management Strategy will play an important role in the future

management of coastal zone resources. The Strategy is being developed by the

Australian Water Resources Council (to be incorporated in the Agriculture and

Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand) and the Australian and

New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council. It is anticipated that this

process will be completed in 1994. It has been agreed to pursue the sustainable use of

the nation's water resources by protecting and enhancing water quality while

maintaining economic and social development. The Strategy will provide broad

national guidelines that can be translated into site-specific criteria based on local

characteristics. These criteria can be incorporated in catchment management plans and

policies. The draft strategy explicitly states that the guidelines are not intended to be

applied uniformly across Australia and that they must be responsive to local

circumstances. The guidelines are intended to form long-term goals for water quality

management, which can be updated and revised as more information becomes available

or as circumstances change (ANZECC 1992a).

7.55. National criteria have been established for some matters of relevance to coastal

zone management. For example, the Australian Heritage Commission has established a

number of criteria for identifying places of heritage significance for inclusion on the

Register of the National Estate (see Box 7.1).

7.56. Another example is the Australian Model Code for Residential Development,

which contains performance criteria that are mostly qualitative, although some

quantitative criteria are included. The Code has been established to encourage 'best

practice' in residential subdivisions and as such is a guideline document, requiring

adoption by individual state and local governments before it can come into effect

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Objectives, principles and criteria 121

Box 7.1 Australian Heritage Commission criteria for the identification of places of heritage significance

The following are examples of the criteria used by the Australian Heritage Commission to identify places of heritage significance for inclusion on the Register of the National Estate. The significance or other special value of a place is established in relation to the following.

Criterion A: its importance in the course, or pattern, of Australia's natural or cultural history ; A.l Importance in the evolution of Australian flora, fauna, landscapes or climate. A.2 Importance in maintaining existing processes or natural systems at the regional or national scale. A.3 Importance in exhibiting unusual richness or diversity of flora, fauna, landscapes or cultural

features.

A.4 Importance for association with events, developments or cultural phases which have had a significant role in the human occupation and evolution of the nation, state, region or community.

Criterion C: its potential to yield information that will contribute to an understanding of Australia's natural or cultural history; C .l Importance for information contributing to a wider understanding of Australian natural history, by virtue of its use as a research site, teaching site, type locality, reference or

benchmark site. C.2 Importance for information contributing to a wider understanding of the history of human occupation of Australia.

Criterion G: its strong or special associations with a particular community or cultural group for social, cultural or spiritual reasons; G .l Importance as a place highly valued by a community for reasons of religious, spiritual, symbolic, cultural, educational, or social associations.

Source: Australian Heritage Commission (Submission 340).________________________________

7.57. The final report of the Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Group

on Tourism (1991b) identified the actions required to ensure that tourism development

proceeds in a sustainable manner. The Working Group did not specify detailed criteria

for application in particular cases, but it recommended that the tourism industry

continue the process of developing, implementing and reviewing codes of

environmental practice to ensure that the industry is ecologically sustainable. In this

respect the Australian Tourism Industry Association has produced a booklet of

environmental guidelines for tourist developments (ΑΤΙΑ 1990). Although the booklet

does not present a set of criteria applicable to tourist development proposals, it does

present a checklist of issues and factors that should be taken into account by

proponents when designing and implementing projects; these could form the basis for

the development of criteria at a regional or local level.

7.58. The Australian and New Zealand Fisheries and Aquaculture Council has

developed a draft National Strategy on Aquaculture for the Standing Committee on

Fisheries and Aquaculture (ANZFAC 1992a). The draft has been prepared in response

to the growing potential of the industry and agreement is expected in late 1994.

Proposed strategies, goals and actions are described in the draft, but specific criteria to

be applied to specific developments are not incorporated.

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122 Objectives, principles and criteria

7.59. Criteria are also specified by state and local governments for various activities,

such as the 'setback' for new developments along the coast. Box 7.2 details the criteria

set for this purpose in each state. This example demonstrates the way in which local

considerations affect the derivation of criteria associated with particular aspects of

development.

Box 7.2 Coastal setback criteria developed by state governments

State governments have developed criteria to regulate how far development must be set back from the shoreline. These criteria may be summarised as follows.

New South Wales There are no state building setback restrictions or criteria in New South Wales, although the Coastline Management Manual provides advice to local councils on determining setbacks. It suggests, as an absolute minimum, that between the current shoreline and the 50 year erosion line (based on

continuation of existing erosion rates over 50 years) no development should occur, unless the structures may be moved inland when erosion advances to within 50 metres of the buildings. It is, however, stated that it is preferable to calculate the setback based on 100 years of projected erosion.

Queensland In Queensland the coastal setback is set at the level of anticipated long-term erosion over 50 years plus an allowance for potential cyclone erosion, erosion due to greenhouse-induced sea-level rise and an allowance for slumping of the erosion scarp. An additional allowance is added to ensure that development is located landward of the area of potential flooding caused by a 'one in 20 year' wave. This total is multiplied by a safety factor of 1.4 to ensure a nominal foredune exists should these events occur.

South Australia South Australian government policy on setbacks is that no development is allowed on sand dunes or soft erodable coastal cliffs. Additionally, the setback must take account of 100 years of erosion and sea-level rise of 0.3 metres by the year 2050. Developers must show coastal protection works that would be undertaken if the level of erosion or sea-level rise was greater than anticipated. Major developments must be based on 200-year projections.

Tasmania Development on land below 4 metres AHD (Australian height datum) in the Tamar Estuary and below 3 metres elsewhere in Tasmania should either be deferred or take account of erosion in view of storm surge and greenhouse-induced sea-level rise.

Victoria Victorian government policy is that development in fragile or unstable areas will generally be prohibited.

Western Australia The Western Australian Government does not permit development along the coast within 100 metres of the shore. Additionally, areas susceptible to erosion are subject to a further setback based on the annual net erosion rate multiplied by 100 years. The total setback is measured from the line of permanent vegetation at the foot of the foredune. In estuarine areas the setback is set at a level higher than the expected peak level of water during a flood with the probability of 1:100.

Source: New South Wales Government (1990), South Australian Coast Protection Board (1991), Western Australian State Planning Commission (1987), Victorian Ministry for Planning and _______ Environment (1991), Institution of Engineers Australia (1992)._________________________

7.60. It is clear from this assessment that there is a considerable number of

government programs that have the potential to identify criteria for application to

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Objectives, principles and criteria 123

aspects of coastal zone management. It is essential that existing criteria be reviewed,

and that new criteria developed for the management of coastal zone resources are

consistent with the principles of the National Coastal Action Program.

7.6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

7.61. Common objectives and principles are key tools of the National Coastal Action

Program and will help achieve integration of the management of coastal zone resources.

7.62. The objectives and principles proposed by the Inquiry have been negotiated

with all major stakeholders and represent a consensus in the community. They provide

a strong basis for developing national coastal zone objectives and principles to which

all spheres of government can agree.

R.02 The Inquiry recommends that

the Council of Australian Governments agree to and adopt the national objectives and principles for coastal zone management proposed by the Inquiry.

7.63. If common objectives are to be achieved it will be necessary for all spheres of

government to establish more detailed local and regional objectives that are consistent

with the national objectives and that reflect each sphere's responsibilities in the coastal

zone.

R.03 The Inquiry recommends that

all governments with coastal zone responsibilities develop local and regional coastal zone management objectives that are consistent with the agreed national objectives and that provide firm guidelines for integrated

management of resources within each government's jurisdiction.

7.64. Criteria to be used in the management of particular resources in the coastal

zone at a national level are being developed by a number of ministerial councils and

government agencies. It is essential that these criteria be consistent with the objectives

for resource use and management incorporated in the National Coastal Action

Program.

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124 Objectives, principles and criteria

R.04 The Inquiry recommends that

ministerial councils and government agencies preparing national criteria for management of resources in the coastal zone ensure that those criteria are consistent with the principles of the National Coastal Action Program.

7.65. Criteria should be developed by state and local governments to apply to the

management of specific coastal zone resources.

R.05 The Inquiry recommends that

all spheres of government review existing criteria to ensure that they are consistent with the principles put forward in the National Coastal Action Program;

state, regional and local criteria consistent with the national principles be developed for specific uses of the resources of the coastal zone.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 8 INSTITUTIONAL ARRANGEMENTS

8.01. It is not easy to get several governments and numerous agencies to adjust

existing programs to operate as coordinated parts of a broader and single program.

New and improved institutional arrangements are required. This chapter discusses the

institutional arrangements necessary to implement and manage the National Coastal Action Program.

8.02. Section 8.1 canvasses a number of issues relating to these arrangements

including the need for new executive agencies, the form of the proposed agreement

between governments, and the need for new legislation. National institutions—those

required to deal with issues affecting all governments—are considered in Section 8.2.

Sections 8.3, 8.4 and 8.5 deal with state, local and Commonwealth institutions

respectively. Section 8.6 contains the Inquiry's conclusions and recommendations for

institutional arrangements.

8.1 INTERGOVERNMENTAL ISSUES

8.03. Inquiry participants put forward a number of proposals for achieving greater

integration of existing coastal zone policies and programs. At one extreme was the

option of transferring responsibilities for overall coastal management from the

considerable number of existing agencies within each state government and the

Commonwealth government to a single national agency to manage all coastal zone

resources.

8.04. This would be unrealistic. The range of government functions performed in the

coastal zone is so great that the case for dividing functions up into individual agencies

in any government—to achieve efficiency—applies equally in the coastal zone.

8.05. A more efficient way of achieving integration of policies and programs is to

seek to coordinate existing programs of Commonwealth and state agencies and local

authorities so that they retain their current responsibilities while ensuring that their

programs and policies serve the objectives of the Program. These agencies and

authorities can then use their expertise and experience to deal with issues within their

jurisdictions. All spheres of government would therefore need to review existing

structures to ensure that they will be able to contribute effectively and efficiently to the

objectives of the National Coastal Action Program.

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128 Institutional arrangements

8.06. To secure the required commitment to support the common program, it will be

necessary for governments to enter formal agreements. They should take into account

the responsibilities for and interests in coastal zone management of the three spheres of

government, acknowledging the Commonwealth's responsibility for meeting national

and international obligations and the responsibility of state and local governments for

the greater part of coastal resource management.

8.07. Several different forms of agreement have been used to implement other national programs and policies. Inquiry participants identified various other forms that

might be used. Some states and a number of organisations favoured the use of a

schedule to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (1992); others were

opposed to this, either because they believe that the states should retain principal

responsibility for coastal zone management (for example, Australian Mining Industry

Council, Submission 307) or because they have strong reservations about the

effectiveness of the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (1992) in

coordinating the activities of Commonwealth, state and local governments in the area

of environmental management and therefore question its capacity to perform this

function for the more diverse requirements of coastal zone management (for example,

Australian Conservation Foundation, Submission 589, app. B).

8.08. The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment (1992) is a significant

agreement dealing with pressing environmental and related issues, but it would detract

from the importance of coastal zone issues to subsume them in that Agreement. It is

preferable that separate agreement be reached between governments for implementing

the National Coastal Action Program. This agreement should be endorsed by the

Council of Australian Governments and, to ensure that integrated coastal zone

management is achieved without delay, governments should aim to reach such

agreement by the end of 1994.

8.09. There was considerable divergence of views among Inquiry participants about

the Commonwealth's role in management, including the possible need for

Commonwealth legislation to implement the National Coastal Action Program. Some

participants argued for a continuance of the current situation, in which most

management responsibility rests with state and local governments. Other participants

were in favour of a stronger Commonwealth presence, supported by new

Commonwealth legislation. The Australian Conservation Foundation submitted to the

Inquiry that a legislative package, including tied funding arrangements, would be

critical to the achievement of many of the objectives of the National Coastal Action

Program, although its proposals did not encompass assumptions by the

Commonwealth of responsibilities previously performed by state governments.

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Institutional arrangements 129

8.10. Although the Commonwealth has considerable powers under the Constitution

to take action in relation to various aspects of coastal zone management, there would

probably be much debate about the extent of these powers; any attempt by the

Commonwealth to undertake directly activities that are currently the responsibility of

the states could result in considerable delays in implementing the National Coastal Action Program.

8.11. The Inquiry examined the potential use of legislation to achieve greater

integration of coastal zone management and considered several overseas examples as a

guide to ways in which such integration might be achieved (Tabemer et al. 1993). The

United States Coastal Zone Management Act 1972 was one such example.

8.12. Rather than attempting to impose a uniform national regulatory scheme, the

United States Act provides for a voluntary incentive-based program under which

participating states develop their own management programs to protect their coastal

resources. The Act does not authorise the United States Government to develop

coastal zone management programs for states that choose not to develop their own,

nor does it provide for sanctions against states that choose not to participate.

8.13. To encourage states to participate voluntarily, the Act provides two powerful

incentives: federal financial and technical assistance; and federal 'consistency'

provisions. Under the Act, federal funding is available for coastal zone management

plan development and for implementation. Once a state coastal zone management plan

has received federal approval, the Act's consistency provisions require that federal

agency actions affecting the state's coastal zone be consistent with the state's approved

coastal zone management program, allowing participating states to retain control over

all developments within their coastal zones.

8.14. In recent years the preference in Australia has been to seek agreement between

the states and the Commonwealth, frequently without legislation, on matters for which

joint action is required (Galligan & Fletcher 1993). The Inquiry agrees with the view

put by several states and other Inquiry participants that this is the preferred overall

approach to coastal management issues, but it also takes the view that such an

approach may founder unless the Commonwealth takes the lead and enacts legislation

to support the National Coastal Action Program. For the purpose of implementing and

supporting the Program, the Inquiry proposes that, in addition to an agreement being

reached between governments, the Commonwealth enact a Coastal Resource

Management Act

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130 Institutional arrangements

8.15. This Commonwealth legislation would have some elements in common with the

United States Coastal Zone Management Act. It would provide for the initiation,

implementation and review of agreed national coastal zone management objectives and

principles; it would not attempt to impose a uniform national regulatory scheme.

8.16. The proposed Coastal Resource Management Act would, among other things,

provide that Commonwealth funding of coastal resource management activities—whether in the form of direct expenditure by Commonwealth agencies on

coastal zone management or as grants to state and local governments for specific

elements of coastal zone management—be confined to activities consistent with the

objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program.

8.17. This legislation would differ from the United States legislation in providing that

the objectives and principles endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments form

the basis for determination of priorities and funding allocations by the Commonwealth

to coastal zone management. By virtue of discussions within the Council, the states as

well as the Commonwealth would have a say in determining the provisions of the Act.

The endorsed objectives and principles should be reviewed periodically by the National

Coastal Management Agency. It may be appropriate therefore for the objectives and

principles to be set out in a schedule to the Act.

8.18. The effectiveness of the Commonwealth Act would be enhanced by, but would

not be reliant on, the enactment of complementary state legislation. Any consideration

of broader legislation or complementary state legislation should not delay the

enactment of the proposed Coastal Resource Management Act.

8.19. Should national agreement on coastal zone management objectives and

principles not be achieved by the end of 1994, an alternative to the legislation proposed

by the Inquiry would be legislation more akin to the United States legislation. Such

legislation could link Commonwealth expenditure in the management of the coastal

zone (including expenditure through the states and local government) to the

achievement of clearly defined coastal zone objectives developed by the states and

subject to Commonwealth approval rather than to compliance with agreed national

objectives and principles. This approach would undoubtedly be inferior to the

proposal to involve all states in the development of the National Coastal Action

Program and the supporting legislation: a cooperative approach between governments is preferable.

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Institutional arrangements 131

8.2 NATIONAL INSTITUTIONS

8.20. Implementation of the National Coastal Action Program requires the

development of administrative arrangements that integrate the efforts of the three

spheres of government and non-govemment bodies. The Council of Australian

Governments provides a framework for intergovernmental decision making. Existing

ministerial councils cannot provide such a framework since the 'whole of government'

nature of coastal zone management requires the participation of at least three

ministerial councils, and regular coordination between councils would not be effective

and efficient.

8.21. The Council of Australian Governments is serviced by a Standing Committee

that has created an Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering Committee to

examine resource and environmental matters of national importance. Although the

Steering Committee can play a valuable role leading up to agreement on the National

Coastal Action Program in 1994, it does not have the time or the expertise required to

implement the National Coastal Action Program.

8.22. A new national agency, which would include a small secretariat, is required to

manage the National Coastal Action Program: the Inquiry proposes the creation of a

National Coastal Management Agency. This Agency would be responsible for guiding

the implementation and continuation of the Program and would report to the Council

of Australian Governments. It is essential that peak stakeholder groups have direct

access to the Agency: a National Coastal Consultative Council should also be

established. Figure 8.1 summarises the framework within which the proposed national

institutions will operate, including their relationship to the existing Council of

Australian Governments framework. These new bodies are to be national institutions

and not Commonwealth-controlled bodies; institutional arrangements at the

Commonwealth level are examined in Section 8.5.

8.23. The following are functions of the National Coastal Management Agency:

• to supervise the preparation of the proposed agreement to establish the National Coastal Action Program;

• to implement objectives and principles for coastal zone management;

• to coordinate and monitor implementation of the National Coastal Action Program;

• to promote incorporation of the agreed objectives and principles in government policies and programs;

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132 Institutional arrangements

• to facilitate the adoption of innovative management mechanisms;

• to advise on existing funding priorities and to manage financial allocations for elements of the National Coastal Action Program;

• to prepare proposals for changes to the National Coastal Action Program in light of changing circumstances and outcomes;

• to prepare annual reports on the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program.

8.24. To perform these functions, it is essential that both the National Coastal

Management Agency and the National Coastal Consultative Council have high profiles,

in both government and non-govemment spheres.

8.25. The National Coastal Management Agency should comprise two parts: a part­

time board representing state, local and Commonwealth governments and indigenous

people; and a full-time secretariat. The Agency should have an independent

chairperson who is also its chief executive officer. This person should have

exceptional leadership qualities and a sound knowledge of bureaucratic processes.

8.26. Secretariat staff of the National Coastal Management Agency should be officers

selected on the basis of their experience in coastal zone management and their ability to

understand coastal zone issues in the variety of jurisdictions represented in the National

Coastal Management Agency. Staff may be seconded to the secretariat from state and

local government agencies.

8.27. All states should have one representative on the board of the Agency; the

representative would preferably be the head of the state coastal coordinating

committee. The Commonwealth would also have one representative on the board.

Local government should have two representatives, nominated by state local

government associations. Australia's indigenous people should also be represented.

The Agency’s members would meet on a regular basis; in the initial stages of

implementing the National Coastal Action Program it will probably be necessary for

them to meet more frequently than at later stages.

8.28. The principal role of the National Coastal Consultative Council will be to

provide professional and technical advice to the Management Agency. It is therefore

essential that the Council have access to the various categories of expertise necessary

for this purpose, including managerial, scientific and other expertise. Membership of

the Council should not exceed 25, and members should be chosen for their ability to

contribute to the discussion of technical and professional issues. Membership should

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Institutional arrangements 133

Figure 8.1 Proposed national institutional arrangements

Existing

arrangements

New arrangements

Ecologically Sustainable Development Steering

Committee

National Coastal Consultative Council

Council of Australian Governments (COAG)

Standing Committee of COAG

Independent chairperson/

chief executive officer (full time)

BOARD

Representatives of state, local

and Commonwealth governments and

indigenous people (part time)

National Coastal Management

SECRETARIAT

(full time)

include representatives selected from nominees of peak bodies, including, for example,

the Australian Conservation Foundation, the Business Council of Australia, the

Australian Mining Industry Council, the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association,

the Australian Tourism Industry Association, the National Fishing Industry Council,

the National Farmers Federation, and research institutions such as CSIRO, the

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134 Institutional arrangements

Australian Institute of Marine Science, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

and universities.

8.29. The expenses of the National Coastal Management Agency and the National

Coastal Consultative Council should be met by arrangement between governments.

The proposed Coastal Resource Management Act may provide an appropriate basis for

any legislative support that might be necessary to establish the National Coastal

Management Agency and the Consultative Council.

8.3 STATE GOVERNMENT ARRANGEMENTS

8.30. As discussed in Chapter 4, most state governments have already developed

mechanisms for coordinating various aspects of coastal management. At present the

composition and roles of committees employed for this purpose vary considerably

between the states. State governments should review the composition and roles of

these committees to ensure that they are in the best position to integrate the states'

participation in implementing the National Coastal Action Program.

8.31. State committees should have the following characteristics:

• membership by representatives from all state agencies with significant

responsibilities in the coastal zone, including agencies with responsibilities for

matters relating to indigenous people and agencies responsible for marine

resources. Local government representation, through nominees of local

government, associations or regional groupings of councils, is also required;

• requirements for reporting to state governments that ensure the deliberations and

advice of the committees are taken into account in all decision making affecting the

use and management of coastal zone resources. This will entail arrangements for

reporting to the Premier or Chief Minister as well as relevant ministers;

• adequate resources to carry out committee functions, including support from a

small secretariat;

• the chairperson of each committee should be that state's representative on the

National Coastal Management Agency; •

• the capacity to advise on, participate in, and where necessary promote, local and

regional coastal strategy development;

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Institutional arrangements 135

• sufficient seniority and expertise to ensure that each committee can provide an

effective overview and understanding of coastal zone management activities within its state;

• functions and administrative arrangements that enable each committee to act as an

integrating body for coastal zone management activities within its state;

• the ability to set priorities for government action in relation to coastal management

8.32. One of the most important roles of the state coordinating committees will be to

oversee and facilitate links between state agencies and local authorities. It would also

be advantageous if each state established an advisory committee, similar to the

National Coastal Consultative Council and comprising representatives of industry,

conservation, indigenous, union, research and professional groups, to provide advice

to coastal coordinating committees.

8.33. In addition to these coordinating mechanisms, some benefit could be derived

from reviewing the current distribution of management functions between state

agencies. As discussed in Chapter 4, management functions are currently distributed

between a wide range of agencies. When similar or complementary responsibilities are

discharged by different departments responsible to different Ministers the task of

integrating decision making is needlessly complicated. This is particularly the case in

relation to public and private land use management. This problem can, in part, be

resolved by placing similar resource management functions within a single Minister's

area of responsibility, thus reducing the number of management agencies. The Inquiry

does not underestimate the difficulties that may be associated with doing this, but

functionally efficient administrative arrangements are necessary if coastal resource

management is to be improved.

8.4 LOCAL GOVERNMENT ARRANGEMENTS

8.34. Most states have recently revised or are currently revising their legislation

dealing with local government powers, responsibilities and related matters. The

resultant changes in the organisation of local authorities are expected to lead to greater

management efficiency. In addition, the Integrated Local Area Planning approach

being promoted by the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA 1993a)

provides the opportunity for reviewing organisational structures so that they are more

amenable to integrating local authority activities.

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136 Institutional arrangements

8.35. As part of the National Coastal Action Program, all local authorities should

review the manner in which they deal with coastal management issues within their own

jurisdictions, so that they are in the best position to carry out their very important role

in the Program's implementation. Many smaller authorities may need assistance from

other authorities or state governments to review their coastal zone management

arrangements.

8.36. The models identified by the Australian Local Government Association in

relation to Integrated Local Area Planning and the approaches being taken by some

authorities, such as establishment of interdisciplinary groups for strategic planning and

interdepartmental coordinating groups (ALGA 1993b, p. 44), provide a good base for

such review. Local authorities should also review the facilities for community,

industry and indigenous involvement in coastal zone resource management within their

jurisdictions (see Chapters 9 and 10).

8.37. Many local authorities are now involved in regional cooperation: approximately

50 voluntary regional organisations of councils, covering 40 per cent of all councils,

have been formed in the last decade. Some of these organisations have been

specifically formed to deal with coastal issues; for example, in Sydney, Melbourne,

Adelaide and south-west Western Australia. They have been assisted by

Commonwealth programs such as the National Voluntary Regional Cooperation

Program conducted by the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and

Community Services. Local and regional aspects of the National Coastal Action

Program could be coordinated through these voluntary regional organisations of

councils.

8.5 COMMONWEALTH GOVERNMENT ARRANGEMENTS

8.38. As noted in Chapter 4, the Commonwealth's management responsibilities in the

coastal zone are determined by the Australian Constitution. The Commonwealth

Government has responsibility for Commonwealth land in the coastal zone and for

marine and seabed resources from 3 to 200 nautical miles from the low-water mark.

Constitutional powers enable the Commonwealth to participate in management of

matters relating to trade and commerce, defence, customs and excise, external affairs,

fisheries in Australian waters beyond territorial limits, indigenous affairs, and other

matters set out in or implied by the Constitution. The Commonwealth is also

responsible for resource management as a party to international treaties, agreements

and conventions.

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Institutional arrangements 137

8.39. The Commonwealth Government has released a draft policy on Commonwealth

responsibilities in the coastal zone (DASET 1992b) and established an

interdepartmental committee to coordinate activities relating to these responsibilities.

This committee should remain in existence and be named the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee, with the following functions:

• to incorporate in Commonwealth government policies and programs the objectives

and principles embodied in the National Coastal Action Program;

• to review existing Commonwealth programs to ensure that activities related to

coastal zone management achieve the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program;

• to continue to develop Commonwealth policies connected with the coastal zone as

part of the National Coastal Action Program and to finalise the draft

Commonwealth Coastal Policy;

• to assist in the development of specific criteria for Commonwealth responsibilities

in coastal zone management;

• to identify mechanisms to more effectively communicate to other spheres of

government, industry and the community the obligations of the Commonwealth

Government under international treaties, agreements and conventions;

• to be the principal Commonwealth advisory body in setting priorities for

Commonwealth government action in relation to coastal zone management as a

whole.

8.40. Membership of the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee should

include representatives of all portfolios responsible for programs and policies dealing

with the coastal zone—the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet, the Department

of Primary Industries and Energy, the Department of the Environment, Sport and

Territories, the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community

Services, the Department of Tourism, the Department of Industry, Technology and

Regional Development, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the

Department of Defence and the Department of Transport and Communications. The

Committee will provide a mechanism for integrating the Commonwealth's activities in

relation to the National Coastal Action Program.

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138 Institutional arrangements

8.41. In view of the responsibilities of the Department of the Environment, Sport and

Territories in management of coastal zone resources, that Department should have the

role of lead agency in the Committee's activities. The Committee should report to

Cabinet and relevant ministerial councils through the Minister for the Environment

8.6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

8.42. Creating a single coastal zone management agency or coastal zone management

agencies in each sphere of government is not practical. Neither is assigning coastal

zone responsibilities to a single sphere of government. What is needed is national

cooperation and action.

8.43. Many forms of agreement could be used for implementing the proposed

National Coastal Action Program. The Intergovernmental Agreement on the

Environment is a significant agreement dealing with pressing environmental and related

issues, but it would detract from the importance of coastal zone issues to include them

in that Agreement. The importance of the coastal zone and the shared nature of

management responsibilities between governments requires a separate agreement

R.06 The Inquiry recommends that

an agreement between governments for implementing the National Coastal Action Program be endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments.

8.44. In addition to a cooperative agreement between governments for coastal zone

management the Commonwealth should take the lead in initiating and implementing

national coastal zone objectives and principles and other components of the National

Coastal Action Program. The Commonwealth should not, however, attempt to impose

a uniform national coastal regulatory scheme. Rather, it should enact legislation to

guide funding allocations by the Commonwealth to coastal zone management. The

Act will incorporate the objectives and principles for coastal zone management agreed

between Commonwealth, state and local governments.

R.07 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth enact a Coastal Resource Management Act, which, among other things, would provide that Commonwealth funding of coastal resource management activities—whether in the form of direct expenditure by Commonwealth agencies on coastal zone management or as grants to state and local governments for specific elements of coastal zone

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_________ ________________________________________________ Institutional arrangements 139

management—be confined to activities consistent with the objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program.

8.45. To facilitate the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program, it is

necessary to develop administrative arrangements that will integrate the efforts of the

three spheres of government and non-government bodies to achieve the agreed objectives.

R.08 The Inquiry recommends that

a National Coastal Management Agency be established, with a board representing the interests of Commonwealth, state and local governments and Australia's indigenous people, and a full-time secretariat;

an independent chairperson of outstanding stature and with exceptional leadership qualities be appointed. The chairperson would also be the Agency's chief executive officer;

that the Agency report to the Council of Australian Governments.

8.46. A national consultative group is necessary to provide professional and technical

advice to the National Coastal Management Agency.

R.09 The Inquiry recommends that

a National Coastal Consultative Council be established, to advise the National Coastal Management Agency. The Council should include representatives selected from nominees of peak bodies, research institutions and other bodies with major interests in the management of coastal zone resources.

8.47. Most state governments already have committees to coordinate coastal zone

management At present however, these committees do not have the responsibilities

and resources necessary to carry out their functions in a manner that will enable the

states to integrate their coastal management arrangements, as proposed in the National

Coastal Action Program.

R.10 The Inquiry recommends that

all state governments review the composition and roles of their coastal coordinating committees in light of the characteristics proposed by the Inquiry, to ensure that the committees are in the best position to manage

state participation in the National Coastal Action Program;

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140 Institutional arrangements

the review include arrangements for the coordination of local and regional groups participating in the development and implementation of strategies to implement the Program;

each state establish a coastal advisory committee comprising representatives of non-govemment groups;

all state governments review the existing distribution of coastal management functions between agencies, with a view to incorporating similar or complementary functions in single ministries.

8.48. Various reviews of local government organisational arrangements are under

way and various types of committees currently assist local governments in managing

coastal zone resources. In addition to these arrangements, it is necessary to ensure

that the functional responsibilities within local government authorities be undertaken

efficiently and effectively.

R.11 The Inquiry recommends that

all local authorities review existing arrangements for dealing with coastal zone management issues, using the models identified by the Integrated Local Area Planning approach.

8.49. The Commonwealth Government has established an interdepartmental

committee to deal with its responsibilities in the coastal zone.

R.12 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government's interdepartmental committee dealing with coastal zone issues be established on a permanent basis and be named the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee;

the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories be the lead agency in coordinating the activities of this Committee.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 9 THE ROLE OF COMMUNITIES AND INDUSTRIES

9.01. The third of the four key elements of the National Coastal Action Program is

systematic community and industry involvement in coastal zone management Action

by governments alone will not be enough to achieve the objectives of the Program: it is

necessary for all stakeholders to become more involved. The role of community

groups and industry in national and state institutional arrangements is discussed in the

previous chapter; this chapter examines their role in the management of resources in

local areas and proposes ways in which this role can be enhanced. Chapter 10

considers in greater detail the interests and involvement of indigenous communities.

9.02. Many community groups currently provide voluntary help in managing coastal

zone resources. The Inquiry found that interest in and affection for the coast are

widely shared in the community. An important objective of the National Coastal

Action Program is to further galvanise the volunteer spirit and enthusiasm in the

community, and to harness it to help implement the Program.

9.03. One important facet of community involvement stems from participation in

consultative processes; Section 9.1 discusses the role of communities in consultative

processes in local areas. Another important contribution local groups can make is by

participation in local committees of management; this is discussed in Section 9.2.

Communities also play important roles in 'hands on' management activities, as

discussed in Section 9.3. Education is another extremely important aspect of

community participation in management; it is considered in Section 9.4. Industries

operating in the coastal zone are responsible for management of many of its resources.

Section 9.5 discusses industry's role in local areas. Conclusions are reached and

recommendations made in Section 9.6.

9.1 COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT IN CONSULTATIVE MECHANISMS

9.04. When public policies affect communities, organised consultation with those

communities can significantly improve the quality and effectiveness of management

responses. Consultation helps community members learn more about the issues in

question and generates a higher degree of community confidence in and identification

with management actions. The management agencies are better informed about the

attitudes and interests of the community and about the impact of their policies on the

community.

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144 The role of communities and industries

9.05. The National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development and the United

Nations' Agenda 21 both stress the importance of community involvement in resource

management by local authorities. One of the objectives of Agenda 21 is '... By 1996,

most local authorities should have undertaken a consultative process with their

populations and achieved a consensus on a "local Agenda 21" for the community' (see

Box 9.1).

9.06. There are several facets to consultation. It can include promotion of public

awareness about resource use and management, provision of opportunities for

comment on policies and proposals, participation in formally constituted committees,

and less formal participation in other aspects of management. Consultative processes

can be facilitated by creation of committees containing representatives of the

community. Standing committees can provide continuing advice to resource managers

and ad hoc committees can provide advice on particular issues. Public meetings,

workshops and community attitude surveys provide other opportunities for community

involvement in consultative processes. In several states 'total catchment management'

groups have been created; they contain representatives of industry, user groups and

other community groups in particular catchments and they provide advice on

management of land and water resources (RAC 1993f, 1993s).

9.07. Community participation is well developed in some local authority areas in the

coastal zone, and in some areas management programs have been developed in

conjunction with relevant state government agencies. Examples are the Trinity Inlet

Management Program in Queensland, the coastal management plan for Horrocks

Beach in Western Australia, the strategy being developed for foreshore management by

Flinders Shire Council in Victoria, and the Johnstone River Catchment Coordination

Committee in Queensland (see Box 9.2).

9.08. There are many instances in which community groups have expressed great

dissatisfaction with existing arrangements for their involvement. Among examples

provided to the Inquiry were the development of proposals for ocean outfalls for

sewage at Coffs Harbour in New South Wales (Coffs Harbour Environment Centre,

Submission 481), inadequate public participation in the early stages of the approval

process for the Club Med tourist resort proposal at Byron Bay in New South Wales

(Byron Environment Centre, Submission 387), and the limited scope for public

involvement in the approval process for mariculture developments in Tasmania

(Tasmanian Department of Environment and Land Management 1993).

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The role of communities and industries 145

Box 9.1 Agenda 21 and the community role

The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development culminated in the Earth Summit, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during June 1992. The meeting of 176 nations and 112 heads of state was the final phase of two years of negotiations centred around a plan of action for the 21st century, known as Agenda 21. Agenda 21 is a 700-page document dealing with a range of environment and development issues. In relation to community involvement, it deals with issues such as the role of

local authorities and non-government organisations, and the roles of women and indigenous groups. Chapter 28, which deals with local authorities, includes the following:

Basis for action 28.1 Because so many of the problems and solutions being addressed by Agenda 21 have their roots in local activities, the participation and cooperation of local authorities will be a determining factor in fulfilling its objectives. Local authorities construct, operate and maintain

economic, social and environmental infrastructure, oversee planning processes, establish local environmental policies and regulations, and assist in implementing national and sub-national environmental policies. As the level of governance closest to the people, they play a vital role in educating, mobilising and responding to the public to promote sustainable development.

Objectives 28.2 The following objectives are proposed for this program area:

(a) By 1996, most local authorities in each country should have undertaken a consultative process with their populations and achieved a consensus on a 'local Agenda 21' for the community...

(d) All local authorities in each country should be encouraged to implement and monitor programs which aim at ensuring that women and youth are represented in decision making, planning and implementation processes.

Activities 28.3 Each local authority should enter into a dialogue with its citizens, local organisations, and private enterprises and adopt a 'local Agenda 2Γ. Through consultation and consensus­ building, local authorities would learn from citizens and from local, civic, community, business and industrial organisations and acquire the information needed for formulating the best

strategies. The process of consultation would increase household awareness of sustainable development issues. Local authority programs, policies, laws, and regulations to achieve Agenda 21 would be assessed and modified, based on local programs adopted. Strategies could also be used in supporting proposals for local, national, regional, and international funding.

The Australian Government is a signatory to Agenda 21 and is currently preparing a report to the United Nations Commission on Sustainable Development, detailing the steps it is taking to give effect to Agenda 21. In addition to a number of relevant existing programs, the Commonwealth is also funding a Local Agenda 21 campaign to help local authorities interpret Agenda 21, to encourage the development of local strategies, and to assist in establishing a comprehensive consultative process at

the local level.

Source: UNCED (1992), ICLEI (1993). ____________________________________

9.09. If effective community involvement in consultative processes is to be achieved

the community role must be well defined and well publicised and the information

necessary for developing informed views must be provided in sufficient time for it to be

considered before responses are required. Processes used to involve communities need

to be developed in consultation with those communities.

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146 The role of communities and industries

Box 9.2 Community involvement in consultative processes: some examples

Trinity Inlet Management Program, Queensland Increasing demands on resources have placed additional pressure on fragile coastal environments in the Trinity Inlet area near Cairns. A management steering committee of relevant local and state government representatives sought public involvement for a plan aimed at reflecting community

concerns about development in the region and alternative uses of Trinity Inlet. Public comment was requested from individuals and interest groups before and after the release of an alternative strategies report and draft management plan for the Inlet. A consultative committee was established and a

community survey carried out. Submissions and consultations revealed strong community concerns about environmental issues and a desire to protect the Inlet’s natural values and ensure future development is sustainable. The consultations have been used to ensure management of the In let, achieves long-term community aims.

Foreshores beyond 2000, Victoria Flinders Shire Council undertook a study to stimulate discussion about long-term foreshore use. Preliminary discussions revealed strong community interest in the future direction of foreshore development and a willingness among interested parties to collaborate with the Council on longer

term issues. A working party was formed, which included water-related recreation and sporting groups, commercial interests, the general public, recreational users and conservation groups. Public input was sought at each stage of the preparation of the report. The report aimed to deal with issues raised in consultations, including balancing development needs, environmental protection, and the competing demands of conservation, recreation, tourism and industry groups. Recommendations included increased public involvement in coastal management and development of performance standards for each committee of management.

Horrocks Beach coastal management plan, Western Australia Community concern about the coastal management issues affecting Horrocks Beach prompted Northampton Shire Council and the Department of Planning and Urban Development to develop a coastal management plan for the area. A community workshop was held to assist in the identification of priorities for the region. Participants were Horrocks Beach residents and leasehold cottage owners. A second workshop was held to discuss the draft report that had been produced; this was followed by requests for individual submissions. Among the major coastal issues identified in the workshop were environmental degradation, a need for improved community facilities, and maintenance of the residents' relaxed lifestyle. Public participation was a major component in securing community support for the plan.

Integrated catchment management: Johnstone River pilot study, Queensland A pilot study was conducted to investigate local land and water resource management deficiencies, which had been exacerbated by poor consultation with the local community. A community-based catchment co-ordination committee was established, including representatives of primary industry, conservation, Landcare, recreational, development and tourism groups. The committee aimed to raise community awareness of environmental catchment issues, coordinate interest groups' land and water resource management activities, and provide a forum for community and government discussions. Public involvement occurred through community workshops, information distribution and community involvement in strategy reviews. Outcomes of the pilot project have included a strategy for water quality management and greater community and industry awareness of water quality and land management issues.

Sources: Trinity Inlet Management Program (Submission 276), Shire of Flinders (1993), Western _______ Australian Department of Planning and Urban Development (1991), RAC (1993s)._________

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The role of communities and industries 147

9.2 LOCAL AREA MANAGEMENT COMMITTEES

9.10. In a number of parts of Australia responsibility for managing selected coastal

areas has been delegated to representative committees of local citizens. Such

committees are an important means of involving communities in managing the coast

In Victoria, local foreshore committees of management operate as delegated managers

of many Crown reserves. Formalised committees also operate in some other states (for

example, reserve trust and precinct committees in parts of New South Wales) and ad

hoc committees assist in managing coastal resources in other places.

9.11. It is generally true that when people are given full responsibility for

management, including the authority to raise funds for that purpose, they will exercise

that responsibility conscientiously. For example, foreshore committees play an

important role in the management of many coastal resources in Victoria. They raise

funds from rentals charged on such assets as camping and bathing facilities and they

provide an opportunity for interested members of local communities to play an active

role in management, thereby supplementing the assistance available for this purpose.

9.12. Another example is provided by Brisbane City Council's experience with the

Boondall Wetlands Management Committee, which demonstrates that committees can

make important contributions to resource management. Particular features of the

Boondall Wetlands approach were as follows:

• a joint council-community approach to management in the area, including joint

field inspections, a joint council-community presence in discussions with council

departments and government agencies on matters affecting the reserve, equal status

for professional advice from the Committee and from the bureaucracy, and

preparation of reports by the Committee for referral to the Council for

consideration;

• acceptance of the need to adequately service the Management Committee in terms

of council employees' time and provision of secretarial assistance;

• supporting the watchdog role of the community as an adjunct to council

management of the area, including several members of the Committee becoming

honorary park rangers; •

• acceptance of the independent role of the Committee in dealing with the Council

and with government agencies (Brisbane City Council, Submission 511).

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148 The role of communities and industries

9.13. These types of local management committees are not without their problems.

For example, the Victorian system mirrors general problems of coastal management

Criticisms include the reported parochialism of some committees, difficulties associated

with enforcing regulations, lack of specialist knowledge, and in some cases a poor

record of public involvement in committee work. The committees counter by pointing

to lack of support from state government agencies (see Rogers 1992). One way of

overcoming these difficulties might be to have only one committee in each local

government area and to associate the committees more directly with the council

(Wescott 1993). A number of recent changes are designed to improve cooperation

between committees in adjoining areas and with state management agencies.

9.14. A range of factors affects the success of local committees, among them the

commitment of individuals, the extent of resources provided to the committees by local

government and state government agencies, and the extent to which the local authority

concerned actively encourages community involvement in resource management

9.15. In many cases, if committees are to have a greater role in implementing local

resource management strategies they will need better access to professional and

technical advice as well as secretarial and facilitation resources. The capacity for

committees in other states to function in a way similar to the committees of

management in Victoria—to raise funds through charges for the use of local resources

and facilities, for instance—and their capacity to enforce regulations relating to

resource uses will be dependent on delegation of such powers and responsibilities by

local and state governments.

9.16. The Inquiry considers that greater use should be made of local area

management committees. The roles and management responsibilities of the

committees must be carefully considered in light of the degree of local interest in

management problems, the extent of support received from local and state

governments, and the existing network of community groups and other bodies with

interests in the area concerned. In addition, the committees' actions must be in accord

with local and regional strategies for coastal zone management (see Chapter 11).

9.17. Membership of local area management committees should generally include

representatives of local interest groups and industries. Coordination with other

agencies would be improved if representatives of local, regional, state and

Commonwealth agencies with interests in the area were also included. Broad

membership allows for interaction between different interests and spheres of activity in

the general community and the public and private sectors, and it provides a focus for

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The role of communities and industries 149

the many industry and community groups that are already contributing to elements of coastal zone management.

9.3 COMMUNITY MANAGEMENT

9.18. In addition to the contributions made by local area management committees, a

striking example of public willingness to take part in hands-on management at a

national scale is the widespread participation in the Clean Up Australia program (Clean

Up Australia Ltd, Submission 168). There are many groups of volunteers who

participate in beach clean-up days and other coastal management activities. The

Australian Trust for Conservation Volunteers has an extensive network of volunteers

who participate in activities such as tree planting, track construction, dune stabilisation

and heritage restoration (Fenton 1993). And a range of recreational users of the coast,

such as surf life-saving clubs, surf riders, scuba divers and recreational fishers are

active stewards of coastal resources. Many of these groups told the Inquiry they were

willing to participate further in management activities.

9.19. Voluntary community organisations make a valuable contribution to the

resources available for management of the coastal zone. As an indication of the

magnitude of the overall community contribution, one study estimated that over

$1 million worth of unpaid work is provided by the board and staff of Greening

Australia in its revegetation efforts (Jensen 1992). An analysis of the activities of the

Blacksmiths Beach Dunecare group in constructing timber vehicle barriers and

removing bitou bush showed that, if costed at commercial rates, the activities would

have been worth five times more than was actually spent on basic raw materials and

equipment; a community benefit of $5 resulted for every $1 spent by the Lake

Macquarie City Council and this estimate did not include the benefits derived from the

community awareness generated by community involvement (Watt & Murphy 1992).

A review of the effectiveness of government support for voluntary conservation

organisations noted that 'a number of government agencies indicated that the actions of

[these organisations] directly saved them substantial sums of public monies by

successfully promoting conservation activities that negated the need for government

action' and that the organisations 'are generally more cost effective, responsive,

innovative, have excellent community networks and are more trusted by the Australian

community than governments or the private sector' (Henry & Olsen 1992, p. 2).

9.20. State government agencies with responsibilities for coastal zone management

provide advice and limited financial assistance to local authorities and community

groups for the preparation and implementation of coastal management plans and for

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150 The role of communities and industries

data collection. Some states have also encouraged community involvement in water

quality monitoring. In Western Australia the Department of Agriculture has produced

a Coastal Rehabilitation Manual (Oma et al. 1992) and government support has been

provided to help local groups implement coastal management plans and carry out dune rehabilitation work. Another source of support has been through land conservation

district committees, where the emphasis has primarily been on private agricultural land.

The Queensland Beach Protection Authority involves the community in monitoring

sand movement at sites along the coast, through COPE (the Coastal Observation

Program, Engineering).

9.21. The Commonwealth funds a number of programs supporting community

involvement in natural resource management (see Table 9.1); some of these funds go

to coastal projects. Key national programs such as Landcare and Waterwatch are

implemented in collaboration with state government agencies (see Boxes 9.3 and 9.4).

A number of Commonwealth programs also provide to local government authorities

funding for employment, which can be used to assist community involvement in

management: Job Skills, the Landcare and Environment Action Program and the

Contract Employment Program for Aboriginals in Natural and Cultural Resource

Management are examples (see Box 9.5).

9.22. In New South Wales the Soil Conservation Service of the Department of

Conservation and Land Management established the Dunecare program with the

assistance of the National Soil Conservation Program (which has since become the

National Landcare Program). Dunecare is based on voluntary group efforts to restore

coastal dunes and surrounding areas through projects such as bitou bush removal,

propagation and planting of native vegetation, stabilisation of eroding dunes,

construction of fences and access ways to designate beach tracks, planting of trees

along river banks, and community awareness activities (RAC 1993f, p. 46). There are

currently about 90 such groups involved in protection and rehabilitation of coastal

dune areas.

9.23. Some local governments actively support community involvement in hands-on

management through Dunecare-type programs. For example, the City of Henley and

Grange in South Australia initiated the establishment of a Dunecare group

(Submission 370), which, in addition to engaging in activities such as revegetation and

fencing, is drawing on the wide range of expertise among its volunteer members

(including a marine scientist, a geologist and a surveyor) to conduct a resource survey

of the council's coastal area, including a physical and geological survey of dunes and a

vegetation survey.

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The role of communities and industries 151

Table 9.1 Commonwealth programs assisting community involvement in resource management

Program Funding

1992-19933 ($'000)

Funding agency Administering agency

Operating organisation

Save The Bush*1 1 768 DEST ANCA (Landscape

Conservation Unit) ANCA

One Billion Trees*1 5 240 DEST ANCA (Landscape

Conservation Unit) Greening Australia

National Landcare Program—Community component*1

14 223 DPIE DPIE (Land

Resources Division) State/territory land conservation agencies

Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Strategy*1

5 700 DPIE MDB Commission &

community advisory c'tee

MDB Commission & community advisory c'tee

Waterwatchc 800 DEST ANCA (Landscape

Conservation Unit) Projects to be state-based

National Threatened Species Network

250 DEST ANCA (Threatened

Species Unit)

World Wide Fund for Nature Australia

Marine and Coastal Community Network (Ocean Rescue 2000)

165d DEST ANCA (Landscape Conservation Unit) Australian Littoral Society

National Marine Education Project (Ocean Rescue 2000)

100 DEST Great Barrier Reef

Marine Park Authority

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority

Greenhouse Information Program (including community, local government and peak professional body grants)

463 DEST DEST (Climate

Change and Environmental Liaison Sub­ program)

DEST (Climate Change and Environmental Liaison Sub­

program)

a Funding figures provided by agencies or budget papers; funds are for Australia-wide programs and are not necessarily limited to coastal zone activities, b Component of the National Landcare Program. c Funding for 1993-94 (new program).

d Figure is for calendar year 1993.__________________________ = = = ^ = == ====_ = =

9.24. The Dunecare groups in New South Wales were cited by a number of Inquiry

participants as a model of how to engender community involvement in coastal

management. Dunecare and urban landcare projects have relatively low priority within

current funding arrangements for the Land and Water component of Community

Landcare, which is primarily oriented towards control of land degradation on

agricultural and pastoral land (National Landcare Program 1993). A small amount of

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152 The role of communities and industries

support is available for coastal projects through the Save the Bush component of

Landcare.

Box 9 3 Community landcare groups

The landcare group movement has been one of the most significant developments in natural resource management and conservation in Australia. The movement arose in the mid 1980s, when rural communities began informally forming groups to tackle their local land degradation problems.

Members of the rural community and the conservation movement provided support and the impetus for the development of the landcare movement. Governments are providing financial support to assist in the formation of groups through facilitation and coordination and for landcare group’s projects, through the Community component of the National Landcare Program. The Landcare philosophy is

to foster cooperation and coordination between government agencies and those in the general community, to encourage community action on integrated strategies combating land, water and vegetation degradation.

The Community Landcare component integrates the four Commonwealth land, water and vegetation programs that have a community emphasis. The four programs are the Land and Water Programs, the One Billion Trees program, the Save the Bush program, and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission

Natural Resources Management Strategy. Each program has its own budget and objectives but all community applications for funding are assessed by a single assessment panel in each state through a 'one stop shop1 application process.

The Department of Primary Industries and Energy Land and Water Programs are mainly managed by state land conservation agencies. Projects focus on local or district scales to promote a feeling of community responsibility for natural resource degradation problems in their area. A self-help approach by locally based community landcare groups is promoted through extension, planning, research and training projects that are supported by state and local government agencies. In New South Wales Dunecare groups have been established with support from the Landcare Program, although in most states there is not a well-established network of specific coastal landcare groups.

Landcare groups are now moving beyond a solely soil conservation focus and are embracing broader social, environmental and planning issues. One significant advantage of Landcare is its potential to educate the broader community in the ways of sustainable land use. A measure of Landcare's success has been the extent of community involvement, with 1600 groups across Australia formed in the last

few years, involving about 30 per cent of Australia's broadacre farms. Local-scale land degradation problems have been confronted and general awareness of the issues raised. To ensure Landcare is part of an integrated regional approach, the involvement of landcare groups in catchment and property management planning is increasingly being promoted.

The One Billion Trees program is specifically designed to encourage the community to participate in revegetation and protection of native vegetation. One Billion Trees is implemented by Greening Australia, a non-profit community-based organisation. Greening Australia aims to use its government funding as 'seed' money to a maximum of only half the dollar value of a project, with contributions of money, skills, voluntary labour, equipment and material coming from other sources. The program has been highly successful in motivating community action and tree planting.

The Save the Bush program is a national community-based conservation program of hands-on involvement by local communities in conserving and restoring areas of remnant native vegetation to assist the maintenance of biological diversity in Australia. In 1993-94 a focus of the program will be education about and protection of wetlands and mangroves.

Source: DPIE (Submission 728), Campbell (1992), Goss (1993)._______________________________

9.25. The Metropolitan Seaside Councils Committee operates a Coastcare program

which is modelled on the South Australian River Watch and Neighbourhood Watch

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The role of communities and industries 153

programs. It facilitates reporting of coastal damage, distress or danger along

Adelaide's metropolitan beaches (Metropolitan Seaside Councils' Committee, Submission 734).

9.26. There is some concern about the lack of facilitation and extension support for

community involvement in hands-on coastal management activities, particularly in view

of growing community interest in helping in this area. The Victorian Government is

considering a proposal to establish a Coastcare program in response to the growing

interest in facilitating community involvement in coastal landcare activities. There has

also been support for the establishment of coastal and ocean conservation groups in

Western Australia (Western Australian Municipal Association, Transcript, p. 784;

Coastal Management Coordinating Committee, Submission 730).

Box 9.4 Waterwatch: a community-based environmental monitoring program

Waterwatch was announced in the Prime Minister's December 1992 Statement on the Environment. It provides a national framework for several existing programs in various states, such as Strcamwalch in New South Wales and Ribbons of Blue in Western Australia and Victoria. Water quality monitoring was chosen because it is an excellent indicator of environmental 'health' and can be used

to help communities focus their activities within catchments. Waterwatch has a number of goals, among them: development of a national network linking all existing and future community-based water quality and environmental monitoring programs; fostering linkages between water quality monitoring groups and funding programs that can support on-ground action; promotion of total

catchment management and ecologically sustainable development concepts; and creation of closer links between communities, their local government representatives and the private sector.

Source: ANCA (1993).

9.27. Landcare has demonstrated that there is strong community interest in 'grass

roots' community-based management programs. Given the extensive community

interest in coastal management and the range of programs that are being established

piecemeal to promote community coastal management, a national coastal program

modelled on Landcare and aiming to promote community-based management of the

coastal zone is required. Such a program could be called 'Coastcare'.

9.28. The experience of many government agencies involved in coastal management

suggests that relatively small amounts of funding support to a Coastcare program

could mobilise considerable community effort. Coastcare would, however, entail

additional management costs to the sponsoring agency. It would also make demands

on the time of local and state government employees as they assist Coastcare groups

and ensure that their efforts are consistent with the objectives of management in the

areas concerned. This is money and time that is often very effectively spent.

Especially important is the use of local and regional facilitators, to provide technical,

scientific and organisational advice, help establish links with other groups, distribute

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154 The role of communities and industries

educational materials, and inform Coastcare groups about various programs supporting

community involvement.

9.29. The provision of resources to Coastcare would facilitate continuing community

involvement and improve the efficiency and continuity of coastal resource

management. Efficiency gains accrue through increased coordination and

communication between community groups, government and industry. Duplication of

effort would be avoided, valuable lessons can be learned from the experience of others,

and communication networks can be established and reinforced.

Box 9.5 Employment programs relevant to coastal resource management

Landcare and Environment Action Program The Landcare and Environment Action Program, administered by the Department of Employment, Education and Training, helps young unemployed people aged 15 to 20 years to acquire new skills through training and practical experience in landcare, environment, cultural heritage and

conservation activities. Examples of projects that operate under the program are conservation of natural heritage, such as construction of nature trails in national parks, revegetation of nature reserves, sand dune stabilisation, river and creek improvement, salinity and soil conservation, and waste recycling; preservation and restoration of built heritage such as significant buildings, bridges and other landmarks; and preservation of cultural heritage such as music, craft, customs and ethnic heritage. Program expenditure in 1992-93 was $55.6 million.

Contract Employment Program for Aboriginals in Natural and Cultural Resource Management The aim of the Contract Employment Program for Aboriginals in Natural and Cultural Resource Management is to increase the number of qualified and experienced indigenous people in contract employment in the areas of nature conservation and cultural heritage. Examples of projects are recording of the traditional knowledge of Aboriginal elders, establishment of nurseries, and site management and rehabilitation work. Commonwealth funding, administered by the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, is provided to state, territory and local governments and indigenous community organisations. Figures for 1991-92 show that 697 contractors, 154 being women, worked

for 24 government and non-government agencies, including Aboriginal land councils and community organisations. Resources allocated in 1992-93 amounted to $4.35 million.

Jobskills Jobskills aims at improving the employment prospects of people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more by equipping them with new skills through work experience and training. The

Department of Employment, Education and Training contracts suitable organisations to arrange work experience and training for participants. Work experience placements are primarily in the local government and community sector. Participants receive a mix of supervised work experience, structured training both on and off the job, and the opportunity to develop and practise new skills in a work environment over a 26-week period. Work experience placements can either be with continuing activities in organisations or in special projects of benefit to the community. These may include the maintenance or development of local tourism, heritage or recreation infrastructure, and conservation and environmental activities. Program expenditure in 1992-93 was $144.4 million.

Sources: Budget Statements 1993-94, ANCA (1992), DEBT (1992,1993).______________________

9.4 COMMUNITY EDUCATION

9.30. There is a strong complementarity between community education programs and

community involvement in coastal resource management; together they can provide

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The role of communities and industries 155

considerable support for management. A number of educational initiatives relating to

the coastal zone already exist; for example, Landcare and Waterwatch (See Boxes 9.3

and 9.4). These initiatives illustrate the importance of 'learning by doing', which

characterises successful community involvement in such activities. There are also

programs run by community organisations, including general awareness campaigns,

campaigns aimed at specific groups, and visitor interpretation centres and materials. In

many cases, these programs are supported by industry and government agencies.

9.31. Visitor interpretation programs are designed to enhance the understanding and

appreciation of visitors to natural areas and centres such as aquariums and museums.

Education opportunities include guided tours, displays and observation areas. School

children, as well as tourists, are important target groups for visitor interpretation

services and facilities. Examples of visitor interpretation programs are 'eco-tourism'

operations such as tours accompanied by marine biologists on the Great Barrier Reef,

the education displays that are part of the Penguin Parade on Phillip Island in Victoria,

and walks, tours and events, many involving presentations by Aboriginal people, in

Kakadu National Park and other places in the coastal zone. Specific user group

campaigns are designed to raise awareness and change the behaviour of groups

involved in identifiable impacts on or management of the coastal zone. Examples are

campaigns aimed at recreational fishermen in Western Australia and the Great Barrier

Reef and the Sportfish Tagging Program in Queensland.

9.32. There is considerable scope to expand these activities and enhance the quality of

the currently fragmented efforts in coastal zone community education. There are many

gaps in public understanding of the effects of coastal zone resource uses as well as of

management principles and practices. The ecological and biodiversity value of coastal

heath or mangroves, for example, tends to attract less public attention than rainforests

or endangered species. Even less well known are the functions performed by

vegetation such as kelp beds and other life forms in the marine environment: lack of

direct contact with much of the marine environment makes it less appreciated and

understood by the general public. Large gaps also exist in the community's

understanding of the importance of land and sea in the culture of indigenous people.

9.33. Educational initiatives should be undertaken to help foster a sense of

responsibility and stewardship towards the coastal zone, principally by informing

people, including user groups, of specific actions they can and should take to maintain

the zone's diverse values. Building on an enhanced awareness, appreciation and

understanding of the values of the coastal zone, it is important to focus on specific

behaviour; for example, use of off-road and four-wheel-drive vehicles, harvesting of

intertidal species for bait and food, trampling of vegetation, anchor damage, littering,

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156 The role of communities and industries

and recreational fishing limits. Education programs can be a cost-effective

complement to more costly enforcement and surveillance activities (see Chapter 15).

9.34. Education programs will also be needed to inform the public about the

objectives of the National Coastal Action Program and actions they can take in support

of it. Individuals, groups and organisations should be able to see where they fit within

the overall context, and they should be encouraged to see how they can 'make a

difference' in the management of coastal resources. They should also be made to feel

that their actions in support of a national strategic approach are effective and are

supported or reinforced by the actions of government agencies and others.

9.35. Education of school students about coastal zone issues is important for

generating interest and enthusiasm among both students and parents. Students are

often active participants in hands-on monitoring and management projects and they

should be made aware of the importance of their actions.

9.36. In most states, reference to coastal zone issues is made only in courses external

to the mainstream curricula; some reference to coastal zone resources is, however,

made in primary and secondary curricula in the subject areas of biology, geography,

science and social studies. Schools ran their own programs and there are no formal

curricula set by state education authorities. In some states, particularly Queensland

and New South Wales, there are moves to develop courses in areas such as marine

studies, bringing together subjects from a range of disciplines. In addition, there is a

trend for state departments of education to encourage production of curriculum

materials by the relevant subject associations (for example, the Marine Education Society of Australasia).

9.37. Various community and industry organisations provide to schools information

about issues relating to the coastal zone. An example is school visits by Greening

Australia, to provide information on subjects such as tree planting, propagation

methods, and establishing, for instance, small rainforest ecosystems within the school

grounds. Another example is the Kowanyama Community Awareness Program, which

involves Aboriginal children in natural resource management programs and enables

older Aboriginal people to pass on traditional knowledge. Resource kits, brochures,

games and other materials are provided by a range of organisations such as Clean Up

Australia, the Keep Australia Beautiful Council, Surf Lifesaving Australia, the

Surfrider Foundation, the Australian Surfriders Association, and such industry bodies

as the Australian Mining Industry Council and the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association.

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The role of communities and industries 157

9.38. Visitor interpretation centres are important venues for school education

activities; examples are the Marine Discovery Centres at Queenscliff and Tooradin in

Victoria, the Shortland Wetlands Centre near Newcastle in New South Wales, the

St Kilda mangrove walk in South Australia, and the Maroochy Wetlands Sanctuary in

Queensland. Aquariums, museums and botanical gardens also help school groups,

organise talks and provide facilities to assist educational excursions. Government

support includes, for example, support by the Department of Conservation and Natural

Resources in Victoria for visitor centres with coastal focuses and a Marine Education

Caravan, and the Directorate of School Education has a summer school camp on

Western Port Bay with an environmental centre and aquarium. In the Northern

Territory the Department of Education mns a field study centre on Channel Island near Darwin.

9.39. Among the general awareness activities focusing on students in Queensland are

the 'Polyp' drama performances, which tell the life story of coral on the Great Barrier

Reef. Associated with these performances is the production of kits sent to

participating schools, visits to schools by staff of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Authority and the Queensland Department of the Environment and Heritage, and

production of a video to help schools develop their own drama activities relating to

environmental issues.

9.40. Professional development is an important aspect of the production of material

used by schools. The Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences, Melbourne Zoo and the

Gould League conduct curriculum days with a marine and environmental education

focus; teaching associations run coast-related workshops and lectures at their

conferences; and the Victorian Department of Conservation and Natural Resources

provides information and support for the professional development of teachers. In

Queensland extensive teacher training and qualifications-upgrading courses are

available dealing with a range of coastal issues. There remains, however, a need for

more in-service professional development and, more importantly, pre-service teacher

training in coastal zone issues. There is also a need for specialists to develop

curriculum materials that focus on coastal issues (Alcock 1993).

9.41. The success of the National Coastal Action Program will greatly depend on

improved education programs. A range of community education initiatives should be

undertaken as part of the National Coastal Action Program, to enhance public

awareness of the diverse values of coastal zone resources, to foster a sense of

responsibility and stewardship towards the coastal zone, and to inform the public,

including user groups, of the objectives of the Program and actions they can take in

support of it.

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158 The role of communities and industries

9.42. If community education efforts are to be effective and efficient they should be

based on professional advice and systematic evaluation, and they should be designed to

meet the needs of a wide range of groups with different levels of interest and different

cultural backgrounds.

9.43. It is necessary to develop coordinated approaches to education about coastal

issues. A considerable number of relevant initiatives are currently sponsored by the

Commonwealth and state governments; it is essential that these be coordinated, not

only to ensure that they are mutually reinforcing and that unnecessary duplication is

avoided, but also to avoid confusion about the purpose of the initiatives and the

connections between them (Cutts et al. 1993, Alcock 1993).

9.44. The National Marine Education Program, which is part of Ocean Rescue 2000,

presents an opportunity for coordinating the design and production of educational

materials dealing with coastal issues in cooperation with relevant government agencies

and non-government bodies. A broad range of educational initiatives will be necessary

to adequately cover all the issues associated with coastal resources.

9.5 INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT

9.45. As discussed in Chapter 2, many industries are directly involved in the

management of important coastal zone resources. Examples are the management of

land owned or leased by agricultural producers, exploration for and extraction of

minerals, the manufacture, transport and distribution of goods, the provision of a wide

variety of services, and the provision of major infrastructure, including transport,

communications and energy supply systems and education, health and other social

services. No estimate is available of the proportion of gross domestic product

produced or consumed in the coastal zone, but the fact that more than 80 per cent of

Australians live in the zone suggests that a similar proportion of national production

and expenditure takes place there.

9.46. Although the industries involved in the coastal zone make a significant

contribution to national income there have been many instances in which their activities

have contributed to undesirable impacts on the zone's resources. Chapter 2 discusses

some of these impacts and the ways in which they are currently being approached.

Efforts to prevent undesirable impacts have intensified in recent years, not only

because of the actions of governments in regulating industiy operations but also

because many industries have become aware that sustainable development of economic

activity is dependent on sustainability of the resource base. As part of these efforts,

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The role of communities and industries 159

industry bodies have played a prominent role in seeking to reach agreement about the

objectives that should be pursued as part of ecologically sustainable development.

9.47. Many companies contribute towards the restoration or enhancement of natural

areas of significance in the coastal zone. For example, Alcoa is actively involved in the

restoration of the Spectacles Wetlands in Kwinana, Western Australia, working closely

with government agencies and contributing funding. AMC Mineral Sands collaborated

with the Royal Australian Ornithologists Union in the conversion of mined areas into

wetland habitats for migratory and other bird species at Capel in Western Australia.

The site now contains the AMC Wetlands Centre, a valuable research and educational

facility. Another example is the provision by Caltex of funds for construction of the Banks-Solander Track in Botany Bay National Park.

9.48. Other companies sponsor organisations that contribute to the improvement of

coastal environments. For example, several companies are sponsors of Clean Up

Australia, and the New South Wales Fish Marketing Authority, the Master Fish

Merchants Association of New South Wales and the Professional Fishermen of New

South Wales are involved in the funding and direction of Ocean Watch, an organisation

that seeks better management of aquatic environments through advising industry and

lobbying government Companies are also involved in sponsoring the National

Landcare Program through Landcare Australia Ltd. Major corporations such as the

ANZ Group and ICI assist the scientific research institute Earthwatch.

9.49. Effective communication between community and industry groups is required to

achieve integrated management of coastal zone resources. Some companies have

provided forums within which community groups can discuss the impacts of company

activities. For example, at Kwinana BP operates a community forum that meets to

discuss matters of concern to the community arising from its operations. Another

Kwinana company, CSBP and Farmers, which manufactures fertilisers, is implementing

an industry group Code of Practice on Community Consultation.

9.50. In most states the mining industry has developed codes of conduct for dealing

with owners and occupiers of pastoral and agricultural land; the development of such

codes or guidelines between mining companies and indigenous people has recently

been recommended by the Mining Committee of the Council for Aboriginal

Reconciliation (Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation 1993). The Chamber of Mines

and Energy of Western Australia and the Australian Mining Industry Council have

developed a guide to Aboriginal employment in the mining industry, reflecting mining

companies' growing interest in this area (Chamber of Mines and Energy of Western

Australia 1991).

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160 The role of communities and industries

9.51. Another important example of collaboration between industry and community

groups is the alliance between the National Farmers Federation and the Australian

Conservation Foundation over land degradation issues; this resulted in the

establishment of what is now the National Landcare Program.

9.52. Some state governments have actively encouraged industry groups to take more

responsibility for environmental management. An innovative approach has been used

at Kwinana; a cooperative arrangement has been established for setting ambient limits

of sulphur dioxide and dust that cannot be exceeded by industry as a whole; new

industries can operate in the area only if total emissions do not increase, and it has been

left to industries to control their total emissions (AGC Woodward-Clyde 1993). There

is potential for adopting this approach in other areas, possibly in conjunction with the

tradeable permits system discussed in Chapter 13.

9.53. The Australian Manufacturing Council is actively promoting Best Practice

Environmental Regulation, which involves the adoption of practices that have

produced outcomes consistent with enhanced environmental performance and

improved competitiveness (AMC 1993).

9.54. These examples of cooperation to achieve better resource management show

how industries can contribute to the objectives of coastal zone management as well as

avoid undesirable impacts on resources. Governments can facilitate greater

commitment and involvement by ensuring that industries operating in local and regional

areas take part in the development and implementation of strategies for those areas.

Governments could also encourage industry contributions to the cost of community

projects relating to coastal resource management by ensuring that such contributions

are tax deductible. Currentiy the Taxation Office allows private financial contributions

for these purposes to be tax deductible only if they include an element of advertising or

corporate sponsorship or they are made to a charitable organisation.

9.6 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

9.55. Effective participation by community and industry groups is a critical

component of the management of coastal zone resources; such participation can

greatly augment the resources devoted to management by governments. Especially

important is the provision of facilitation, extension and other services to support

community involvement in activities such as dune stabilisation and rehabilitation,

management and monitoring of the shoreline and near-shore marine environments,

visitor management and education, construction of paths and walkways, wetlands

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

The role of communities and industries 161

management, and programs designed to minimise the impacts of urbanisation and

associated development Local and regional facilitators can assist in ensuring that this

involvement is coordinated and maintains continuity and community enthusiasm.

R.13 The Inquiry recommends that

a Coastcare program be established by the Commonwealth Government to deal with the particular needs of coastal areas for soil conservation, maintenance of biodiversity, revegetation, and management and monitoring of the shoreline and near-shore environment;

the Coastcare program provide funds for the appointment of local and regional coastal community facilitators and extension services;

the Coastcare program be designed to extend and complement existing initiatives for community involvement in integrated catchment management.

9.56. Committees that help local authorities to manage the coastal zone can play a

valuable role in supplementing the resources available to those authorities. Such

committees are already formally established in Victoria and operate less formally in

some other states. Extension of the committee system to deal with continuing

management issues is dependent on state and local governments' views about the role

the committees can play. Consultative committees are another important source of

community involvement

R.14 The Inquiry recommends that

local and state governments examine existing arrangements to ensure that community groups are provided with the opportunity to participate in the formulation of policies and programs relating to the management of coastal zone resources.

9.57. It is necessary to develop coordinated approaches to education about coastal

issues. A considerable number of relevant initiatives are currently sponsored by the

Commonwealth and state governments; it is essential that these be coordinated, not

only to ensure that they are mutually reinforcing and that unnecessary duplication is

avoided but also to avoid confusion about the purpose of the initiatives and the

connections between them.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

162 The role of communities and industries

R.15 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Marine Education Program receive additional Commonwealth funding to provide educational materials on coastal zone management issues for community groups, user groups and schools;

the National Coastal Management Agency arrange for the production of educational materials explaining the objectives and implementation of the National Coastal Action Program;

the community education programs conducted by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and other relevant agencies be extended to include projects to increase understanding in the general community of the importance of land

and sea in indigenous culture and to increase understanding in both the general community and indigenous communities of traditional and modem approaches to resource management;

the National Coastal Management Agency ensure that there is close liaison between the Coastcare program, the Marine and Coastal Community Network, the National Marine Education Program and the education units of other major national initiatives relevant to natural resource and indigenous issues.

9.58. There is considerable scope for industry to become more closely involved in

coastal zone resource management. Companies and individuals should be encouraged

to support projects designed to improve the quality of resources in areas of the coastal

zone in which they operate. The Commonwealth Government can provide an

important incentive for companies and individuals by allowing expenditure on such

projects to be deductible from income assessed for tax purposes.

R.16 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government ensure that company and individual contributions towards the cost of projects designed to improve the quality of resources in the coastal zone be an allowable deduction from income assessed for tax purposes.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 10 THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

10.01. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were the earliest owners and

managers of Australia's coastal zone. Today many indigenous communities maintain

an active interest and involvement in coastal zone management; in some areas they

retain ownership rights. In the previous chapter the Inquiry makes recommendations

to achieve greater and more effective involvement of community and industry groups

in coastal zone management. There and elsewhere in the report the Inquiry seeks to

take into account the interests and special needs of indigenous communities to ensure

that they share in this greater community involvement This chapter provides a more

detailed analysis of the interests of indigenous people and puts forward

recommendations on matters not dealt with in other chapters.

10.02. Section 10.1 describes indigenous interests in the coastal zone in terms of both

historical associations and contemporary economic and cultural uses of the zone's

resources. Section 10.2 examines the extent of indigenous people's current

involvement in coastal zone management. Issues arising from these interests and

involvement in coastal zone management are discussed in Section 10.3. Conclusions

are reached and recommendations made in Section 10.4.

10.03. During the Inquiry, issues relating to the High Court's recognition in 1992 of

native title have been the subject of national debate. The implications of native title for

coastal zone management are unclear. Certainty will emerge only with the passage of

Commonwealth legislation, future determinations by the proposed native title tribunals,

further court decisions, and direct negotiations between interested parties. The Inquiry

has accordingly sought to take into account indigenous interests in coastal zone

management regardless of what title indigenous people may have to coastal land, sea

or resources.

10.04. Nevertheless, the Inquiry notes that native title may exist in regard to some

areas—although rights to sea areas or resources may be limited to usufructuary rights

rather than ownership— and that indigenous people are concerned to ensure that these

rights are not unwittingly extinguished or impaired as a result of their own actions or

actions by governments and government agencies. In view of these concerns, the

Inquiry stresses that nothing in the proposed National Coastal Action Program should

be taken to prejudice or diminish any native title rights to land, sea and resources as

may exist

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166 The role of indigenous people

10.1 INDIGENOUS INTERESTS IN THE COASTAL ZONE

Background information

10.05. Table 10.1 shows the distribution of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

people. Nearly one-half of the population lives in the coastal zone. There are

approximately 100 coastal indigenous communities occupying land under some form of

Aboriginal or Islander leasehold, freehold, reserve or native title. A further 200 or

more outstations are associated with these communities and are occupied on a

semi-permanent basis. Indigenous people form the majority of the population in a

number of coastal regions, including Torres Strait, Cape York Peninsula, Arnhem

Land, Groote Eylandt, the Tiwi Islands, north-west Western Australia, and parts of

southern Australia such as Cape Barren Island in Tasmania. Figure 10.1 shows the locations of coastal communities, towns and cities with populations of more than 50

Aboriginal and/or Islander people; such communities are found in every state.

Table 10.1 Distribution of Australia's indigenous population, by state, 30 June 1991

State

Indigenous population

Percentage of total indigenous population

Estimated indigenous population in coastal zone

Percentage of indigenous population in coastal zone

New South Wales 68 941 27 28 955 42

Victoria 16 570 6 7 125 43

Queensland 67 012 26 37 527 56

Western Australia 40 002 16 20401 51

South Australia 16 020 6 8 811 55

Tasmania 8 683 3 4 602 53

ACT 1 768 1 141 8

Northern Territory 38 337 15 13 418 35

Total 257 333 100 120 980 47

Note: ACT includes Jervis Bay. Source: Adapted from ATSIC (Submission 398, p, 3). _______________________ __

Economic and cultural uses of the coastal zone

10.06. Coastal land and estuarine and marine resources are of major economic and

cultural importance to many Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Maintenance of traditional uses varies with local history, tenure and legislation. It is

most evident among indigenous people who are living on lands they own or control,

although many people who have been dispossessed of their traditional lands continue

to hunt, gather and fish and to care for many places of cultural significance.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Figure 10.1 Coastal Aboriginal and Torres Strait blander lands and population centres, 1991

LEGEND

F ;;l Aboriginal land within coastal mask

O Population Centre 50-250

O Population Centre 250-1000

Q) Population Centre 1000-5000

( ^ ) Population Centre > 5000

Source: AUSLIG, from data supplied by ABS, ATSIC (Submission 398).

16X Ίΐιο role of indigenous people

10.07. Box 10.1 discusses indigenous people's involvement in resource development

and commercial fishing in the coastal zone, and the importance of marine resources in

the diet of a number of indigenous communities.

Box 10.1 Economic uses of the coastal zone by indigenous communities

Ihe economic importance of marine resources for some coastal communities is revealed in large measure by the dietary patterns of these communities; for example, seafoods have been estimated to contribute between 30 and 40 per cent of calorific intake in a coastal outstation community in the Northern Territory (Meehan 1982) and 20 per cent of calorific intake in an urbanised community in southern Queensland (Whallcy 1990). Seafood consumption by Torres Strait Islanders has been ranked among the highest in the world (Johannes & MacFarianc 1991).

Λ few communities are involved in small-scale commercial fishing enterprises, although in some eases licences me held only for the sale of fish within the local community. Commercial ventures include full or part ownership of licences in the Northern Territory pearling industry and several of

the Territory's fisheries (Grey & Lea 1993), harvesting of crayfish, trochus and pearl shells in Torres Strait (Johannes & MacFarlane 1991) and harvesting of trochus shells in Western Australia. In 1990 Torres Strait Islanders operated 200 of the estimated 230 boats involved in the crayfish fishery in Torres Strait, and it is primarily Islanders who are involved in collecting pearl shells in Torres Strait.

Very little commercial fishing is currently done by indigenous communities in southern Australia, but evidence suggests that there was greater commercial activity prior to increased government regulation of fisheries. At Wreck Bay (Jervis Bay), for example, many community members are said to have

fished commercially before the repeal in 1966 of a regulation that had exempted Aboriginal people from requiring a commercial licence. Today only one member of the community holds and operates a commercial fishing licence (Smyth 1993b; Egloff 1993).

Some coastal communities are involved in various ways in other forms of resource development, including mining, tourism and agricultural and pastoral activities. For example, in the Northern Territory and Queensland Aboriginal interests have negotiated royalty arrangements for a number of major resource developments, including the Ranger uranium mine, the Nabalco bauxite mine at

Nhulunbuy, the Grootc Eylandt Mining Company's manganese mine, and the Cape f lattery silica mine near Cooktown. Ollier examples are exploration for mineral sands on Bathurst mid Melville Ishuids (a joint venture between Tiwi Resources Pty Ltd and Renison Goldfields Consolidated) and contracts lor a number of activities associated with mining by Yirrkala Business Enterprises Pty Ltd (a fully Aboriginal owned mid operated company based at Nhulunbuy). There are tourism ventures such as l iwi Tours, provision of accommodation at Cape York, Kakadu National Park mid Cape Leveque in Western Australia, the Dream time Cultural Centre at Rockhampton, and Wreck Bay Walkabouts at Jervis Bay; numerous Aboriginal dance companies operate in various centres in the coastal zone, lliere arc also several agricultural enterprises operated by Aboriginal people; for example, at Point Pearce in South Australia.

A consultancy report commissioned by the Inquiry summarises evidence of the importance of coastal zone resources in contemporary indigenous economic mid cultural life (Smyth 1993b)._____________

10.08. In addition to these interests in the coastal zone, many indigenous Inquiry

participants expressed a strong and continuing sense of belonging lo, and responsibility

lor, those parts of the zone they consider to be their traditional estates. The sense of

custodianship extends to sea as well as land areas and often focuses on particular

places ol cultural significance, including Dreaming tracks, story places, 'poison' places,

burial grounds and archaeological sites. Box 10.2 discusses the traditional links that indigenous people have with coastal waters.

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The role of indigenous people 169

Box 10.2 Indigenous peoples' traditional links with the sea

Sites of significance occur in all types of coastal environments, including beaches, headlands, estuaries, reefs and the sea. Sites offshore were identified by indigenous people in Western Australia, the Northern Territory and Queensland; such sites have been documented up to 80 kilometres off the coast in the Northern Territory (Bergin 1991). Some inland groups also have cultural links with the

sea through Dreaming tracks that cover long distances to the sea (Smyth 1993b).

Many groups of indigenous people consider areas in the sea as integral parts of their traditional country. Anthropological research shows that distinctive maritime cultures continue to exist among some indigenous communities (see Chase & Sutton 1981) and records dating back to early this century describe instances of a system of indigenous property rights relating to reefs and seas

(Cordell 1992). Customary rights of access to and use of areas of seabed, seas and estuaries are acknowledged in the Torres Strait Treaty between Australia and Papua New Guinea (Article 12) and a limited form of sea rights exists in the Northern Territory (where areas of sea up to 2 kilometres from the low-water mark can be partially reserved for Aboriginal use) and Queensland (where tidal waters

adjacent to Aboriginal land may be subject to claim by indigenous groups).

Although the knowledge, observances and management practices associated with marine tenure systems may have disappeared in many parts of the coastal zone, recent studies show they continue to exist in varying degrees in some areas (Cordell 1992, 1993). The nature of those systems was discussed with the Inquiry during visits to indigenous communities.

The links that many coastal indigenous people have with the sea as well as the land are recorded in a number of land claim inquiries— (for example, Woodward 1974; and Seaman 1984)—and were acknowledged in the report of the Ecologically Sustainable Working Group on Fisheries (1991a, p. 153; see also Northern Territory Faculty of Law & Centre for Aboriginal and Islander Studies

1993).___________ _______________________________________

10.2 PARTICIPATION IN MAN AGEMENT

10.09. Indigenous people seek increased participation in all aspects of coastal zone

management. At present, their participation tends to be greatest where legislation or

other special arrangements exist to provide specially for indigenous interests. For

example, in the Northern Territory indigenous groups' participation in coastal zone

management is facilitated by the, Aboriginal Land Rights (Northern Territory)

Act 1976, which transferred all Aboriginal reserves to inalienable title, instituted a

mechanism whereby Aboriginal people with traditional links to unalienated Crown land

could claim such lands, provided royalty rights to minerals extracted from Aboriginal

land, and established land councils with responsibility to land trusts for the

management of these areas (Altman & Dillon 1988).

10.10. Similarly, the right of Torres Strait Islanders to be consulted on the

management of Torres Strait is provided for in the Torres Strait Treaty, the main

purpose of which is to 'acknowledge and protect the traditional way of life and

livelihood of the traditional inhabitants including their traditional fishing and free

movement' (Article 10, para. 3; see also Chapter 15). The Commonwealth

Government has also recently introduced draft legislation to establish a Torres Strait

Regional Authority in response to calls by Islanders for greater self-management and

recognition of their traditional culture. The proposed authority would be charged,

among other things, with recognising and maintaining the unique culture of indigenous

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

170 The role of indigenous people

people in Torres Strait, developing policy proposals to meet the needs of indigenous

people in the area, and formulating a Torres Strait Development Plan, incorporating a

marine strategy to improve the economic, social and cultural status of indigenous

people.

10.11. Customary laws regulating access to resources, the observance of traditional

estate boundaries, and the controlled use of fire are examples of traditional

management practices. Some cultural activities—for example, participating in

ceremonies relating to the well-being of places or species—also represent a form of

management. Such practices still occur, particularly in parts of northern Australia. In

recent years interest has developed in the biological aspects of traditional knowledge

and practices and the prospects for incorporating such knowledge and practices in

conservation programs (HORSCERA 1993, pp. 64-6).

10.12. The remainder of this section provides a brief overview of indigenous

participation in particular aspects of coastal zone management; consultancy reports

commissioned by the Inquiry provide detailed documentation (Altman et al. 1993;

Smyth 1993a, 1993b). A consultancy report (lull 1993) provides information on

international developments of relevance to indigenous people's involvement in coastal

zone management; its principal findings are summarised in Box 10.3.

Fisheries management

10.13. Fishing for food provides opportunities for many indigenous communities to

maintain contact with their traditional estates and for new generations to learn

traditional skills and cultural knowledge about the coastal environment. In remote

areas it also provides opportunities for people to monitor the activities of other

resource users such as recreational and commercial fishers and to report any breaches

of regulations.

10.14. Indigenous people are formally involved in the management of commercial

fishing only in Torres Strait and to a lesser extent elsewhere in Queensland. Torres

Strait Islanders have an advisory role in the development of fisheries policy for the

Torres Strait Protected Zone, which was established under the Torres Strait Treaty.

These arrangements were initiated by the Torres Strait Protected Zone Authority,

which administers the Zone. Islanders have no express rights under the Torres Strait

Treaty or the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984 to initiate consultations other than at a

local level (Murray 1992) and they are not represented on the Authority. The

Authority does, however, have a policy of maximising opportunities for Islander

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The role of indigenous people 171

participation in all sectors of the Torres Strait fishing industry; as a consequence,

further expansion of non-islander commercial fishing has been prohibited (Elmer &

Coles 1991, p. 289).

Box 103 Overseas developments in indigenous peoples' resource rights

Issues relating to recognition of indigenous resource interests have been prominent in other countries for much longer than they have in Australia. This box summarises some of the key developments that have occurred.

Norway The Norwegian Constitution has been amended to reflect the 1984 finding of the government-created Sami Rights Committee that Norway is obliged by international law (Article 27 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights) to protect the natural resource base of the Sami people, so that

Sami culture is protected.

United States A series of court decisions have recognised indigenous traditional rights; for example, in Washington State a 1974 court decision awarded 50 per cent of total fish catches to Indians. In the face of the State's opposition and non-compliance a federal court created a co-management structure to resolve

fisheries management issues. Initiatives included the formation of the Northwest Indian Fisheries Commission, a coordinating body that provides assistance, technical advice, program development and public information.

Canada In 1990 the Supreme Court of Canada, in the Sparrow decision, said that indigenous communities have a constitutional right (subject to conservation interests) to fish for food, social and ceremonial purposes, and that this right must be interpreted liberally to protect their evolution over time. It also said that indigenous people must be consulted before governments make resource allocation decisions that affect indigenous peoples' rights. As a result of this case, the Canadian Government has moved to co-management of marine resources and related land and sea environments with the Indian nations

through the Aboriginal Fisheries Strategy, including initiatives expected to cost $A160 million over a seven-year period.

The major court cases in Canada on indigenous rights, including the Sparrow case, have originated in British Columbia, which has been the scene of Canada's most persistent indigenous rights conflicts. Current local and regionally organised co-management arrangements have been developed 'without prejudice' to tribal and regional Indian 'treaty' negotiations, which are about to be negotiated. Marine and coastal co-management arrangements have also been implemented in the western Arctic following a 1984 agreement between the Canadian Government and the Inuvialuit; this agreement recognises preferential harvesting rights, control of access to the resource, participation in management, and the relevance of both traditional knowledge and modem scientific approaches to management. And in 1992 the government and the Inuit in the Northwest Territories (Nunavut)

negotiated a political settlement that provides a comprehensive and unified resource management system on land and offshore, including the selection by Inuit people of particular lands for ownership and sub-surface rights.

New Zealand In 1983 the New Zealand Parliament amended legislation to effectively recognise traditional fishing rights. Following a 1987 High Court decision restraining government from implementing a quota system for sea fisheries on the basis that it was creating new property rights without reference to

Maori interests, new legislation was passed in 1989. This legislation recognised Maori fishing rights under the Treaty of Waitangi and reserved 10 per cent of the total fishery quota for Maori interests. Further settlements have since been negotiated to resolve Maori commercial fishing claims, including government funding of Maori interests in a joint-venture purchase of New Zealand's largest seafood

company and reservation of 20 per cent of new fishery quotas for the Maori Fisheries Commission.

Source: Adapted from Jull (1993), Bergin (1992)._____________________________ _____________

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172 The role of indigenous people

10.15. The Queensland Fish Management Authority has recently undertaken to

include indigenous representatives on fisheries management advisory committees and

has sought from the Queensland Department of Family Services and Aboriginal and

Islander Affairs advice about the appointment of these representatives. At

Kowanyama, on the west coast of Cape York Peninsula, the Aboriginal Community

Council—the governing body for the local Deed of Grant in Trust area—has

negotiated with relevant government agencies, in part through the purchase and

subsequent surrender of fishing licences, the closure of some estuarine areas to

commercial and recreational fishing to conserve fishery stocks. The Council has also

established a Natural and Cultural Resource Management Office which, among other

management tasks, monitors commercial and recreational fishing activity using a

helicopter surveillance program. An Aboriginal ranger employed by the Council is a

fisheries inspector under the Queensland Fisheries Act, with powers equal to those of

government-employed fisheries inspectors. By agreement with the Queensland Fish

Management Authority, the ranger limits inspection activities to the estuaries and

coastal waters adjacent to the Kowanyama Trust Area. The Council controls the

number of recreational fishers visiting the area and levies camping fees; revenue from

the fees is used to help fund the helicopter surveillance program and fisheries research

(Sinnamon 1992).

Marine resource management

10.16. Formal indigenous participation in the management of marine parks is

currently limited to representation on the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Consultative

Committee and the Queensland Marine Park Consultative Committee, which meet

concurrently and have the same membership. Other types of participation include the

employment of an Aboriginal liaison officer by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Authority and the recent establishment of councils of elders to advise the Authority on

the allocation of dugong and turtle hunting permits. The draft 25-year strategic plan

for the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area envisages a greater management role

for indigenous people, but legislative changes will be required if indigenous interests

are to be taken into account (GBRMPA 1992b).

10.17. The Authority currently takes account of indigenous interests in making

decisions relating to zoning plans, but a recent review of the Authority (the

Whitehouse report) proposes that the Authority be authorised to enter into formal

management agreements with indigenous communities; the agreements would

recognise a community's traditional rights of management in a particular area and

constitute such an area as an Aboriginal Marine Management Area (Whitehouse 1993).

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The role of indigenous people 173

Box 10.4 provides details of the review's recommendations. Zoning arrangements,

including the establishment of 'outstation buffer zones' that restrict access to 'invitation

only' and provide for an exclusive use zone for Aboriginal people, are also being

considered by the Northern Territory Government as a possible means of meeting

indigenous interests in some marine areas (Billyard 1993).

Box 10.4 Recognition of Indigenous Interests in the Great Barrier Reef

A recent review of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority for the Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories proposes that statutory recognition be accorded indigenous interests in the management of the Park. According to the review,

It is considered that the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 should be amended to authorise the Authority entering into formal management agreements with Aboriginal communities involving the following features:

(a) The Minister, following consideration by the Authority and the Ministerial Council, authorise the making of a management agreement between the Authority and Aboriginal communities recognising an Aboriginal community's traditional rights of management in an area of the GBR Marine Park and constituting such area as an Aboriginal Marine Management

Area.

(b) In respect of each Aboriginal Marine Management Area there shall be constituted a Management Board comprising representatives of the Aboriginal community and the Authority but with a majority of Aboriginal representatives.

(c) The Board of Management would be empowered to prepare zoning plans and management plans and consider and determine permit applications within the area subject only to an overriding power by the Authority in circumstances where the Authority considered that the conservation values of the Marine Park were seriously threatened by any decision of the

Management Board.

(d) Day to day management programs within an Aboriginal Marine Management Area would be undertaken under the supervision of the Management Board.

(e) The Authority would fund an Aboriginal ranger training program to provide identified Aboriginal ranger positions within the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage to assist in DDM [day-to-day management] activities within an Aboriginal Marine Management Area.

The traditional Aboriginal interests in the management of parts of the GBR particularly in the Far Northern Section are of such a strong and enduring nature as to justify a direct recognition of that management role within the overall umbrella of the management of the GBR Marine Park.

Source: Whitehouse (1993)._________________ _________________________________ ____

10.18. The Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage, which is

responsible for day-to-day management of marine parks in Queensland, employs

several Aboriginal rangers and other Aboriginal staff and is negotiating with the

Yarrabah Aboriginal community about joint management arrangements for that part of

Cairns Marine Park adjoining Yarrabah.

10.19. The Northern Territory Government and indigenous groups are currently in

dispute about the extent of Aboriginal involvement in managing Cobourg Marine Park,

which lies adjacent to the Aboriginal-owned Gurig National Park (Billyard 1993;

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174 The role of indigenous people

Northern Land Council, Submission 211). In Western Australia a proposal by

indigenous groups and government agencies for a jointly managed marine park in the

Buccaneer Archipelago lapsed in 1991 through failure to obtain government approval.

Indigenous participation on the Ningaloo Marine Park Advisory Committee,

established in July 1993, is at present being discussed. An Aboriginal commercial

fisherman is on the Shark Bay Marine Park Planning Committee, but formal

management arrangements are yet to be established (Smyth 1993b).

10.20. Indigenous communities in Torres Strait and along the north-east coast of

Arnhem Land are developing projects to improve management of the marine

environment (Mulrennan 1993; Williams 1993). Funded under the Commonwealth

Government's Ocean Rescue 2000 program, the projects aim to give expression to

indigenous people's views on how the marine and coastal environment should be

managed in these regions and to lead to greater indigenous involvement in

management. The projects have no formal status at this stage but have had

considerable success in facilitating consultation between indigenous communities,

government agencies and researchers; the Torres Strait project may eventually provide

the basis for the marine strategy to be prepared by the proposed Torres Strait Regional

Authority.

Coastal land and heritage management

10.21. In some coastal areas Aboriginal traditional owners are engaged in joint

management of national parks. Such arrangements—as at Kakadu and Gurig National

Parks in the Northern Territory—have been negotiated as part of government

recognition of Aboriginal ownership of the land on which these parks have been

established. Of the eight World Heritage areas that fall wholly or partly in the coastal

zone, Kakadu is the only one that has substantial indigenous involvement in

management. Many indigenous people regard the arrangements at Kakadu and Uluru

National Parks as models for joint management

10.22. In addition to the continued use of traditional management practices such as

buming-off and ceremonial observances, some indigenous communities have

established formal bodies to improve their capacity to manage coastal areas subject to

pressures from such sources as recreation uses, weed and feral animal infestations, and

commercial fishers. These include the initiatives at Kowanyama and a similar land

management body that has been established at Nhulunbuy in the Northern Territory

(Dhimurru Land Management Corporation 1992). Other Aboriginal community

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The role of indigenous people 175

councils and local government authorities, as well as umbrella organisations such as

land councils, are also actively involved in land management

10.23. Since they began on Palm Island and at Kowanyama in the mid-1980s,

community ranger services have been extended to many indigenous communities on

Cape York Peninsula and others are being set up in coastal Arnhem Land and the

Kimberley area. Although operating without formal authority in many cases, the

rangers are engaged in a variety of activities, including tourism management,

archaeological surveys, cultural site management, community education, and liaison

with government agencies such as conservation, customs and quarantine agencies. The

ranger system has been developed mainly through the initiative of local communities

and reflects the interest many communities have in caring for their traditional country.

The rangers are funded primarily under the Commonwealth's Community Development

Employment Projects scheme, whereby they forego their entitlement to Job Search or

Newstart allowances in return for a wage at least equivalent to those entitlements.

10.24. Government assistance for indigenous people's land management activities is

provided mainly through Commonwealth-funded programs; for example, the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission's Land Acquisition and Land

Management Programs, the Australian Nature Conservation Agency's Contract

Employment Program for Aboriginals in Natural and Cultural Resource Management,

and the Bureau of Resource Sciences' Aboriginal Rural Resources Initiative. There is

also some in-kind assistance from government agencies (for example, the provision of

ranger trainers) and there are financial arrangements with companies (for example,

Nabalco's contracts with Dhimurru for providing services to the company's

operations).

10.25. On land owned or controlled by indigenous people the management of cultural

heritage sites is determined by community members. Sites elsewhere are generally the

responsibility of state heritage agencies, which employ officers to record archaeological

sites and liaise with indigenous people about management of the sites. Resources for

cultural heritage protection are also available from several Commonwealth agencies,

among them the Australian Heritage Commission and the Australian Nature

Conservation Agency.

10.26. The Victorian Government provides funds to Aboriginal communities to

employ cultural officers who undertake heritage management work on behalf of those

communities. Many of these officers also serve as Aboriginal heritage inspectors under

provisions of a 1987 amendment to the Commonwealth's Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Heritage Protection Act 1984. The amendment applies only in Victoria and

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176 The role of indigenous people

provides inspectors with powers to issue interim protection orders to prevent the

imminent destruction of sites pending further investigations.

10.27. Local governments also have an important role in conservation of sites

because of their powers over development. Some indigenous communities, local

governments and heritage agencies are beginning to work cooperatively to develop site

management programs. In New South Wales local Aboriginal land councils have

developed policies for Aboriginal involvement in archaeological surveys undertaken in

environmental impact assessments; Wyong Shire Council north of Sydney, in

conjunction with the New South Wales National Parks and Wildlife Service and the

local Aboriginal land council, has developed a cooperative system of heritage

management. Other important local government initiatives include the employment of

Aboriginal policy development officers by the Australian Local Government

Association and local government associations in Victoria and the Northern Territory.

In Carnarvon, Western Australia, the local council has employed an Aboriginal liaison

officer to improve relations between the council and local indigenous people.

10.28. In many places indigenous organisations undertake a heritage management role

independent of or in conjunction with government agencies. In Tasmania, for example,

the Tasmanian Aboriginal Land Council and the Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre are

involved in documenting and protecting archaeological sites and Aboriginal people are

participating in the management of several conservation areas in which there are

significant cultural sites.

10.3 MANAGEMENT ISSUES

10.29. A number of important issues in coastal zone management arise from a

consideration of the interests of indigenous people in Australia and developments

overseas in relation to the rights of indigenous populations. Of particular concern for

Australia's indigenous people are issues relating to the following:

• recognition of traditional land, sea and resource rights;

• the protection of heritage sites, cultural knowledge, and the environment

generally; •

• participation in coastal zone management institutions and decision-making

processes;

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The role of indigenous people 177

• involvement in and benefits from the commercial use of coastal zone resources.

Recognition of traditional rights

10.30. The lack or perceived inadequacy of land tenure arrangements commensurate

with their status as original owners of the coastal zone is the main issue concerning

many indigenous groups. Governments' responses to requests for recognition of

indigenous land rights have been varied, ranging from the Commonwealth Aboriginal

Land Rights (Northern Territory) Act 1976, which provides for the grant of inalienable

freehold title to traditional owners and has resulted in the grant of some 35 per cent of

Territory land to indigenous people, to the situation in Tasmania, where no land rights

legislation exists. Other states have enacted various forms of land rights legislation,

resulting in the transfer to indigenous groups of varying amounts of land under

freehold or leasehold title.

10.31. A related issue is the lack of recognition given to indigenous ownership of

marine estates, despite the findings and recommendations of several major inquiries.

For example, in 1986 the Law Reform Commission recommended that in cases where

a traditional association or special link with the sea could be established 'there should

be provision for areas of the sea adjacent to Aboriginal land to be preserved for

traditional fishing' (1986, vol. 2, p. 226). And, more recently, the Ecologically

Sustainable Development Working Group on Fisheries said,

an appropriate [coastal resource management] framework must be found to work within the customary tenure systems which extend over the land-sea interface and coastal waters used by indigenous groups in much of Australia, particularly north of the Tropic of Capricorn. (1991a, p. xlifi)

10.32. The hopes of indigenous people for recognition of their status as prior owners

and occupiers of Australia have been raised since the High Court's recognition of

native title. Some coastal management agencies—for example, the Great Barrier Reef

Marine Park Authority—are examining the implications of the High Court’s decision

for their operations and are working closely with local indigenous communities to

ensure recognition of indigenous people's rights and interests.

10.33. Considerable disparities also exist between states in the recognition given to

traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights. In the Northern Territory, Western

Australia and Queensland, for example, indigenous people are wholly or partly exempt

from a range of legislation that regulates these rights; on the other hand, there are no

such exemptions for indigenous people in Victoria or Tasmania (see, for example,

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178 The role of indigenous people

Blokland & Flynn 1993; Halsbury's Laws o f Australia 1991). In states where there is

little or no recognition of these rights, particularly fishing rights, there is continuing

tension between indigenous communities and relevant authorities, which has resulted in

reports of harassment of indigenous people and a number of prosecutions (Chalk 1993;

Smyth 1993b). Only in New South Wales is there a specified process for resolving

disputes over access to land for traditional hunting, fishing and gathering purposes: the

Aboriginal Land Rights Act 1983 provides for local land councils to apply to the Land

and Environment Court for an access permit; the Act also provides for the

appointment, as conciliation and technical assessors of the court, of persons with

knowledge of land rights matters and qualifications and experience suitable for the

determination of disputes involving Aboriginal people.

10.34. These differences in the extent of recognition of traditional rights persist

despite recommendations for the Australia-wide recognition of such rights by the Law

Reform Commission. That Commission based its opinions on the grounds that

indigenous people should have the right to retain and develop their traditional lifestyle

and identity, that a people should not be deprived of its own means of subsistence, and

that food obtained for subsistence forms an important part of the diet of many

indigenous people in remote areas (1986, vol. 2, p. 177). Similar recommendations

have recendy been made by the Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody

(1991) and the Queensland State Government Inquiry into Recreational Fishing

(1993). Recognition of such rights is provided for in several international conventions

and in overseas countries such as the United States, Canada and Norway (Sutherland

1992a; lull 1993).

Heritage protection

10.35. A great deal of concern was expressed to the Inquiry that indigenous heritage,

including sites of cultural significance in coastal areas not under indigenous control, is

inadequately protected or managed by government agencies and that such heritage

should be under the control of indigenous people. The Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Commission submitted,

Coastal areas in Australia frequently contain large numbers of [culturally significant] sites and their protection and management is of prime importance to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. The divergence in the scope and administration of the State legislation has resulted in inadequate preservation and protection of sites of significance. Indeed, the greatest threat to significant cultural sites in the coastal zone lies in the process of rapid urbanisation which is now occurring in the zone

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The role of indigenous people 179

and, in particular, residential developments controlled at the State and local government level. (Submission 546, attachment, para. 4)

10.36. A draft agreement on cultural heritage protection is being considered by

governments but is limited to the protection and return of cultural property legally held

by public organisations (Australian Aboriginal Affairs Council 1993). The Australian

Heritage Commission does not have a management role in cultural site protection (see

Transcript, p. 1929); it registers sites and advises on their management if asked to do

so, but site management and protection are generally the responsibility of state

agencies. Similarly, under provisions of the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Heritage Protection Act 1984 the Commonwealth has limited powers to intervene

where damage may occur to a significant Aboriginal site but it does not have

responsibility for the management of protected areas. Nor does it have the power to

ensure that the traditional owners of protected areas are involved in the management of

those areas, although, as noted, special provisions in the Act relating only to Victoria

can result in Aboriginal people being able to issue interim protection orders in that

state.

10.37. According to the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, state

governments have resisted recent Commonwealth proposals to strengthen Aboriginal

heritage legislation and the emphasis in most existing legislation is on the protection of

relics of past occupation or art sites rather than sites that embody sacred and secular

traditions (Submission 701).

10.38. Sometimes legislation protecting sites and cultural objects is the only legal

recourse people have for asserting their claims (Altman et al. 1993, pp. 62-3).

Cultural information can thus be used by indigenous groups as a lever to increase their

participation in coastal zone development and management processes. But indigenous

people face a dilemma in providing cultural knowledge to governments and the public

because it often means that they lose control over subsequent uses of that knowledge.

The dilemma was succinctly expressed by the Cape York Land Council and the

Aurukun Community Inc. Ltd:

Information and ownership of it is a significant resource in its own right... governments must accept that Aurukun people are very worried about the threat that public ownership of resource information poses to their efforts to preserve their cultural integrity and protect their land for their children

... we feel that public ownership and access to information relating to our land will only serve to increase pressure on us to permit development of these resources or allow greater access to them. (Submission 292, p. 14)

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180 The role of indigenous people

10.39. There is also widespread concern among indigenous people that pollution,

environmental degradation and the depletion of fisheries are undermining the welfare,

sustenance and cultural heritage of communities. According to the Aboriginal and

Torres Strait Islander Commission,

A significant number of government agencies approach environmental issues from the narrow perspective of natural resource use and conservation, or from their own particular perspective such as financial implications or the impact on local government. We believe that this

situation also applies in relation to coastal zone management. Whilst ATSIC is cognisant of the importance of these perspectives it considers that a broader focus which encompasses social and cultural issues, and especially those of Australia's indigenous peoples, is now required.

(Submission 546, para. 21)

Participation, consultation and negotiation

10.40. As noted in Section 10.2, indigenous interests are represented on very few

authorities responsible for the management of coastal zone resources. Nor do many

decision-making processes make allowance for the time and cost involved in consulting

indigenous communities, which are often highly decentralised both geographically and

in authority structure. Many environmental impact assessment studies fail to take

account of social and cultural issues, with the result that indigenous interests are

considered poorly, if at all (Chase 1990; Craig 1990; see also Holden &

O'Faircheallaigh 1991; World Bank 1991a). Frustration on the part of the indigenous

people affected, and on the part of coastal managers and planners who must deal with

conflicts that subsequently arise, is a common outcome of inadequate consultation.

10.41. The Council of Australian Governments has in principle accepted the need to

negotiate with and maximise participation by indigenous people in the formulation of

policies and programs that affect them (COAG 1992, p. 5). Some Inquiry participants

noted that greater involvement is also required by a variety of international treaties,

conventions and declarations covering such matters as the recognition of customary

tenures, traditional knowledge, and participation by indigenous people in the

administration of their traditional lands (see, for example, Sutherland 1992a; lull 1993).

10.42. Despite some progress in this regard, including joint management or advisory

arrangements for some national and marine parks, governments have been slow to act

on the recommendations of previous inquiries into related matters. The

Commonwealth has yet to respond to the Australian Law Reform Commission's 1986

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The role of indigenous people 181

inquiry into customary law, which, among other things, recommended amendments to

the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Act 1975 and the Torres Strait Fisheries Act

1984 to improve consultative arrangements. With the exception of Queensland, no

government has acted on the recommendation of the Ecologically Sustainable

Development Working Group on Fisheries 'that indigenous communities have

membership on management advisory committees of appropriate fisheries' (1991a,

p. xliv). And the Commonwealth has yet to successfully follow through its expressed

intention to seek Australia-wide adoption of recommendations of the Royal

Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody relating to indigenous involvement in

national park management. These recommendations included the encouragement of

joint management, participation in the development of management plans, and access

rights for subsistence and cultural purposes (Royal Commission into Aboriginal Deaths

in Custody: Response by Governments 1992, vol. 3, pp. 1194-6). In 1993 the Royal

Commission's recommendations were endorsed by the House of Representatives

Standing Committee on Environment, Recreation and the Arts in its report

Biodiversity: the role of protected areas (HORSCERA 1993, p. 70).

10.43. There are also impediments to the widely acclaimed community ranger system

realising its full potential: an uncertain funding base; the lack of a career structure and

long-term security of employment; difficulties associated with training and

accreditation requirements; and the absence of powers commensurate with

responsibilities (Birckhead & Wallis 1993).

10.44. Indigenous people throughout the coastal zone expressed dissatisfaction with

the quality of consultation about coastal development. In some cases this

dissatisfaction exists because consultation is perceived as 'too little, too late'. In other

cases it is because resources and information are insufficient to enable effective

participation in consultation processes or because those individuals and groups that are

consulted do not represent the traditional owners or custodians of areas or resources in

question.

10.45. Ways to improve communication and understanding between indigenous

people and the mining industry were recently considered by the Mining Committee of

the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation (Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation

1993). The Committee recommended strategies for dealing with issues relating to

communication, Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal education, access to land, Aboriginal

employment and enterprise, and Aboriginal heritage legislation and resource

development. In particular, it proposed the establishment of a Joint Council on

Aboriginal Land and Mining to ensure action on these strategies. The Joint Council

would be made up of representatives of the mining industry and indigenous people, and

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182 The role of indigenous people

a senior officer of the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet; it would report

to the Prime Minister on progress.

Involvement in the commercial use of coastal resources

10.46. According to the Northern Land Council, 'Aboriginal land owners do not

primarily assess their traditional estate as a commercial asset, and may not see the

generation of cash from its resource use as a major priority1 (Submission 211, p. 8).

But there is a clear and growing interest in developing resources in order to generate

income and community employment and to break away from welfare dependency. The

results of welfare dependency are most recently documented in the report of the Royal

Commission into Aboriginal Deaths in Custody. For Aboriginal communities, it is the

ability to control and effectively participate in the management of their resources that is

the greatest incentive for them to use their traditional assets in new ways.

10.47. As noted in Section 10.2, some indigenous groups are already involved either

directly or indirectly in the commercial exploitation of coastal resources. Governments

are seeking to encourage such initiatives: for example, in 1992-93 expenditure by the

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission on enterprise development programs

specifically for indigenous people totalled $12.46 million; additional funds were

provided for a variety of commercial activities, including tourism, horticulture, and

retail property and entertainment operations through the Aboriginal and Torres Strait

Islander Commercial Development Corporation (Social justice for indigenous

Australians 1993-94). Indigenous industry development strategies are being

developed for the arts and rural and tourism industries.

10.48. Many indigenous groups expressed concern to the Inquiry about the negative

social and cultural impacts of development; in most cases the concern is associated

with a lack of prior consultation, an inability to control or negotiate the nature and

pace of change, and a failure to receive any or sufficient benefits or compensation (for

example, employment or royalties). In the case of fisheries, there is additional concern

about the cost of purchasing licences or quotas, as well as some objection about having

to pay for the right to exploit a resource that communities perceive as traditionally their own.

10.49. Experience overseas suggests that providing greater property and resource use

rights to indigenous communities may assist in resolving some concerns and conflicts

about coastal zone management (lull 1993). In the view of some Inquiry participants,

the introduction of market-based incentives through such a specification of ownership

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The role of indigenous people 183

rights could lead in the long term to a more efficient use of the resources. Options

proposed to the Inquiry included the transfer of mineral rights to Aboriginal

landowners, as recommended in the Industry Commission's report on the mining

industry (1991b, p. xviii); the earmarking of a share of rents from resource use for

indigenous interests; and acquisition of tradeable commercial fishing and mariculture

licences.

Participation in the National Coastal Action Program

10.50. Coastal land and marine resources are important both economically and

culturally for many indigenous coastal communities throughout Australia. Depending

on the manner in which these resources are managed, conditions of life for indigenous

communities can be improved or degraded. As the original owners and managers of

the coastal zone, Australia's indigenous people have a right to participate in, and

benefit from, the management, development and protection of the zone.

10.51. Indigenous people seek greater involvement—through legislation where

necessary—in resource management in order to achieve greater economic

self-sufficiency. There is considerable variation between governments and between

government agencies in the extent of recognition of indigenous interests in coastal zone

management. Although special legislative or administrative arrangements for

indigenous people undoubtedly facilitate recognition and involvement, some

indigenous communities have shown considerable initiative in negotiating participative

arrangements, establishing commercial ventures based on coastal resources, and

managing local natural and cultural resources.

10.52. The National Coastal Action Program provides governments with the

opportunity to implement measures that are consistent with the agreement by the

Council of Australian Governments to 'empower Aboriginal peoples and Torres Strait

Islanders to protect, preserve, and promote their cultures and heritage’ and to adopt as

a guiding principle 'empowerment, self-determination and self-management' for

indigenous people (COAG 1992).

10.53. The Program also creates the opportunity to respond to the recommendations

of previous inquiries relating to indigenous people that have not yet been acted on and

to build on the work of bodies such as the Mining Committee of the Council for

Aboriginal Reconciliation.

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184 The role of indigenous people

10.54. Finally, the Program provides the opportunity to respond to important

developments in recognition of the nature and extent of indigenous people's rights

through constitutional and Aboriginal claim processes and in international forums such

as the United Nations.

10.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

10.55. Considerable conflict, including situations of undue harassment (as have arisen

in some cases), will be avoided if governments and indigenous people can negotiate an

agreement that recognises the importance of hunting, fishing and gathering in many

indigenous people's diets and cultures across Australia.

R.17 The Inquiry recommends that

the Council of Australian Governments, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, initiate a process whereby traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights are recognised by governments and amendments are made to laws and regulations to incorporate this recognition and provide mechanisms for resolving disputes;

in the interim, governments ensure that there are no unreasonable prosecutions relating to these matters under existing laws and regulations.

10.56. In this regard, the Inquiry deplores governments' lack of action in response to

the recommendations of previous inquiries, in particular the Law Reform Commission's

1986 inquiry into the recognition of Aboriginal customary laws.

R.18 The Inquiry recommends that

in the event of failure during 1994 to negotiate satisfactory nationwide arrangements for traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights, the Commonwealth enact legislation to establish national criteria for such rights;

the legislation be based on the principles, priorities and definitions recommended by the Law Reform Commission in its 1986 report on customary laws and be agreed through negotiations with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations.

10.57. There is considerable variation across Australia in the extent of involvement of

indigenous people in the management of conservation areas such as national parks,

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The role of indigenous people 185

marine parks and World Heritage areas. In view of the importance of land and coastal

waters in indigenous society, there is scope for much greater involvement in the

management of these areas.

R.19 The Inquiry recommends that

the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, establish criteria for the participation of indigenous people in the

management of conservation areas, including national parks, marine parks and World Heritage areas;

the criteria include provision for indigenous people's representation on relevant authorities and boards of management or equivalent bodies, and for the establishment of indigenous consultative committees to advise these bodies on issues that affect them;

the Commonwealth take the initiative in this process by amending the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Act 1975, in accordance with this recommendation and the recommendation of the 1993 Whitehouse report that the Authority be authorised to enter into formal management agreements with indigenous communities.

10.58. The Inquiry notes the important contribution that some indigenous

communities make to coastal zone management. Steps should be taken to ensure that

more indigenous communities participate effectively in the National Coastal Action

Program.

R.20 The Inquiry recommends that

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, in conjunction with state resource management agencies,

- support, extend and coordinate nationally the community ranger system by ensuring adequate, continuing funding of rangers and by helping local communities to resolve training, accreditation and authority matters;

- support the establishment of agencies similar to the Kowanyama Land and Natural Resources Management Office to help indigenous communities manage those parts of the coastal zone they own or control;

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186 The role of indigenous people

- review funding options for these initiatives, including the provision of additional Commonwealth and state funds, the negotiation of subcontracting arrangements with those resource management agencies that benefit from the initiatives, the earmarking of a proportion of the budgets of such agencies for supporting the initiatives, and the payment of fees and royalties by the users of resources in areas owned or controlled by indigenous people.

10.59. As with local communities in general, the interests of indigenous communities

need to be taken into account at an early stage in policy making relevant to coastal

zone resource use.

R.21 The Inquiry recommends that

state and Commonwealth natural resource management agencies establish units to provide advice on indigenous interests as part of policy-making mechanisms and consult with representatives of indigenous organisations and peak industry bodies in establishing these units;

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission ensure that land councils and other indigenous organisations in the coastal zone have sufficient resources to carry out their responsibilities effectively when

administering procedures for development proposals.

10.60. There is a need to improve communication and understanding between

indigenous people and particular industries. The Inquiry commends the constructive

work of the Mining Committee of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

R.22 The Inquiry recommends that

the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet provide full support for the Committee's proposed Joint Council on Aboriginal Land and Mining.

10.61. Although many uncertainties remain about the long-term impact of the High

Court's decision on native title, further exploration of the nature of customary marine

tenure systems and traditional fishing practices is necessary if indigenous interests in

fisheries management are to be recognised. Measures are also required to encourage

self-reliance and the economic development of marine resources among indigenous

coastal communities.

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The role of indigenous people 187

R.23 The Inquiry recommends that

the proposed Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture, in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, prepare an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fisheries Strategy.

the key elements of the Strategy be as follows:

- assessments by all fisheries authorities of indigenous interests in fisheries for which they have responsibility. Such assessments should include a review of the nature and extent of continuing customary marine tenure and traditional fishing practices in each fishery and

how these might contribute to fisheries policy and management; impediments to indigenous people's participation in commercial fishing; and the impact of commercial fishing on fishing for traditional purposes;

- representation of indigenous people on advisory committees for all major fisheries (as recommended by the Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Group on Fisheries) and identification of means by which indigenous communities can participate in the

management of local fisheries and marine environments in which they have a traditional interest;

- measures to improve economic development and employment opportunities for indigenous communities in fisheries and mariculture ventures. Options include the reservation of a proportion of fishing or other licences for indigenous communities, the purchase of such licences on behalf of indigenous communities by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and the establishment of fishing

zones adjacent to land owned or controlled by indigenous people in which communities could operate their own commercial enterprises, participate in joint ventures, or license access by other marine resource users;

- measures to improve relations between indigenous communities, fisheries agency staff and commercial fishers, including cross-cultural awareness programs for agency staff and the organisation of local and regional workshops to discuss issues of mutual interest and

concern.

10.62. Improved educational and training facilities for indigenous people are

necessary to ensure that those wishing to take part in commercial fishing ventures are

able to do so effectively.

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188 The role of indigenous people

R.24 The Inquiry recommends that

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission evaluate the experience of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in supporting indigenous fisheries in the Pacific Islands, with a view to determining options for improving education and training among Australia's indigenous fishing communities;

this evaluation include assessment of the potential education value of the experience gained by relatively successful indigenous organisations such as the Tiwi Land Council on Bathurst and Melville Islands and Yirrkala

Business Enterprises Pty Ltd in north-east Arnhem Land;

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission provide financial assistance and management training to indigenous people, to facilitate their participation in the commercial fishing (including mariculture) industry.

10.63. Information about cultural heritage generally—that is, for both indigenous and

non-indigenous people—is an important component of the information needed for

integrated management of the resources of the coastal zone, and it is essential for

ensuring that heritage values are adequately protected. At present, state heritage

bodies, the Australian Heritage Commission, and some museums, universities and

other bodies collect, store and generally facilitate the gathering of heritage information.

Some indigenous communities have also compiled and hold detailed records relating to

their sacred sites and other areas of cultural significance.

10.64. Issues connected with the ownership and control of cultural property require

resolution at intergovernmental level. Progress towards finalising an agreement

between governments on cultural heritage protection is slow and the categories

covered by the current draft agreement are very limited.

R.25 The Inquiry recommends that

the Australian Aboriginal Affairs Council, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, speedily adopt a national policy on ownership of and access rights to indigenous cultural property, including places, objects and information.

10.65. It is essential that the recording of sites—both those that have value as

material evidence of original occupation and those that embody the sacred and secular

traditions of contemporary indigenous people—occurs in as many indigenous

communities as possible, to ensure that other users of coastal zone resources take

account of the presence and significance of such sites and traditions. Existing agencies

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The role of indigenous people 189

have insufficient resources to carry out this task in a comprehensive and coordinated

fashion. Moreover, indigenous people believe that the process and the information

should be controlled by local communities. The Inquiry agrees with this.

R.26 The Inquiry recommends that

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Australian Heritage Commission and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, review the role of Commonwealth programs and legislation

in securing a national approach to recording and protecting indigenous cultural heritage;

the review be conducted with a view to establishing a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Council to provide funds and advice to local indigenous communities so that they can record and protect cultural heritage sites and information and to coordinate the activities of existing government agencies administering programs of this kind;

the review be conducted with a view to extending to other states provisions in existing Commonwealth heritage protection legislation that relate only to Victoria;

the review examine the option of this Heritage Council playing a central role in helping local communities to implement natural resource management initiatives.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 11 IMPROVING MANAGEMENT AT THE LOCAL AND REGIONAL LEVEL

11.01. Many day-to-day decisions about the use of coastal zone resources,

particularly private resources, are made by local governments. These decisions affect

the use of resources at local and regional levels. Decision-makers at the local level

need to have sufficient expertise to operate in the strategic manner required to meet

the goals of the National Coastal Action Program. This chapter discusses two

requirements for improving coastal zone management at local and regional levels:

better administrative structures and capabilities for local government; and more

efficient and effective approaches to the development of local and regional

management strategies. Two other important aspects of local resource

management—development approval processes and environmental impact

assessment—are discussed in Chapter 12.

11.02. Section 11.1 discusses ways of improving local government structures and

capabilities through training and education. Section 11.2 examines current approaches

to strategic management in the coastal zone and requirements for improved local

coastal strategy development. Section 11.3 discusses the requirements for regional

strategies. Conclusions are reached and recommendations made in Section 11.4.

11.1 IMPROVING LOCAL GOVERNMENT STRUCTURES AND

CAPABILITIES

11.03. Local government plays a critical role in coastal zone management. Many

local authorities, however, have limited access to financial resources and expertise, and

they therefore find it difficult to support a sufficient range of technical skills to deal

with many of the resource management issues that arise. As with other spheres of

government, the capacity of local government to carry out its responsibilities in the

coastal zone is heavily influenced by the way in which local governments are

organised, how professional and managerial jobs are designed, and the level of human

resources available.

Achieving greater flexibility

11.04. Managing coastal resources has traditionally presented a challenge for local

authorities because the issues involved usually span several areas of professional

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192 Improving management at the local and regional level

competence in local government, such as planning, engineering, environmental and

health sciences, and finance. It also often requires expertise not always available to

local authorities; for example, expertise in resource management and economic

analysis. In the past, resource management issues have not been easy to handle

because responsibilities have tended to be allocated to council officers according to

their functional expertise. For example, coastal resource management issues typically

are not purely engineering or planning matters, yet they may be allocated solely to

either of these 'functional' departments because no alternative exists.

11.05. Until recently legislative requirements that management and professional

council staff must have particular qualifications to perform particular functions have

reinforced this compartmentalisation of jobs and consequently limited the range of

expertise available to local councils. The requirements were also reflected in some

awards, further constraining the appointment and promotion of staff with specialist

skills other than those traditionally recognised. Until recently most councils had

'functional' departmental structures, with separate departments for administration,

public works or engineering, town planning, health and building, and so on, that largely

paralleled prescribed occupations.

11.06. Now, however, Local Government Acts are being reformed across Australia

and the qualification requirements for general managers, engineers, town planners and

other senior staff are being deregulated. For example, from 1 July 1993 general

managers in New South Wales are no longer required to hold a Local Government

Clerk's Certificate. The new Local Government Act in that state also requires

performance-based contracts for senior staff. These developments point to increasing

flexibility in the ability of councils to appoint specialised staff to meet management

requirements.

11.07. All states are now replacing task- and occupation-based awards with

skills-based awards that have simpler structures. This is giving local authorities more

freedom to hire specialist staff. There has also been more emphasis on corporate and

strategic planning and this, combined with more flexible management structures, has

enabled local authorities to develop administrative arrangements that are more

integrated and multidisciplinary. For example, in some larger councils strategic

planning, development control, health and some engineering functions are being

combined, as are library and community services. Multidisciplinary teams representing

several departments are now common, and a number of councils are using integrated

development control units (consisting of staff from the town planning, engineering and

environmental health disciplines) for the processing of development applications.

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Improving management at the local and regional level 193

11.08. These changes are facilitating the development of greater council expertise in

relevant areas and more integrated approaches to coastal resource management. The

changes are relatively recent, though, and many local councils need assistance if they

are to take full advantage of the opportunity to manage in a more flexible way

(Efraemson and Associates 1993). This need is compounded by the decrease in recent

years in the level of assistance that local authorities receive from state agencies; the

level of external expertise available to local authorities has declined at a time when

their responsibility for coastal zone management has increased.

11.09. To take advantage of the new management arrangements, the range of

competencies and the expertise required in various vocational areas must be identified,

so that appropriate education and training programs can be developed (Solomon

1993). Definitions of the competencies required to achieve integrated approaches to

resource management and development approvals processes need to be developed for

all specialist areas. Currently the Australian Local Government Training Board is

developing local government competency standards, and is providing information to

councils on those matters through an on-line database (Australian Local Government

Training Board 1993). The Board could provide assistance in the development of

competency standards for integrated approaches to resource management.

11.10. Many councils will also need to acquire greater expertise in the use of tools

and skills to assist management, including information systems, data collection and

dissemination procedures, monitoring, review and evaluation techniques, resource and

environmental indicators, negotiation and dispute-resolution skills, and strategic

management skills.

11.11. Within councils, human resource development can be enhanced if councillors

are provided with training in management skills, including conflict resolution and

collaborative problem solving. Staff interchanges between councils, and between

councils and state and Commonwealth government agencies, can also be used to

improve competencies in integrated resource management. Greater focus can be given

to these exchanges by local, regional and catchment area management demonstration

projects and workshops. Monitoring arrangements are another way for councils with

more experience in integrated approaches to assist those with less (Efraemson and

Associates 1993). The Local Government Environmental Information Exchange

Scheme, which is discussed in Chapter 14, has taken some important steps in this area,

among them the CouncilNet information network, environmental resource officers and

the funding of a course in integrated environmental management for local government

managers at the Australian Centre for Local Government Studies, University of

Canberra. The Scheme also supports the development by the Institute of Municipal

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194 Improving management at the local and regional level

Managers of a number of case studies examining successful instances of integrated

environmental management, to be promoted as models of best practice for upper-level

corporate managers within local government

Government programs

11.12. State and Commonwealth governments have an important role to play in ,

providing expert support services to local government; these services are essential to

complement the development of enhanced expertise by local authorities. The

Integrated Local Area Planning program, funded by the Commonwealth Department of

Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services, is an important

initiative in building skills and facilitating integrated management within local

authorities and between local authorities and others. This program has a number of

important elements. In particular, it promotes the following:

• strategic assessment of significant environmental, economic, social and cultural

issues in the area concerned;

• identification of key issues;

• where necessary, joint action between departments, agencies and spheres of

government to deal with key issues;

• establishment of continuing arrangements to promote implementation;

• extensive involvement of the local community, non-government organisations and

the private sector;

• effective corporate planning and management within councils, to focus attention

and resources on key issues and priorities and to provide the basis for involving

and coordinating other stakeholders (ALGA 1993a, 1993b).

11.13. The program has received support from many local authorities and provides an

avenue for the Commonwealth to further assist in developing local government

strategic management skills and encouraging the integration of council activities in

relation to natural resource management.

11.14. Local government associations in each state can also play an important role.

They can aid effective human resource development within local government by

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Improving management at the local and regional level 195

providing supportive leadership and facilitating coastal management forums through

which councillors and staff acquire knowledge about management practices, relevant

legislation, state and regional strategies and policies, and other important aspects of

resource management

11.15. Many coastal councils have been gaining experience in regional cooperation in

the last decade. The sharing of specialist and administrative staff, joint training and

skills development, and joint purchasing and shared management of regional facilities

such as waste depots can assist in the integration of coastal zone management on a

regional basis. The voluntary regional organisations of councils, which include

40 per cent of all Australia's councils and are concentrated in the coastal zone, have

facilitated various aspects of regional cooperation, including the sharing of expertise in

the management of such resources as water catchments and estuaries.

Education and training courses

11.16. Implementation of the National Coastal Action Program will lead to a greater

emphasis on coastal resource management issues and a consequent increase in demand

for relevant expertise by management agencies, particularly state agencies and local

government authorities. In this context, tertiary education institutions have an

important role to play in providing education and training for new entrants to the

workforce and in providing a variety of courses for those who wish to upgrade their

skills. Local government, state management agencies, universities and TAPE colleges

should confer to determine needs for courses relevant to the integrated management of

natural resources at local and regional levels, including courses in various aspects of

coastal resource management (Solomon 1993).

11.17. Universities and TAPE colleges currently offer many courses in areas relevant

to coastal resource management. The University of New England—Northern Rivers

(to be renamed Southern Cross University from 1 January 1994) is the only university

to offer an undergraduate course in coastal management Courses at many institutions

focus in part on specific coastal issues, including marine science, coastal zone

geomorphology, oceanography and aquaculture. There are other courses in natural

resource management and environmental studies. In most cases courses in public

administration, commerce and civil engineering, although relevant to resource

management, contain little specific reference to coastal issues (see Solomon 1993).

11.18. Tertiary institutions can contribute in several ways to the development of an

extended pool of expertise to support integrated approaches to coastal resource

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196 Improving management at the local and regional level

management. First, they can ensure that existing courses relevant to coastal issues

include integrated and strategic approaches to resource management; it would be also

desirable to have options available to allow study of thematic issues relevant to

management in coastal areas. Attention needs to be focused on ways in which

scientific and technical knowledge can be applied to management issues, including

frameworks that can be used to integrate contributions from a range of disciplines.

Some courses in natural resource management and environmental studies do cover

these issues, but it is important that integrated management approaches are included in

other courses, including social and natural sciences and civil engineering.

11.19. Another area in which tertiary teaching and research expertise needs to be

developed concerns the potential contribution of the traditional environmental

knowledge of Australia's indigenous people. There is significant interest in Australia in

the potential for the knowledge of indigenous people to enhance Western scientific

knowledge and approaches to resource management (see Young et al. 1991,

lull 1993). The draft National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological

Diversity (1992) makes recommendations for facilitating the integration of traditional

knowledge and practices into conservation programs. This issue is beginning to

receive attention through Aboriginal ranger training programs such as the program at

Charles Sturt University and the provision for indigenous people to participate in

diploma and degree courses at the University of New England—Northern Rivers.

Similar action is being considered at James Cook University.

11.20. To enable courses to be developed in the areas described, tertiary institutions

will need to develop pools of teaching and research expertise. Several universities are

well situated to do this and the Key Teaching and Research Grants program of the

Australian Research Council is an appropriate mechanism for encouraging further

course design. Funding of key centres would provide opportunities to develop

multidisciplinary teams to provide coastal zone management courses on a wider scale

and to carry out research into associated topics (see Chapter 14).

11.2 APPROACHES TO STRATEGIC MANAGEMENT

Examples of current practice

11.21. Land use plans such as town planning schemes and local environment plans are

the most common instruments used by local government authorities to allocate

terrestrial resources to particular uses, including residential and industrial development

The main purpose of many existing plans is to provide a basic development control

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Improving management at the local and regional level 197

guide (ALGA 1993a, 1993b); as a consequence, the plans often focus only on the

development of private land and are an ineffective way of dealing with broader

questions of natural resource management Local government planning provides an

important basis for the management of coastal zone resources in all states (Office of

Local Government, Submission 137), but a number of Inquiry participants advocated

the adoption of more integrated and strategic approaches to resource management by

local authorities and state governments (for example, Australian Conservation Foundation, Submission 589).

11.22. In recent years many governments, both state and local, have recognised the

limitations of traditional land use plans to assist in the overall management of natural

resources. This has resulted in the preparation of an increasing number of 'strategic'

plans designed to achieve a more holistic approach. For example, the New South

Wales Department of Planning has published draft urban planning strategies for the

North Coast and Mawarra regions. These strategies contain broad plans for managing

expected growth and seek to establish regional settlement patterns consisting of

regional, sub-regional, district and local centres, while having regard to each area's

capacity to accommodate future growth (New South Wales Department of Planning

1993). The drafts provide a basis for discussion of strategies for growth and

development and for coordinating service provision and resource allocation.

11.23. An example of the strategic approach being adopted in Queensland is the

SEQ 2001 Project, which is considering policies for the management of future growth

in south-east Queensland. The Project is based on the development of a 'preferred

pattern of urban development', implemented with a set of regional planning policies

that will promote characteristics such as compact urban development, greater choice

and diversity in housing and living environments, and more emphasis on urban public

transport servicing business and regional centres (Queensland Regional Planning

Advisory Group 1993). Vision 2020—a planning system is a strategy for the planning

and development of land in South Australia that seeks to guide and coordinate state

government activities influencing urban development, particularly the construction and

provision of services and infrastructure (South Australian Planning Review 1992).

Metropolitan Adelaide is the only region for which a strategy has been prepared to

date. In the Northern Territory the Darwin Regional Land Use Structure Plan

establishes a broad land use structure for future development that identifies land for all

uses anticipated for a regional population of at least 1 million; the Plan seeks to

identify and promote the planning and development objectives of the Northern

Territory Government (Northern Territory Department of Lands and Housing 1990).

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198 Improving management at the local and regional level

11.24. Examples of local strategies are the Foreshore beyond 2000 study in the Shire

of Flinders, Victoria, and the Port Hedland Coastal Plan in Western Australia. The

Shire of Flinders study identified and assessed, among other things, the implications of

state and Commonwealth government policies and practices for the area; future

demand for access to foreshores and Port Philip Bay; impacts of access on the

foreshore, sand dunes, flora and fauna and bay and estuary water quality; and current

and future trends in use of foreshore areas and facilities. The study provides a broad

strategy for the area, including policy options and recommendations for managing the

foreshore (Shire of Flinders 1993). The Port Hedland Coastal Plan identified the

management requirements for the town's coastal area and established the means of

integrating coastal management requirements with other council responsibilities and

the means of involving community and industry groups (Western Australian

Department of Planning and Urban Development 1992).

Evaluation of existing approaches

11.25. A consultant commissioned by the Inquiry (Pitts 1993) identified a number of

criteria that can be used to identify effective resource management strategies.

Box 11.1 shows these criteria; they are based on the characteristics of strategic

management identified in Chapter 5.

11.26. Using these criteria to review selected state and local strategies, the Inquiry's

consultant found that existing approaches are becoming more integrated and strategic

and are moving away from rigid plans to more flexible approaches. There is increasing

emphasis on involving stakeholders and incorporating community values and

aspirations in strategy development, and broader perspectives on resource management

are being incorporated. Although many of the characteristics of effective preparation

and implementation of local and regional management strategies are being applied in

existing approaches, the consultant found that the degree of application is highly

variable.

11.27. On the basis of this analysis and other research undertaken by the Inquiry, a

number of improvements to existing practices are required to make strategic

management of resources more effective: •

• Strategy development and implementation should occur as close to the

management problem as possible.

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Improving management at the local and regional level 199

• Lead agencies should promote and manage the strategy preparation process, rather

than advocate particular management outcomes.

• Means to identify multiple, and at times conflicting, objectives must be developed.

• The need to identify the limits to change that are acceptable for the sustainable use

of natural resources must be recognised.

• Strategy implementation should receive greater attention.

• Performance criteria should be used, including criteria for monitoring and

evaluating strategy development processes and outcomes, recognising that in a

complex management system progress is often slow and incremental and that

evaluation should not be hasty in reaching judgments about outcomes.

• Procedures should be established for regular review of strategies, recognising that

the process should be iterative and adaptive as circumstances change (Davis &

Weller 1993; Pitts 1993).

Box 11.1 Criteria for effective local and regional coastal zone strategy preparation

Effective local and regional coastal strategy zone preparation must have the following characteristics:

• clear definition of 'ends' and identification of the means for achieving them;

• a capacity to cater for multiple objectives and a means of reconciling conflicting objectives;

• emphasis on an incremental and learning process in developing strategies, rather than on rigid, directive 'end state’ plans;

• a process to identify the values and attitudes of key stakeholders through consultation and participation, including provision for stakeholders to be involved in developing strategies;

• a means of building strong local commitment to the strategy;

• use of a holistic approach that takes account of the linkages within and between natural, social and economic systems; •

• recognition that there are limits to the types and intensity of use that resources can sustain without serious adverse or irreversible effects, including identification of what is acceptable change to these resources;

• a focus on implementation and, importantly, a means of ensuring implementation;

• provision for periodic review and evaluation;

• provision of resources—finance and expertise—to develop and implement the strategy.

Source: Adapted from Pitts (1993, p. 12),_________________________________________________

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200 Improving management at the local and regional level

11.28. Issues and aspirations differ between localities and between regions, and

institutional and administrative arrangements differ between the states, so it would be

counter-productive to prescribe inflexible methodologies for preparing local and

regional management strategies. It is, however, possible to recommend a generic

model for the preparation and implementation of local and regional coastal

management strategies. Figure 11.1 shows the major steps in the process.

Implementation of local coastal strategies

11.29. Implementation of a strategic approach to resource management requires that

each coastal local government authority develop a coastal strategy. Since many local

authorities have responsibilities for resource management that extend beyond the

coastal zone, coastal zone issues may be but one component of a broader local natural

resource management strategy. The model for preparing and implementing

management strategies illustrated in Figure 11.1 can be used for natural resource

management in local government areas as a whole, thus obviating the need to prepare

separate strategies for different areas of local authority responsibility.

11.30. Local strategies should take full account of state and Commonwealth

responsibilities and objectives for the use and management of resources. Information

about state and Commonwealth policies and objectives will provide local authorities

with much of the information they need to formulate strategies; in addition, there will

be circumstances when Commonwealth and state agencies should be directly involved

in local strategy development

11.31. Procedures must be established to ensure that development and other activities

are consistent with local strategies. There are two important requirements in this

regard:

• Actions required to achieve the objectives must be incorporated in council

polit es and day-to-day management arrangements, including local planning

schemes.

• Governments must agree that the actions of their agencies will be consistent with

agreed local strategies.

11.32. Although it is desirable that every local authority in the coastal zone develop a

resource management strategy, this will take some time to achieve and will

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Improving management at the local and regional level 201

Figure 11.1 Generic model for the preparation and implementation of local and regional ___________ coastal management strategies______________________________________

| n. E 1 aE 1 a

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202 Improving management at the local and regional level

require significant financial and human resources. To ensure that those parts of the

coastal zone that are most urgently in need of management strategies are given

priority, the National Coastal Management Agency should provide funding according

to priorities derived from the Inquiry's report. Priority management areas should be

identified following consultations between the Agency, local governments and state

coastal coordinating committees. Assistance should be directed at those areas that

propose the development of a strategy according to the criteria in Box 11.1 and that

are experiencing, or are likely to experience, significant resource management

difficulties; for example, areas with rapidly growing population centres, areas with a

potential for rapid urban growth, areas experiencing declining water quality, areas with

a high risk of natural hazards, and areas experiencing competing resource demands

should be given priority in the provision of assistance.

11.3 REGIONAL COASTAL STRATEGIES

11.33. Because many natural systems extend beyond the jurisdictions of individual

local authorities, it is necessary to consider resource management issues in a regional

context. Regional strategies enable resources to be managed effectively and efficiently,

recognising biophysical systems and environmental, cultural and economic values.

Regional approaches also help to avoid problems arising from the so-called tyranny of

small decisions, whereby little or no account is taken of the cumulative effects arising

from decisions made by individual agencies, or where the impacts of a large number of

relatively minor developments combine to cause serious degradation of resources.

11.34. Regional approaches to resource management also make it possible for local

authorities and government agencies to make more efficient use of their resources,

including professional expertise and equipment. This is particularly important for

smaller local authorities that would otherwise have much more limited access to such

resources.

11.35. Although a regional approach to the management of coastal zone resources

offers considerable advantages there are some difficulties that must be overcome if the

approach is to be successful: •

• It must be acknowledged that, in addition to state, local and Commonwealth

governments, many people and corporations have interests in the use and

management of resources. Regional strategies must take account of these interests

and recognise the role of local government in managing resources within their areas.

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Improving management at the local and regional level 203

• Regional strategies must focus on issues that require a regional approach, rather

than attempt to deal with all activities within a region. It is inefficient to attempt to

do the latter because resources are devoted to this purpose at the local level; it also

diverts attention from key regional issues.

• The absence of formal government structures at the regional level means that state

and local governments must act in partnership to deal with regional issues. It is

important that regional approaches do not give the impression of, or lead to any

expectation of, the emergence of a 'fourth sphere of governance'.

• Every effort must be made to ensure that stakeholders participating in the process

focus on the overall management of the region rather than on narrow sectional

interests.

• State and local governments must devote sufficient resources (funding, expertise

and staff time) to ensure that the process of regional coastal strategy development

is carried out effectively while the learning process necessary to generate effective

management solutions is developed. Failure to do this will almost certainly mean

that the process will be unable to deliver improved management results, and this

could lead to a decline in commitment to the regional approach.

• The roles and responsibilities of all government and non-government bodies must

be agreed upon and defined in regional strategy documents; this is essential if these

bodies are to act in accordance with the strategy.

Delineating coastal zone regions

11.36. Efforts to agree on regions for coastal zone management can result in lengthy

debates about what factors should be taken into account to establish regional

boundaries. The Inquiry received a number of submissions suggesting that the regions

should be based on identifiable natural biophysical systems such as catchment areas

(see, for example, Australian Conservation Foundation, Submission 589; Australian

Nature Conservation Agency, Submission 420; Department of Environment, Sport and

Territories, Submission 352; Tasmanian Salmonid Growers Association,

Submission 572).

11.37. Although coastal strategies must seek to sustain natural systems and

processes, the definition of regions solely on the basis of natural systems would ignore

the vital role played by 'human systems', including communities with common interests

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204 Improving management at the local and regional level

and economic linkages. Regions must be defined in ways that are relevant to the issues

likely to be encountered and that are important to and understood by regional

communities. Regions also need to be based on functional administrative units. For

these reasons, regions will generally encompass a number of local government areas

that together approximate catchment areas, which in many cases are already served by

catchment management committees that are making a major contribution to regional

resource management

11.38. To achieve integrated management of resources in the coastal zone, it is

necessary that the use and management of resources take full account of impacts on

resources in adjoining areas. Marine areas adjacent to the coast are frequently affected

by the use of land for both urban and rural uses, so it is imperative that government

agencies dealing with such uses make allowances for their impacts on marine

resources. To achieve this, preparation of regional strategies should generally include

representatives of state and Commonwealth agencies responsible for marine resources.

Development of regional coastal strategies

11.39. It is usually necessary for a single agency to take the lead in the process of

developing regional strategies and to ensure that participants are fully involved and

remain active. At present planning agencies have this role in most states, and it is

important that they be funded for this purpose; their roles and procedures may need to

be revised to ensure that they can participate effectively and efficiently in developing

regional strategies.

11.40. Local government authorities should play a major role in the development of

regional strategies. Many local governments have recognised the advantage of

establishing regional bodies such as voluntary regional organisations of councils.

These organisations can provide a focus for local authority inputs into the development

of regional strategies. It is also important that each local authority is directly

represented on the committee preparing the regional strategy.

11.41. Local and regional strategies should not be perceived as hierarchical

documents with local strategies subordinate to regional ones. Rather, local and

regional strategies should be perceived as complementary documents, the preparation

of local strategies taking place within the framework provided by regional strategies.

To ensure that strategies are formulated and implemented in a complementary way,

communication between the groups preparing the strategies must be effective; this is

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Improving management at the local and regional level 205

best achieved by ensuring that there is some common membership of local and regional

committees.

11.42. If Commonwealth interests are to be properly taken into account it will be

necessary for Commonwealth government agencies to participate in the preparation of

many regional coastal strategies; for example, in regions containing World Heritage

areas or defence force establishments and where marine resources beyond the 3 mile

territorial limit require consideration. The secretariat of the Commonwealth Coastal

Management Committee proposed in Chapter 8 can be the contact point for

involvement with state agencies and local authorities. The Committee could

coordinate advice on Commonwealth interests in each region, including relevant

programs and policies.

11.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

11.43. More effective and efficient management mechanisms, including the

preparation and implementation of strategies for the management and use of coastal

zone resources, are key components of the National Coastal Action Program. Local

authorities and some government agencies have key roles to play in the Program.

11.44. It is especially important that all employees of local government authorities in

the coastal zone are fully aware of the objectives and principles of the National Coastal

Action Program so they can fully participate in the Program.

R.27 The Inquiry recommends that

local governments in the coastal zone, with the assistance of the National Coastal Management Agency, ensure that all of their staff are fully aware of the implications of the National Coastal Action Program that relate to their areas of responsibility.

11.45. The expertise currently available to many local government authorities is not

adequate to meet the increasing demands of coastal zone resource management,

including the need to prepare strategies. Steps are being taken to overcome some of

these deficiencies, but further action is necessary to enable local government

authorities to play their full part in the National Coastal Action Program. Particular

attention should be directed to defining the required competencies of staff and ensuring

their capacity to participate in multidisciplinary approaches to management.

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206 Improving management at the local and regional level

R.28 The Inquiry recommends that

local governments define the range of competencies and expertise needed for the tasks associated with integrated management of resources and make full use of the range of relevant programs of assistance offered by the Commonwealth and state governments, the Australian Local Government Training Board and local government associations.

11.46. To facilitate implementation of the National Coastal Action Program,

Commonwealth, state and local governments should enter into partnerships that

include arrangements based on priority needs, to provide the human and other

resources necessary for integrated and strategic coastal zone management.

R.29 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Management Agency ensure that the required expertise is available to achieve the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program by the provision of funds and assistance from Commonwealth and state agencies to local authorities and regional organisations to develop the required expertise: Commonwealth Government assistance be provided through existing programs such as the Local Government Development Program and the National Urban

Development Program.

11.47. To meet the demands of government agencies, particularly local government

authorities, for the expertise required for integrated coastal zone management,

universities and TAPE colleges will become increasingly important as providers of

training and expertise for coastal resource management. Expansion of courses will be

necessary, particularly of courses that focus on integrated and strategic approaches to

resource management

R.30 The Inquiry recommends that

universities and TAPE colleges review courses dealing with resource management and related issues, to ensure that integrated and strategic approaches to resource management, including coastal management issues, are offered as part of these courses;

universities, TAPE colleges and local government associations in each state establish forums for continuing consultation about courses relevant to coastal management;

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Improving management at the local and regional level 207

the Australian Research Council allocate funds for the establishment of key centres for teaching and research related to coastal resource management as part of the forthcoming round of grants to these centres. The centres should be established to ensure coverage of the full range of Australian

coastal environments;

the Australian Research Council allocate funds for the establishment of a key centre where the natural resource management practices of Australia's indigenous people can be researched and documented and where users of both traditional and contemporary management techniques can exchange

information and provide advice on the way in which these techniques can be integrated.

11.48. Integration of the activities and administration of local authorities is very

important for improving local coastal zone management; the Integrated Local Area

Planning program is playing a significant role in this regard.

R.31 The Inquiry recommends that

funding for the Integrated Local Area Planning program be extended to support more local authorities in the coastal zone.

11.49. The current coverage of local and regional coastal plans and strategies is

incomplete and the strategies' effectiveness in contributing to management objectives is

variable. Local authorities' land use planning mechanisms tend to be inflexible and pay

little heed to the wider context of resource management. The agreed coastal zone

objectives and principles must be reflected in effective management action.

R.32 The Inquir y recommends that

local governments in the coastal zone develop resource management strategies, assisted by advisory groups comprising representatives of local communities and industries and relevant state and Commonwealth agencies;

the application of land use planning mechanisms be more flexible, take a holistic view incorporating economic, ecological and social considerations, and be directed specifically at achieving the long-term objectives of the resource management strategy adopted for each area.

11.50. To implement integrated and strategic management approaches, local

governments must ensure that they have appropriate administrative structures and

expertise and that the provision of infrastructure and services meets the requirements

of local and regional coastal strategies.

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208 Improving management at the local and regional level

R.33 The Inquiry recommends that

local authorities in the coastal zone review their administrative arrangements to ensure they are capable of developing and implementing coastal zone strategies;

the provision of infrastructure and services within local authorities' jurisdiction take place in accordance with agreed local coastal strategies and be subjected to the same assessment and approval processes as those required for other developments and conservation proposals.

11.51. Many coastal zone management issues extend beyond the boundaries of

individual local authorities, and they extend to marine as well as land-based resources.

As a consequence, a regional approach to coastal zone management is also necessary,

fully supported by local, state and Commonwealth governments. The 'tyranny of small

decisions' must be overcome, and state, local and Commonwealth government

management activities must be integrated at regional levels.

R.34 The Inquiry recommends that

regional coastal zone strategies be developed, principal responsibility for their promotion and implementation resting with state governments;

the regional strategies be developed by groups comprising representatives of regional communities and industries, local authorities, and relevant state and Commonwealth government agencies.

11.52. Most state governments have already defined regional boundaries for the

purpose of preparing regional strategies and for other purposes, including the provision

of services. As far as practicable, biophysical, social and administrative systems should

form the basis for regional coastal strategies. Marine areas should be included in

regional boundaries to ensure that land-based activities that affect marine resources are

taken into account.

R.35 The Inquiry recommends that

all states review existing regional boundaries, in consultation with local governments, to ensure that they provide a sound basis for implementing coastal resource management on a regional basis, incorporating both land and marine resources.

11.53. Commonwealth, state and local governments should jointly provide financial

support and management training for the development of local and regional strategies.

Governments should also consider providing funding for experienced facilitators to

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Improving management at the local and regional level 209

help local councils develop their own strategies and participate in the development of

regional strategies. It will take a considerable time for all areas in the coastal zone to

be included in the regional and local management arrangements as proposed by the

Inquiry. Those regions and local areas that are under the greatest management stress

should therefore be given priority in the provision of assistance to achieve these

outcomes.

R.36 The Inquiry recommends that

funding for the preparation of coastal management strategies be allocated to local government areas and regions in the coastal zone that are experiencing the greatest management stress;

priority funding areas be identified following consultation between local government associations, state coastal coordinating committees and the National Coastal Management Agency. Priority should be determined on the basis of the significance of the management problems being experienced in an area, including the degree of urbanisation, the potential for declining water quality, and a high number of competing demands for resource uses;

funds for the development of local and regional strategies be provided by all spheres of government. The shares to be determined by agreement between governments;

the process of strategy preparation meet the criteria proposed by the Inquiry for effective local and regional coastal zone strategies.

11.54. Implementing coastal zone strategies is primarily a matter for state, local and

Commonwealth governments, which need to act to ensure that the objectives of the

strategies are achieved. This may require state governments to amend legislation so

that decisions about resource uses (including resource uses by state and local

government agencies) are in accordance with the strategies. An alternative is to

develop arrangements whereby the agreed implementation actions are endorsed by

governments, with an undertaking that government agencies will act in accordance

with the strategies.

R.37 The Inquiry recommends that

provision of funds to assist in the preparation of strategies be conditional on agreements being reached to ensure that strategies are implemented when finalised.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 12 APPROVAL SYSTEMS AND IMPACT ASSESSMENT

12.01. Approval systems are the principal means whereby government agencies assess

potential resource uses; in many cases they include assessment of impacts on the

environment. These systems are an integral part of the management of coastal zone

resources.

12.02. This chapter examines how approval systems might be improved to achieve

the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. Section 12.1 deals principally

with approval systems for the development of land and discusses the reforms being

undertaken to improve existing approval systems. Section 12.2 discusses

environmental impact assessment procedures that apply to major developments.

Section 12.3 examines social and economic impacts. Conclusions are reached and

recommendations made in Section 12.4.

12.1 DEVELOPMENT APPROVAL SYSTEMS

12.03. As pointed out in Chapter 4, approval systems apply to a wide range of

resource uses in the coastal zone. There are two major types of approvals: approvals

for the use of particular Crown resources, such as minerals or fisheries; and approvals

for the use and development of freehold and leasehold land. Approval systems for the

development of land relate directly to the management of building activity in the

coastal zone; they are the main focus of the discussion in this section.

12.04. Existing approval systems focus on particular development proposals,

generally in isolation from broader ecological, social, cultural and economic

considerations. Many of the procedures used are cumbersome and time consuming,

particularly when more than one sphere of government participates in the assessment

process and when different agencies reflect different views about the management and

use of particular resources. For example, a rural landholder on the fringe of a seaside

town might wish to develop land as a residential estate; the local authority might

support the proposal subject to engineering requirements because of the economic

benefits for the local community, but state agencies could have differing views. The

department of agriculture might be concerned about the possible impact on property

values and associated rate burdens that a rezoning could have on adjoining agricultural

land; the mines department might oppose the proposal because of the potential to

block access to construction materials; the nature conservation agency might be

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212 Approval systems and impact assessment

concerned about the threat to local remnants of native vegetation; the development

authority might support the proposal as a means of increasing short-term employment;

servicing authorities might be concerned about the costs of expanding infrastructure to

service the area; and the state planning agency might be concerned about the proposal's

impact on the regional economy and pattern of development

12.05. In some development approval systems a separate approval can be required

from each agency. This fragmentation of approvals processes has repeatedly been

found to be inefficient for both proponents and governments (see Chapter 4). More

recently, the approach used in most states is for decision-making agencies to refer

development applications to other interested agencies for comment. This referral

process is designed to integrate decision making, but concerns have been expressed

about its efficiency. For example, research undertaken for the Local Approvals

Review Program revealed that about 70 per cent of applications that are referred

between agencies are agreed to by other agencies without modification.

12.06. Shortcomings in the referral process often lead to delays and confusion about

responsibility for making final decisions; this can be costly for both governments and

developers (Graham & Byers 1992). Delays can also arise when the referral system

does not function smoothly, as when there is a failure to seek comments from all

relevant agencies at the beginning of the approvals process. Further, timely response

to referrals can be delayed when referral bodies do not possess the information

necessary to make judgments and seek to delay approvals while they gather that

information. These considerations suggest that costs could be reduced if all agencies

reached prior agreement on the types of proposals that need referral and what matters

need to be considered in deciding when proposals do not warrant detailed comment

from other agencies.

12.07. A number of recent state and local government reforms aim to simplify

approvals processes by establishing a unified or single approval system for

development proposals. To date these reforms have focused on the following:

• reform of land and building approval systems;

• consolidation of approval criteria used by state agencies into single statements

dealing with building, land use, environment, heritage, and other aspects of

development; •

• integration of approvals processes used by local authorities (including building,

planning, subdivision, rezoning and health);

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Approval systems and impact assessment 213

• integration of assessment of different impacts.

12.08. A program to promote reform of local authority approvals processes is also

currently under way: the Local Approvals Review Program (see Box 12.1). This

Program, administered by the Commonwealth Department of Health, Housing, Local

Government and Community Services, aims to help local government become more

effective and efficient in discharging its development and building approval

responsibilities.

Box 12.1 The Local Approvals Review Program

The Local Approvals Review Program aims to promote reform of local government approvals processes. It incorporates four basic principles:

• Local government's management of building and development approvals processes should reflect efficient and effective decision making for the benefit of the wider community.

• State legislation and administrative procedures should maximise the responsibility of local government in the approvals process.

• Local government approvals processes should reflect accountability to the community.

• Local government approvals processes should foster good developer - local government relationships.

The Program recognises that an overall framework for reform is required if barriers to change are to be overcome, potential savings realised, and the system made more effective in delivering potential benefits. Although the Program focuses principally on local government, it recognises the need for cooperative action between all spheres of government and developers. For example, state reference

groups are proposed to advance the Program’s objectives; they include representatives of the state government, industry, and state local government associations.

Under the reforms proposed by the Program,'separate approvals and assessment procedures and criteria are replaced by a unified system of application assessment and approval. For example, structural reform within local government might take the form of combining all current approval functions into a single department within a council; alternatively, it might involve maintaining

functional separations but having joint assessment teams from separate council departments.

Source: Office of Local Government (1992a, 1992b). ____________________

12.09. A pilot project carried out for the Local Approvals Review Program at

Redland and Gatton Shire Councils in Queensland highlighted the importance of state

reforms paralleling those in local government, referrals to state agencies being cited as

the cause of extended delays to development decisions (KPMG Peat Marwick

Management Consultants 1993). Efforts being made to improve state regulatory and

administrative procedures should be integrated with changes to local government

procedures (ALGA 1993a, p. 17).

12.10. In Queensland, a government review found that there were more than

400 separate approvals processes affecting development. The Government's response

to this was to introduce an Integrated Development Approval System, designed to

replace many independent state government approval requirements with a single

system based, as far as possible, on local government land use and building approval

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214 Approval systems and impact assessment

systems. One of the principles of the system is that there should be clear connections

between policy objectives and the need to comment on or give approval for

development proposals. Another principle is that all assessment criteria, standards,

codes and other information relevant to the approvals process should be freely

available. The System is yet to be supported by legislation; its main elements are as

follows:

• pre-application conferences with approvals authorities to determine approval

guidelines to apply to the application;

• submission of a single application to the relevant local authority;

• local government referral of the application to state agencies for comment—some

state agencies retain right of veto;

• local authority assessment of the application in light of specific criteria, including

the views of referral bodies;

• a staged approval of the application following initial provisional approval granted

by the local authority;

• a single appeals forum;

• monitoring, to ensure compliance with the conditions of approval (Queensland

Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning 1993b).

12.11. In Victoria approvals processes for major developments are coordinated by

administrative arrangements between approval authorities rather than through the use

of a single approval system. There are four major approvals processes to which

developments in the coastal zone may need to submit: developments on private land

need to gain approval from local government, requiring the granting of a planning

permit and possibly a planning scheme amendment; developments on Crown land

require the consent of the coastal management coordinating committee (developments

that straddle private and Crown land require both approvals); proposals with a

potentially significant environmental effect require the preparation and approval of an

environmental effects statement (this applies to both private and public land); and an

Environment Protection Authority works approval is required where a proposal

involves a discharge into the environment

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Approval systems and impact assessment 215

12.12. In the past these approvals were often sought in sequence. This resulted in the

same proposal being exhibited to the public a number of times, limited communication

between approval authorities, and considerable and often unacceptable time involved in

obtaining an approval. There was also considerable potential for different approval

authorities to provide conflicting advice to a development proponent.

12.13. The Victorian Government gave some consideration to amending legislation

and reducing the number of approvals required, but it concluded that a number of

different approvals from different authorities might be necessary to ensure that all

aspects of a development proposal were considered. Coordination and streamlining of

these processes was regarded as important. To redress the problem of having several

separate appeals processes a formal administrative arrangement was introduced that

allows the environmental effects statement, scheme amendment, works approval and

planning permit processes to be undertaken in tandem, rather than sequentially. The

principal reform is that the environmental effects statement and scheme amendment

proposals are prepared, exhibited to the public and assessed jointly. Appeals are also

heard jointly. These coordinated approvals do not reduce the overall number of

approvals required for each proposal, but they have been successful in minimising the

potential for duplication of effort and reducing delays and the likelihood of conflicting

decisions (RAC 1993r). Figure 12.1 shows the major approval requirements and how

they are administratively linked.

12.14. An integrated approval system is one in which all aspects of a development

proposal are approved as part of a single, staged process. A good example of the

potential for using an integrated system is provided by a proposal for the development

of a residential estate, involving land rezoning, subdivision, infrastructure provision,

and land use and structural approvals. Instead of treating each component separately,

without regard for the subsequent effects of previous decisions, an integrated system

would take account of the way in which the components relate to each other, would

consider the overall ecological, economic, social and cultural effects of the

development, and would take into account the requirements of policies, strategies,

criteria and performance standards applicable to the development. This does not mean

that all details of the development proposal would need to be settled at the beginning

of the process; rather, subsequent approvals would permit subordinate detailed

approvals to be granted when required. The initial zoning or rezoning of a piece of

land is often the critical decision because, once taken, it conveys an expectation of

particular development rights. For this reason it is desirable that zoning proposals

should contain conceptual designs showing the final form of proposed

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216 Approval systems and impact assessment

Figure 12.1 Coordinated approvals process for major developments in Victoria__________

Works approval Environmental Planning scheme Planning permit

amendment

Environmental effects statement

(Environment Protection (Dept of Planning & Housing) Authority)

Prepare and submit application to EPA

1r

App

aHvftrtisp ations A hv F.PA

1r

Submissions within 21 days*

f

Public scoping and preparation of EES (in consultation with Dept of Planning & ____ Housing* )____

EES advertised and exhibited for two months by proponent

Submissions within two months* one month*

Where there is a Panel inquiry (if Hearing panel (if

required) appointed required) appointed

EPA provides draft by Minister for JOINT by Minister for conditions to Dept of Planning & Housing Planning & Housing Planning & Housing 1f 1F

Minister's assessment Planning authority of environmental review and

effects recommendation to

Minister

Minister's approval and gazettal of planning scheme amendment

EPA grants works approval

1r

Applican may ap ts or objectors peal to AAT

1r

AAT hearing and direction

JOINT HEARING

(Municipality) (Municipality)

Prepare draft amendment (in consultation with municipality as plan nine authority*)

Discuss with relevant referral authorities and municipal council (as

responsible authority) r ri . Exhibited for one month by proponent Prepare and submit application to municipal council1f 4Submissions within Municipal councilconsiders and may require advertising by proponentSubmissions within close of advertising* Planning authority issues permit if no

objection, or issues notice of determination

Applicant or objectors may appeal to AAT within 28

AAT hearing and direction

Municipal council grants or refuses

* Submissions may be lodged by any interested party including government agencies, municipalities, industry and commerce,

academic institutions, community and environment interest groups and individuals

Source: RAC (1993r).

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Approval systems and impact assessment 217

development on the site, thus allowing, in a single process, a broad assessment to be

made of such matters as servicing requirements, environmental impacts and

consistency with planning requirements.

12.15. Recent initiatives by state and local governments have considerable potential

to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of approvals processes. But unless they are

fully supported by all governments with responsibilities for approving developments

they will not achieve the degree of integration necessary to ensure that long-term

issues in the coastal zone are dealt with adequately and efficiently.

12.16. It is not necessary to develop a standard approvals process and to have that

process adopted by all state and local governments. Given the differences that exist in

legislation and the structure of government in each state, it would take a long time to

achieve such standardisation, if it were possible at all. But there is a strong case for

each state to develop an integrated system for dealing with all applications for

development in an effective and efficient way.

12.2 ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT ASSESSMENT

12.17. Various types of environmental impact assessment procedures are used to

identify the impacts of major development proposals on the environment; in Australia

they have been used since the 1970s, principally through the preparation of

environmental impact statements or similar documents. State and Commonwealth

governments require that environmental impact assessment occur for major

development proposals but the requirements are different in each jurisdiction

(see Box 12.2). Table 12.1 shows the types of assessment required by each state and

the Commonwealth.

12.18. In most cases environmental impact assessments are conducted by the

development proponent, often with the assistance of consultants. Responsibility for

the evaluation of impacts generally rests with prescribed government authorities, which

may require that a proposal be amended to deal with particular issues or may decide

that the overall costs associated with a proposal outweigh the benefits and decline to

approve it.

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218 Approval systems ana impact assessment

Box 12.2 Environmental impact assessment by state and Commonwealth governments

In New South Wales, under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979, environmental impact assessment, administered by the Department of Planning, can occur at all stages of the planning process. Assessment can occur in three ways: as part of regional or local planning; in considering the impact of a proposed development; and in the consideration of environmental matters by public agencies and

Ministers from whom a consent is required. The legislation lists designated developments and activities for which an environmental impact statement must be prepared, published and examined.

In South Australia preparation of an environmental impact statement occurs under the Planning Act 1982 and is administered by the Department of Environment and Planning. A statement is required for proposals that the Minister considers to be of 'major social, economic or environmental importance’. A non-statutory process of assessment, using the public environmental report, is available for projects with a lesser degree of environmental impact.

In Tasmania the Environment Protection Act 1973, administered by the Department of Environment and Planning, provides for the assessment of environmental impacts. The Minister is empowered to require the assessment of any operation or process that may have a significant environmental impact. Otherwise the decision to require an environmental impact statement is the responsibility of the determining authority. Tasmania has recently released a draft Environmental Management and Pollution Control Bill

1993, which will repeal the existing Act.

In Victoria environmental impact assessment is provided for under the Environmental Effects Act 1978, administered by the Environment Protection Agency. The Act mainly focuses on public works that could have a significant effect on the environment. For 'any decision or action' other than public works, the relevant Minister can require a development proponent to prepare an environmental effects statement.

In the Northern Territory the Environmental Assessment Act 1982 is administered by the Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory, which advises approval authorities or, in the case of proposals requiring assessment under the Act, the relevant Minister on whether assessment is required and the environmental safeguards to be applied. The Northern Territory environmental assessment process is currently under review, with amendments expected within the next 12 months.

In Western Australia the Environmental Protection Authority is responsible for environmental impact assessment under the Environmental Protection Act 1986. The Act gives the Minister for the Environment or the Authority the power to call in for assessment any proposal or project that may have a detrimental impact on the environment. The Minister can set conditions for approval that bind both the proponent and the decision-making body. The Act takes precedence over other state legislation and,

unlike legislation in other states, also binds the State.

In Queensland procedures for environmental impact assessment are administered by the Department of Environment and Heritage. The State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 requires that consideration be given to the potential environmental effects of any development. The need for an environmental impact assessment is determined by the relevant government agency. The Local Government (Planning and Environment) Act 1990 provides the main vehicle for impact assessment at the local government level. Under this Act the proponent is required to prepare an environmental impact statement for those developments prescribed by regulations made under the Act.

The Commonwealth's procedures for environmental impact assessment derive from the Environment Protection (Impact o f Proposals) Act 1974. The Act and procedures under it are administered by the Commonwealth Environment Protection Agency; they apply to all Commonwealth projects and to projects that require Commonwealth approval or finance. The Minister for the Environment determines whether an environmental impact statement or a public environment report is required; the Minister may also require that a public inquiry be held to consider the impact of specific proposals. The Act is currently being reviewed.

Source: Bates (1992), RAC (1993h, 1993j, 1993n, 1993p, 1993r, 1993t).____________________________

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Approval systems and impact assessment 219

12.19. In recent years governments have adopted the 'cooperative federalism'

approach to the evaluation of environmental impact assessments that require the

approval of more than one government. This has been formalised in a schedule to the

Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment and the subsequent development of

a protocol that provides a basis for more efficient administrative procedures

(ANZECC 1992b) and seeks to eliminate the delays that have been experienced in the

past when more than one government's approval is required before development can proceed.

Table 12.1 Types of assessments and degree of public participation in environmental impact assessment, by jurisdiction

Jurisdiction________ Type of assessment___________ Public participation3

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3

Commonwealth Public environment report Fair Fair/good Fair

Environmental impact statement Fair Good Fair

New South Wales Environmental impact statement and statement of environmental effects

Fair Good Fair

Victoria Environmental effects

statement

Good Good Good

Queensland Environmental impact statement Nil Minimal Minimal

South Australia Environmental impact statement Nil Fair Fair

Tasmania Level 1 Nil Minimal Minimal

Level 2 Fair/good Good Good

Level 3 Very good Very good Good

Western Australia Consultative environmental review Fair Good Good

Public environmental review Fair/good Good Good

Environmental review and management program Very good Good Good

Northern Territory Preliminary environmental report Nil Minimal Minimal

Environmental impact statement Nil Fair Minimal

a Public participation ratings are influenced by such factors as provisions for mediation, public hearings or meetings and frequency of use of these participative mechanisms. Stage 1 involves access to raise all relevant environmental issues; Stage 2 involves access to influence impact study; Stage 3 involves access to ensure implementation of major recommendations of assessment. Source: Environment Institute of Australia ( 1 9 9 0 ) . _______________________________________

12.20. The Inquiry received much evidence discussing the limitations of existing

environmental impact assessment procedures. These issues have been widely discussed

in the environmental management and legal literature. Box 12.3 summarises the

principal issues raised in these discussions.

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220 Approval systems and impact assessment

12.21. In its recent audit of processes associated with environmental impact

assessment by Commonwealth agencies, the Australian National Audit Office

(Jambrich et al. 1992) drew the following conclusions:

• Opportunities exist to manipulate the environmental impact assessment process

and possibly to circumvent the legislation under which it operates.

• Lack of monitoring of the effects of environmental impact assessment decisions

could result in harm to the Australian environment going unnoticed.

• Inefficiencies add to the length and complexity of the process.

• Education of assessment officers is inadequate given the importance placed on

the environment

The Office recommended

• streamlining procedures to identify and eliminate time lags;

• categorising referrals, so that every proposal receives an assessment at a level

appropriate to its environmental impact;

• reducing the number of unnecessary referrals;

• monitoring to determine the effectiveness of protection measures;

• improving coordination of the process by nomination of a facilitator;

• introducing a sunset clause to ensure timely completion of assessments.

12.22. Although there have been nearly two decades of experience in environmental

impact assessment in Australia, the integrity of impact statements prepared by

proponents is often questioned. Criticisms include the use of techniques to predict,

prevent or mitigate potentially adverse impacts, the quality of scientific analysis

employed in many assessments (Fairweather 1989) and failure to effectively monitor

outcomes (Buckley 1989). There has also been widespread criticism of the

requirement that the proponent be responsible for the assessment, often on the grounds

that there are incentives for proponents and consultants to present assessment results

in the most favourable light to increase the probability of receiving approval to

proceed.

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Approval systems and impact assessment 221

Box 123 Problems with environmental Impact assessment procedures

Integrity of environmental impact assessment One of the most persistent criticisms of environmental impact assessment processes relates to the integrity of assessments that are prepared by or on behalf of those with the greatest stake in the proposal. This leads to the possibility of biased and improperly prepared statements.

Project focus and reactive approach Environmental impact assessments are confined to assessment of specific project proposals, without necessarily having any relationship to broader strategies for regional development and management. A major disadvantage of this is that overall environmental impacts within particular regions may not

be taken into account in assessing proposals. The assessment process is also reactive: only those proposals that are put forward (in some cases including alternative ways of achieving the same objective) usually enter the assessment process, thus restricting the range of alternative resource uses that are considered.

Lack of integration with strategic management Environmental impact assessment procedures have been infrequently used to deal with broader resource use and management problems and have not been integrated with strategic approaches.

Environmental impact assessment comes too late in the decision making process There remains a tendency among developers to undertake technical and financial feasibility studies before assessing environmental impacts. This 'hurdle' approach can mean that environmental impact assessments are postponed for as long as possible, rather than being considered as an integral part of

the overall appraisal of projects.

Inadequate public participation Submitters to the Inquiry expressed concern about deficiencies in public participation during an environmental impact assessment; in particular, it is considered by many that government authorities do not give sufficient weight to the principle of public participation or recognise that failure to do so risks suspicion and hostility to their procedures and decisions.

Cumulative impacts Existing environmental impact assessment procedures do not take explicit account of the potential cumulative impacts of development proposals, including long-term, direct and indirect effects on

communities and the environment.

Time and cost factors Many proponents of development projects consider that environmental impact assessment procedures are unnecessarily complex and cause long delays in project implementation.

Social, cultural and ecological impacts There is a perception that many environmental impart assessments have been used to stress favourable financial and economic impacts of proposals while minimising potential unfavourable

impacts on communities and the environment.

Monitoring Most environmental impact assessment procedures lack provision for monitoring the impacts of projects, to assess whether controls are adequate or impact predictions are correct. This deficiency underlies the perception of environmental impact assessment as one hurdle to be overcome in

obtaining approval, rather than as a continuing process that seeks to ensure that long-term impacts are consistent with those incorporated in the initial assessment and approval process.

Source: Bates (1992), James (1993b). ___________________________ _______

12.23. To overcome these problems, the Australian Conservation Foundation

proposed that an independent statutory body be established to do environmental

impact assessments for major projects (Submission 589, app. A). If such a body were

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222 Approval systems and impact assessment

created, a wide range of skills would have to be available to it. An alternative would

be for consultants to be appointed by the agency responsible for assessing the

proposal, rather than leaving the choice to the proponent; this procedure is unlikely to

be acceptable to development proponents. Another possibility is to allow only

accredited assessors to conduct environmental impact assessments, but this would

necessitate the establishment of an accreditation body. Of overwhelming importance is

the need for rigorous and transparent evaluation procedures to be used by government

agencies dealing with environmental impact assessments; such procedures can provide

the only guarantee that assessments are thorough, are subjected to public scrutiny and

are properly evaluated.

12.24. There are two important aspects relating to the timing of environmental impact

assessments. In many cases the process of seeking development and environmental

approval is not formalised until the project planning and design phases of developments

have been completed. This makes it extremely difficult to ensure that proposals that

fail to conform with policies or strategies are not permitted; as a consequence,

undesirable environmental effects can occur and add to the difficulties of ensuring that

development is ecologically sustainable. The reforms of approvals processes referred

to in Section 12.1 provide for developers to engage in early discussions with approval

bodies at the pre-feasibility stage of project preparation; this procedure can be used to

ensure that developers are fully aware of the requirements they must meet.

12.25. Another aspect of timing is the need to ensure that assessments take place as

quickly as is consistent with proper examination of the issues involved. There is often

considerable urgency about development proposals, stemming from the desire to

respond to market opportunities that arise, frequently with little warning.

12.26. A survey of industry attitudes to environmental impact assessment procedures

for major projects found that delays in the process were the most serious source of

costs. The survey revealed that the costs involved in environmental impact assessment

were relatively small as a proportion of total project costs and that discouragement to

invest 'had nothing to do with the stringency of the standards and procedures that are

set, but is related to the consequences of the standards and procedures not being

clearly defined' (BIE 1990, p. 12).

12.27. The need to adopt more integrated approvals processes for major projects has

been recognised in recent years. Some state governments have created 'one stop

shops' for major developments. The Commonwealth Government has also established

a unit in the Treasury to implement the Government's commitment to an efficient

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Approval systems and impact assessment 223

approvals process and to ensure better understanding between project proponents and

governments.

12.28. It is important that, within the framework of ecologically sustainable

development, a proper balance be found between industry's need for an efficient,

effective and reasonably timed process and the need for a rigorous and transparent

process that deals adequately with the issues involved. The process should allow time

for thorough evaluation, including consideration of public comments. Timetables for

this process will vary according to the nature and extent of the issues involved: realistic

timetables should be established at the pre-feasibility stage and all parties should be

required to adhere to them.

12.29. Failure to take account of cumulative impacts is a major criticism of most

existing environmental impact assessment procedures. Whereas individual projects can

have negligible undesirable impacts, the cumulative impacts of a number of projects

can result in serious degradation of resources. A variety of such cumulative impacts

are of concern in the coastal zone. The cumulative effects of particular developments

may be exacerbated by inter-industry linkages (James 1993b); for example,

introduction of one major project in a region may lead to a significant expansion in the

output of other industries. It has long been recognised that such cumulative impacts

can be extremely important, but current procedures do not make provision for their

assessment

12.30. When assessing cumulative impacts, it must be recognised that it is not

possible to predict with accuracy the type or number of development projects that

might become commercially viable in an area. Mining projects might become viable

because of changes in knowledge about deposits or the development of new

technology; developments in technology and in market opportunities might make

processing and manufacturing activities commercially viable. It is therefore necessary

to establish processes that allow for assessment of the impacts of new projects in the

context of local and regional strategies, even if those projects were not anticipated

when the strategies were developed.

12.31. Two broad options are available for better integration of impact assessment

and evaluation with strategic management. One is to continue to treat environmental

impact assessment as essentially project-based and improve its application within the

context of broader policies, programs and strategies for the coastal zone. The other is

to extend the scope and applicability of impact assessments as part of local and

regional strategies. The procedures used in 'strategic environmental assessments' are

similar to those used in conventional impact assessment; they are extended to assess

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224 Approval systems and impact assessment

cumulative effects and the sustainability of resource uses. Little use has been made of

this approach in Australia (Wood 1992) but experience elsewhere suggests that it has

considerable potential for application to issues such as those that arise in the coastal

zone (Therivel 1993).

12.3 SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACTS

12.32. Another criticism of existing approval procedures is the lack of adequate

assessment of the social, cultural and economic implications of many development

proposals. A particular shortcoming has been the failure to examine implications of

some proposals for Australia's indigenous communities (see Chapter 10). There is only

a handful of occasions on which the overall economic, ecological, social and cultural

effects of major developments have been considered; the Ranger Uranium

Environmental Inquiry is one such example, the Resource Assessment Commission's

Inquiry in Kakadu Conservation Zone is another (Commonwealth of Australia 1977;

see also Coombs et al. 1989; RAC 1991).

12.33. A serious shortcoming in the assessment of the economic impacts of many

development proposals has been the tendency to examine only the direct financial

impacts of proposals and to emphasise their employment- and income-generating

potential without adequate regard to costs. Benefit-cost techniques that recognise

'external' effects, differences between market prices and opportunity costs, and values

associated with resource uses have often not been applied. Although it is not possible

to estimate all benefits and costs in monetary terms, there are techniques available to

allow assessments to be made of many impacts which need to be included in the

analysis of overall impacts (RAC 1992c).

12.34. Social impact assessment is necessary whenever major projects could have

important effects on particular groups of people; those effects need to be taken into

account in making decisions about resource uses. Agencies responsible for the

evaluation of development proposals likely to have such impacts should carefully

consider what the issues are and how they can be analysed and evaluated.

12.4. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

12.35. The current reforms of state and local government development approvals

processes will help to achieve greater integration of these processes and thus reduce

some of the inefficiencies that exist. But even when these reforms are fully effective

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Approval systems and impact assessment 225

there will still be considerable scope for greater integration of the processes. Reform is

necessary to increase the effectiveness of referral processes, to extend the application

of approval processes to all land-based and marine resources, and to include proposals

for conservation as well as development proposals in the processes.

R.38 The Inquiry recommends that

it is important that each state develop a single, unified assessment and approvals system to deal with all development and conservation proposals in the coastal zone, including proposals affecting marine resources.

12.36. It is of paramount importance that consideration of resource uses in the

coastal zone be based on thorough analyses of the impacts of proposals. The integrity

of assessment and evaluation processes will be assured only if rigorous and transparent

procedures are adopted; environmental and other impact assessments will then be

subject to detailed scrutiny by the agencies responsible and be available for public

comment before decisions are made.

R.39 The Inquiry recommends that

state and Commonwealth governments adopt stringent guidelines for the conduct of environmental and other impact assessments of development proposals, including rigorous and transparent procedures for their evaluation and the setting of timetables for their compilation.

12.37. To ensure that all impacts of major development proposals are taken into

account, their social, cultural and economic effects need to be assessed before

decisions are made that affect the uses of coastal zone resources. It will usually be

appropriate for these impacts to be assessed separately from environmental impacts.

R.40 The Inquiry recommends that

development approval processes include assessment of the ecological, economic, social and cultural effects of major proposals, including their effects on Australia's indigenous communities.

12.38. There are many cases in which the cumulative impacts of developments in the

coastal zone have had serious long term consequences for the environment

Governments need to ensure that the cumulative impacts of development are taken

fully into account before approving development proposals.

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226 Approval systems and impact assessment

R.41 The Inquiry recommends that

the potential ecological, economic, social and cultural impacts of development proposals, including potential cumulative impacts, be evaluated on a broader scale than the immediate development site;

the National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating committees evaluate the role that strategic environmental assessment procedures can play in assessing cumulative impacts of development

proposals.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 13 ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

13.01. There is greater scope to use economic and financial instruments to

complement, and in some cases replace, regulatory approaches to coastal zone

management. Economic and financial instruments currently being used in the

management of the coastal zone are described in Section 4.4. This chapter discusses

the potential for more extensive use of such instruments in achieving the objectives of

the National Coastal Action Program.

13.02. Section 13.1 considers the effects of economic and financial instruments. The

scope for greater use of such instruments is discussed in Section 13.2 and the criteria

that should be considered in choosing and evaluating them are discussed in

Section 13.3. Section 13.4 provides a summary of the main strengths and limitations

of those instruments that appear particularly useful for integrated coastal zone

management. Conclusions are reached and recommendations made in Section 13.5.

13.1 THE EFFECTS OF ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

13.03. Economic instruments use markets for goods and services to achieve resource

management objectives. They generally involve imposing charges or taxes on the use

of resources or providing subsidies for' particular activities; they may also involve

assigning rights to the ownership or use of resources. The main function of economic

instruments is to affect the allocation of resources by influencing the decisions of

buyers and sellers of goods and services. In contrast, financial instruments are used to

induce financial transfers. The distinction between economic and financial instruments

is not always clear, however, because some instruments (for example, taxes and

charges) have both resource-allocation and revenue-raising effects. Box 13.1 lists the

main kinds of economic instruments that can be used to achieve resource management

objectives.

13.04. Economic instruments usually affect resource allocation by changing the prices

at which goods and services are exchanged in markets; for example, charging a higher

price for water will normally reduce the quantity of water sold while simultaneously

increasing the potential revenue of the water authority. A tax levied on a particular

good or service will generally reduce both the quantity sold and the revenue obtained

by the seller; at the same time it will increase government revenues by the amount of

tax collected. Conversely, a subsidy provided by a government normally lowers the

price of the good or service concerned and increases the quantity sold; the cost of the

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230 Economic and financial instruments

subsidy is met from the budget of the government, thus reducing the funds available for

other purposes.

Box 13.1 Principal types of economic instruments

The following major kinds of economic instruments can be used for coastal zone management purposes.

Charges and taxes • effluent charges: charges paid on discharges into the environment, based on the quantity and/or quality of discharges.

• user charges: charges paid to reflect the costs of provision and management of facilities such as parks, beach maintenance, car parking, sewerage and water.

• product charges: charges included in the price of products in the production or consumption phase or for which a disposal system has been provided, based on some product characteristic or the product itself.

• administrative charges: charges paid for services; for instance, registration of commercial fishing licences and enforcement of regulations.

• tax differentiation: tax measures that lead to more favourable prices for 'environmentally friendly’ products; for example, the tax differentiation between leaded and unleaded fuel.

Market creation • tradeable permits or quotas: resource use rights are established and allocated in conjunction with regulations that generally establish a limit on resource use or emissions. A market develops in surplus permits or quotas, which are tradeable between resource users.

Other incentives • deposit-refund systems: an incentive to encourage the reduction of waste, raw material and energy consumption whereby a deposit is refunded when the product (beverage containers, for example) is returned to the appropriate agent or other conditions are satisfied.

• subsidies: various forms of financial assistance (cash payments, tax relief, accelerated depreciation on capital equipment, and so on) can be used to encourage reductions in pollution or to finance measures necessary to reduce environmental degradation.

• enforcement incentives: non-compliance fees penalise polluters that exceed prescribed standards. Performance bonds are payable to authorities under a licence granted to the developer and are returned upon satisfactory performance.

Source: Adapted from Opschoor & Vos (1989), OECD (1993b), Hughes (1992),__________________

13.05. When property rights already exist economic instruments such as user charges,

taxes and subsidies can be used to create incentives by directly affecting the returns to

resource users and by changing the prices for goods and services. When property

rights do not exist it may be possible to create markets by conferring such rights; for

example, by creating tradeable entitlements or permits to use water from rivers, to

discharge wastes into rivers, or to catch prescribed amounts of fish. As a consequence,

desirable reductions in discharges can be achieved at lower cost than by use of

regulations. However, when non-point-source pollution occurs, such as nutrient

run-off from farms and urban stormwater drainage, individual polluters are difficult to

identify and monitor and it is much more difficult to create a market. Even so, in some

cases transactions can take place between point and non-point sources of pollution that

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Economic and financial instruments 231

will help achieve both an active market and significant cost savings

(James 1993b, p. 18; Hahn 1989).

13.06. In addition to considering the effects of economic instruments that directly

influence goods and services produced and consumed in the coastal zone, it is

necessary to consider the effects of instruments used by governments to achieve

objectives that are not directly associated with management of coastal zone resources

but that nevertheless can have unintended and detrimental effects on those resources.

For example, Industry Commission inquiries in areas as diverse as waste management

(1993a), water (1992b), the dairy and sugar industries (1991a, 1992a) and statutory

marketing arrangements (1991c) have found that both under-pricing of resource uses

and government subsidies in these industries contribute to the over-use of resources

and environmental degradation. Although the pursuit of ecologically sustainable

development objectives requires an analysis of the 'external' consequences of economic

and financial instruments as part of a holistic approach to resource management,

information about these impacts is often not readily available and can be obtained only

by thorough analyses of the impacts.

13.2 SCOPE FOR GREATER USE OF ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL

INSTRUMENTS

13.07. Although there are many instances in which more efficient resource allocation

might be achieved through improvements to regulatory instruments (including

negotiations with industries and other groups to obtain greater flexibility) in many

instances well-designed and properly applied economic instruments or combinations of

regulatory and economic instruments offer the most cost-effective means of achieving

management objectives. Economic instruments are generally a less intrusive form of

government intervention than regulatory approaches and they have greater potential to

integrate resource management and other objectives such as economic efficiency.

Their relative flexibility means that resource allocation objectives can be met at less

cost than when other instruments are used. Box 13.2 summarises the potential benefits

of greater use of economic instruments.

13.08. A considerable number of Inquiry participants supported greater use of

economic and financial instruments in the management of coastal zone resources. The

Environment Management Industry Association of Australia submitted,

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232 Economic and financial instruments

Above all else, Australia's environment policy should be underpinned with suitable economic instruments to encourage adjustment in investment, production and consumption patterns impacting on the environment. Environment policy must reward the innovator, ensure the polluter pays

and acknowledge the cost of environment degradation in community resource and economic strategies. (Submission 515, p. 2)

Box 13.2 Benefits of economic instruments

Well-designed and properly applied economic instruments can assist the achievement of coastal zone management objectives in a number of ways, among them the following.

Compliance cost savings Resource users are encouraged to choose the most efficient way of responding to standards, thereby achieving cost savings that would not be available from less flexible forms of regulation. In addition, where costs of environmental management vary between firms, those firms that can reduce their polluting activities at little cost will do so, while those that would face much higher costs will change

their activities to a lesser extent. The result is an overall level of activity that minimises the sum of environmental damage and compliance costs.

Efficient resource use Resource pricing based on total costs encourages resource users to reduce waste and over-exploitation, leading to more socially efficient resource use.

Dynamic Incentive effects Resource users respond to changes in environmental conditions, economic activity and technological change in the most efficient and innovative way for as long as the cost of doing so is less than that

imposed by the instrument.

Revenue raising Economic instruments raise revenues while improving environmental quality by discouraging environmentally damaging activities that cause economic losses. Revenues can be used to fund management programs, to make charges more effective by improving enforcement, and to compensate households bearing an unfair incidence of environmental charges.

Integration of environmental and economic goals At the individual firm level, pecuniary rewards for environmental stewardship encourage resource users to incorporate environmental considerations in decision making. At the economy-wide level, by facilitating environmentally benign activities in cost-effective ways, economic instruments work to simultaneously enhance environmental quality, competitiveness and economic growth.

Source: Adapted from Government of Canada (1992),________________________________________

Similarly, the then Department of the Arts, Sport, the Environment and Territories

stated,

The need to develop realistic pricing mechanisms for the use of coastal zone resources is an area in which the Department would support more research being undertaken. Areas that could be profitably considered in this regard include a review o f... recovery [of] costs, royalty determinations and property tax rates. (Submission 352, p. 22)

13.09. Some participants, however, expressed reservations about the application of

the user-pays principle without regard to its effects on particular user groups, such as

local rate-paying residents and disadvantaged groups (ALP Mayfield Branch,

Submission 547; City of West Torrens, Submission 439). The Inquiry also received

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Economic and financial instruments 233

similar feedback in response to the draft of its conclusions and recommendations which

it issued during the Inquiry (RAC 1993g). The Commonwealth Department of

Tourism expressed concern that taxes levied on the tourism sector should benefit the

industry and not be used to subsidise unrelated activities (Submission 580). There was

also concern, particularly on the part of local authorities, that the introduction of

higher charges by some councils and not others could disadvantage those that did not

introduce the charges, and that some user-pays systems are either not financially viable

or offer low returns on the investment required to fund them (see Transcript, pp. 324, 1594).

13.10. The need to integrate economic and environmental decision making prompted

the development of the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development.

It is also fundamental to the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment. Both

the Strategy and the Agreement strongly endorse the development and implementation

of cost-effective and flexible policy instruments. The Intergovernmental Agreement on

the Environment incorporates a number of guiding principles for policy making,

including the polluter-pays and user-pays principles (1992, p. 14). It is also recognised

that governments need to undertake further work on economic instruments and to gain

experience of using them by developing pilot programs to test the viability and

effectiveness of different combinations of market and regulatory mechanisms (National

Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development 1992, pp. 58-79).

13.11. Overall, improving the complementarity of budgetary and environmental

policies by increasing, modifying, reducing or removing existing taxes and subsidies for

environmental reasons is becoming an attractive option for governments interested in

both improving the tax system and promoting a better environment (see Box 13.3).

13.12. The scope for greater use of economic and financial instruments in coastal

zone management may be illustrated by considering the manner in which a wide range

of such instruments can potentially be used to help achieve management objectives

associated with the multiple uses of catchments. The successful management of

catchments is extremely important for achieving the objectives of the National Coastal

Action Program. Riverine and estuarine environments support a diverse range of

natural ecosystems, including wetlands and mangroves. Multiple use of many

catchment areas includes the provision of water supplies for household and industrial

uses (including mariculture and irrigation of agricultural areas), as well as recreation

and tourism activities. Box 13.4 provides an overview of the range of instruments that

can be used in catchment management.

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234 Economic and financial instruments

Box 133 Taxation and the environment

Environmental taxes (including subsidies as negative taxes) have considerable potential to help control the environmental impact of economic activities and finance environmental improvement programs. Such taxes attempt to ensure that resource users are confronted with the full costs (or benefits) of their activities; they are being used increasingly in OECD countries as a result of the

increased emphasis on environmental issues in the context of overall tax reform.

Environmental taxes can involve new taxes (for example, on polluting emissions or products) or changes to existing taxes (for example, changing the structure of energy taxes to reflect environmental effects). They can have a direct link to the pollution they aim to control, as in the case of taxes on polluting emissions, or an indirect link, as in the case of taxes on fuel. While direct taxes can be closely linked to the amount of pollution caused by a particular source, indirect taxes can be an effective instrument for controlling non-point-source pollution since they can be a proxy for the damage caused regardless of whether the emission can be measured.

Environmental taxes can potentially be used to shift some of the tax-revenue-raising burden from activities generating income, employment and profits onto activities generating pollution, inefficiency and waste. The gains of such a shift are improved environmental quality, reduced needs for

infrastructure, higher rates of savings and investment, increased employment and productivity growth.

Although environmental taxes may have negative effects on the profits, employment or output of polluting sectors of the economy, they would probably receive public support since the community is generally in favour of the polluter-pays and user-pays principles. Community acceptance will be enhanced if taxes are seen to be linked directly with environmental improvements or to contribute to

tax reductions elsewhere, and if taxpayers have opportunities to reduce their tax bills by acting in environmentally benign ways; for example, by saving water and recycling.

Source: OECD (1993b), Repetto et al. (1992), ____________________________________________

13.3 CRITERIA FOR CHOOSING INSTRUMENTS

13.13. As noted in Section 4.4, the Inquiry commissioned the Australian Bureau of

Agricultural and Resource Economics to examine in detail the experience of a number

of agencies using economic and financial instruments of relevance to integrated coastal

zone management. One of the Bureau's main conclusions was that,

Australian governments and their agencies have frequently applied tradeable rights and charging systems to encourage efficiency in resource use. Charging systems are also used to recover management costs or to raise revenue. In general, governments have experienced some success in using these instruments to achieve their stated objectives. However, the effectiveness of tradeable rights and charging systems in addressing their respective objectives depends on a number of preconditions being met. In addition, the use of these instruments in isolation is not likely to ensure conservation of natural resources and may result in redistribution of incomes. In some cases the use of other instruments may be necessary to address these objectives. (ABARE 1993c, p. x)

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Economic and financial instruments 235

Box 13.4 The scope for using economic instruments in catchment management

A variety of instruments can be used in catchment management and hence in the integrated management of building, tourism, mariculture and associated development.

The spatial distribution of activities should be managed to minimise their adverse environmental effects. Land use zoning is particularly useful for this purpose, but economic incentives can also be used to attract particular kinds of activities to particular areas (for example, by reducing prices or lease payments associated with Crown land, reducing rates paid to local councils, or subsidising

activities of government agencies) or to discourage particular activities (for example, by imposing taxes).

At present pollution management mainly relies on regulations over the kinds, levels and spatial distribution of activities within a catchment. Economic measures can be used to encourage particular kinds of activity; for example, expenditure programs, tax concessions or other incentives can be used to attract particular industries or firms. Inputs to production that contribute to water pollution may be

discouraged through taxes; for example, a tax on fertilisers.

Tradeable discharge permits can be used to limit total waste loads and promote cost minimisation by polluters. Trading zones can also limit pollution in specific sub-catchments, but they add to the complexity and cost of management Efficiency gains from such schemes depend on whether there are sufficient players to trade permits and whether it is possible to identify diffuse sources and to

monitor their discharge patterns with sufficient reliability to ensure compliance with the requirements of the scheme.

Discharge reductions and cost-effective controls can be encouraged by the imposition of effluent charges. As in the case of tradeable permits, the charges can be adjusted for different zones. An advantage of effluent charges is that they provide a continuing incentive for polluters to seek and use new pollution-abatement technology and management practices. Pollutant loads can also be reduced

by transferring effluent via pipeline or truck to other discharge points such as ocean outfalls, where the assimilative capacity is greater. Economic instruments to support this technology could include environmental levies to fund the necessary infrastructure and other user charges to cover management costs. The costs of infrastructure to reduce discharges of pollutants to waterways, such as sediment

traps and diversion drains, may be financed from mandatory developer contributions. Enforcement can be upheld by a variety of economic instruments, including penalties, fines, compliance bonds and proportional non-compliance fees.

Sewage effluent can be sold for irrigation purposes in agriculture and forestry, for watering recreation areas, for industrial cooling processes, for some domestic uses, and so forth. In many of these applications, nutrients contained in effluent have significant economic value to users. As well as

making more efficient use of effluent, economic instruments designed to promote waste recovery and recycling can help to reduce or postpone the need for augmentation of water supply systems. Total nutrient loads in receiving waters may also be reduced. Similar economic approaches can be applied to sales of sludge from sewage, which can be converted to fertiliser and sold for a commercial return.

The introduction of user-pays pricing systems for water from reservoirs, rivers and streams can achieve greater conservation of water resources. Tradeable permits can also be used. Permits may be specified in terms of volume, reservoir capacity or security of supply. Trade in permits may involve long-term or short-term transfers. Leases and permits can be used to control the spatial distribution

and intensity of use of riverine environments. Tradeable quotas may be applied to manage fisheries.

Economic instruments designed to prevent land degradation include tax incentives to landowners for investment in soil conservation and tree protection and direct financial grants to local governments to undertake improvement schemes. Performance bonds for the rehabilitation of land provide an economic incentive to maintain land condition. For parks, reserves and other recreation areas, user fees can be charged to cover management costs and help prevent land degradation resulting from visitor use.

In the design of tradeable permits for water entitlements, allowance should be made for flow volumes that are required for ecosystem protection; these volumes should be excluded from trading schemes. Effluent charges or tradeable permits for water quality management should similarly take into account permissible discharge limits.

Source: James (1993a)._________________________________________________________________

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236 Economic and financial instruments

13.14. In choosing instruments to implement coastal zone management policies, it is

necessary in each particular case to take into account a number of important criteria,

among them effectiveness in attaining the objectives being pursued, the efficiency of

the instrument, distributional effects, administrative issues, and acceptability to those

affected. These criteria are described in Box 13.5.

Box 13.5 Criteria for choosing economic instruments

The choice of resource management instruments requires consideration of five important criteria

Environmental effectiveness The environmental effectiveness of economic instruments is mainly determined by the responsiveness of resource users ιθ incentives. The primary objective of economic instruments is to provide permanent incentives to environmentally benign activities, technical innovation and product

substitution.

Economic efficiency In a broad sense, economic efficiency is achieved by an optimal allocation of resources; in a limited but more operational sense, it implies that the cost of complying with environmental requirements is

minimised.

Equity The notion of equity introduces ethical and moral judgments about what is fair. Distributive consequences vary according to the type of policy instrument applied and how revenue generated by

instruments is used. In the case of tradeable permits, distributional effects differ according to the initial allocation of permits.

Administrative feasibility and cost All types of policy instruments involve implementation and enforcement structures, particularly those that relate to the ease and cost of monitoring discharges and the number of target groups involved, as well as the nature of the legal and institutional settings.

Acceptability It is crucial that target groups be informed of and consulted about the instruments that may be imposed on them and about any changes in the use of these instruments.

Source: Adapted from OECD (1991a).____________________________________________________

13.15. Community resistance to user charges may add to the difficulty of setting

charges that are high enough to achieve management objectives, particularly when

demand for the goods or services concerned is not very sensitive to changes in prices.

At times this resistance may be justified on the basis of equity considerations. The

application of economic instruments may, however, result in more efficient resource

use and management, contributing to lower costs for everyone. More importantly,

pricing policies that do not reflect the full costs associated with resource use activities

have equity impacts as well. New charges to eliminate an environmental subsidy to a

product or service are not always welcome, but in a broad sense environmental costs

are already being borne by someone, or will be in the future. And, as the Industry

Commission notes, the cost of implicit subsidies 'is often borne from rates and taxation

and other forms of charging which may fall on households less well-off than those to

whom the subsidy through lower prices is accruing' (1993b, p. 235).

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Economic and financial instruments 237

13.16. The instruments' effects on other industries and other regions may also need to

be assessed. It is necessary to assess the impact of proposed measures on the

international competitiveness of industries, and to consider the timing of the

introduction of particular instruments and associated adjustment costs (Government of

Canada 1992).

13.17. To facilitate the implementation of economic instruments it is advisable to

adopt instruments that are simple and transparent, to implement them gradually and to

monitor their effects (OECD 1993b). Compensatory arrangements to offset any

undesirable social consequences or the earmarking of revenue obtained for specific

coastal zone management purposes may also improve their acceptability.

13.18. The choice of instrument or instruments should ultimately be made in terms of

net benefits; that is, it is necessary to examine the differences in the costs associated

with the instruments as well as the differences in benefits obtained from achieving the

objectives concerned. Comparisons should take into account the less predictable

effects that economic instruments, as opposed to regulations, may have on resources

and environmental quality. The perception that economic instruments can place the

environment at risk because existing regulations may be modified or abandoned, limits

their acceptability for some community groups; this concern needs to be dealt with by

careful appraisal of the effects of the alternatives as part of the analysis of benefits and

costs.

13.19. The effectiveness of any instrument depends on the way it is implemented,

including the way it is integrated with other policy instruments (for example, direct

regulation and educational instruments) and the specific nature of the management

problem it attempts to resolve. Instruments may be implemented for a number of

purposes-—amenity or environmental protection, efficient resource allocation, revenue

raising, or some combination thereof—but no single instrument is likely to be

successful in achieving several objectives simultaneously. The best management

arrangements are probably those that combine a variety of economic instruments with

regulations and other policy measures.

13.20. Successful implementation of an instrument in one area does not guarantee its

success elsewhere. Furthermore, success may require cooperation between different

agencies and between different governments. Individual local or state governments

may be ineffective in resolving resource problems because they cannot adequately

control access to the resource or contain the full effects of resource use.

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238 Economic and financial instruments

13.4 STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS OF SELECTED INSTRUMENTS

13.21. Although charges and taxes are already used in the coastal zone, there is scope

for further use of such instruments to achieve the objectives of the National Coastal

Action Program. This section provides a brief review of the strengths and limitations

of charges and taxes and other economic and financial instruments. Together with the

criteria discussed in the previous section, it provides a 'checklist' for coastal

management agencies that may be examining whether particular instruments are

appropriate to their circumstances or that are seeking to improve arrangements already

in operation.

Charges and taxes

13.22. In general, charging systems can be used to meet a variety of objectives

relating to resource allocation problems. Preconditions for an effective charging

system include the ability to identify users and their level of use, the ability to identify

an appropriate charge, and cost-effective collection and enforcement of charges.

Charging systems aimed at raising revenue will usually have the lowest information

requirements and be the simplest to operate. The use of charging systems to maintain

the quality of a resource or to maintain a resource at a sustainable level will require

considerable information about the relative social costs of resource use activities and

the extent of services provided to manage resources.

13.23. Two areas in which better use of charging systems offers considerable

potential in helping to achieve coastal management objectives are nature conservation

and water management. In the case of the New South Wales National Parks and

Wildlife Service, for example, the Inquiry notes in Section 4.4 that efforts to increase

cost recovery rates are proving relatively successful; the Service is moving towards a

structured fee schedule reflecting the level of services provided. The scope for further

improvements in fee schedules is limited by the cost of collecting data on patterns of

park use and expenditures related to the provision of particular services and by tension

between efforts to increase cost recovery and the Service's over-riding responsibility to

protect the environment Further, since it is not cost-effective to collect user charges

at every park in New South Wales, cross-subsidisation occurs between parks, with

visitors to popular parks where fees are charged subsidising the provision of facilities

at other parks. This may result in efficiency losses from the over-use of services in

parks for which fees are not charged (ABARE 1993c, pp. 114— 23).

13.24. In the case of water management, a recent Industry Commission review of

water resources and waste water disposal revealed that charging arrangements often

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Economic and financial instruments 239

have not encouraged people to use water efficiently and that there have been

associated environmental problems (Industry Commission 1992b). The Australian

Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics' analysis of the Hunter Water

Corporation, where a two-part pricing scheme has been introduced—a charge to cover

the fixed costs in supplying water services and a charge for actual water use—shows

that these measures have led to reduced household consumption of water, savings in

infrastructure expenditure, and more efficient consumption patterns among industrial

and domestic water users (ABARE 1993c). Many water suppliers are now switching

to use-related charges, although there is evidence that further refinements to pricing

structures need to be made to obtain the efficiency benefits associated with full cost

recovery (Government Pricing Tribunal of New South Wales 1993).

13.25. Table 13.1 summarises the main strengths and limitations of user charges

generally. The strengths and limitations of two particular types of user

charges—developer contributions and accommodation taxes—are discussed in greater

detail in the following paragraphs.

Table 13.1 User charges generally: strengths and limitations

Strengths______________________________

Provide supplier of the resource with an indication of the value consumers place on provision of resource services and the efficient level of services to provide; for example,

valuing the economic viability of a new water supply source

Provide information about the impact of price on resource use

Reduce cross-subsidisation

Act as a demand-management tool by reducing 'unnecessary' resource use whereby individuals adapt use to the point where the value they place on additional consumption is equal to the price they face

The revenue gained can ensure that resource services are supplied and disposed of more efficiently

Limitations________________________________

It may be difficult to determine whether the charge meets efficiency criteria; that is, whether it is equal to the cost of making additional resources available

Marginal cost pricing can only be approximate where environmental and social costs associated with resource use are difficult to identify or quantify

Where charges are limited to price increases in line with inflation, inefficiencies can occur if marginal costs are rising more quickly than general inflation

It may be difficult to identify all user groups and determine the cost of resource provision to different user groups

Non-compliance and avoidance can be encouraged

Revenue is lost when charges act as a deterrent to use, but if charges were previously less than costs net revenue increases

Source: Adapted from ABARE (1993c).

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240 Economic and financial instruments

Developer contributions 13.26. Developer contributions are widely used by local authorities to help cover

costs of physical and social infrastructure associated with development activities.

Although there is evidence of a trend toward a much greater rate of cost recovery for

development (see, for example, Government Pricing Tribunal of New South Wales

1993), there is, however, considerable variation among the states in the application of

developer contributions (see Box 13.6) and undercharging appears to be more

common than overcharging, especially in urban residential areas. For example, the

Industry Commission estimated that full cost recovery for water and sewerage

infrastructure would increase charges and rates by 16 per cent in Sydney and

14 per cent in Melbourne (1993b, p. 172). A coastal management strategy that aims to

achieve full cost recovery from users, the elimination of cross-subsidies and the

efficient use of available capacity will accordingly require more comprehensive use of

developer contributions; the revenue from these contributions is particularly important

in covering costs incurred by local authorities and government agencies.

13.27. In considering issues involved in extending developer contributions to cover

the full costs of developments, the Australian Conservation Foundation identified three

types of 'external costs' associated with new developments;

(i) the additional on-site engineering and construction costs that will be necessary to meet environmental standards imposed by government; (ii) impacts that, despite additional works under (i), diminish the ecological, aesthetic or amenity values of resources now or in the future; and (iii) additional off-site costs to the community induced by the development such as extra wear and tear on public roads.

(Submission 718, pp. 7-8)

13.28. According to the Foundation, developer charges should either be internalised

into the project's engineering, construction, operating and environmental monitoring

costs or, where this is not possible, be paid directly to the authority responsible for

repairing the damage. A recent Industry Commission report notes that developer

contributions are well suited to reflecting variation in costs by location (1993b,

pp. 165-219).

13.29. Table 13.2 summarises the main strengths and limitations of developer

contributions. Although the case for recovering costs associated with development is

based firmly on the user-pays principle, determining the type and range of facilities and

costs that should be covered by developer contributions is controversial, particularly in

relation to expenditure on social infrastructure that benefits the whole community or is

designed to meet the equity objectives of governments. Such expenditure should in

principle be met from community-wide taxation. The effect of contributions connected

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Economic and financial instruments 241

with housing costs is also a matter of concern. Equity considerations may appear to

justify subsidising many urban developments in the interests of housing affordability,

but such subsidies involve major costs, including the income foregone from diminished

investment activity in other sectors and a less efficient pattern of urban settlement

(Spiller 1993, p. 3). It is more efficient if affordability is dealt with through such

measures as effectively targeted direct assistance programs and differential rating

systems, while avoiding the undercharging of costs associated with development in particular areas.

Box 13.6 Developer contributions in different states

Queensland Developer contributions are generally limited to contributions towards water, sewerage, drainage and roads. A local authority can also require provision of open space equal to 10 per cent of the subdivision area.

New South Wales Developer contributions can be charged for social infrastructure, including open space, recreation and community facilities. Developer contributions may also be levied for off-site roadworks that councils have a responsibility to maintain and for which there is a link between the proposed development and the need for the additional works. The contribution can extend to the maintenance of roads exhibiting excessive wear and tear resulting from a development. Developer contributions for roads funded by

governments are not common. The Sydney Water Board has introduced developer contributions for major works (for example, trunk sewers and pumping stations) for development in established areas where the development draws on infrastructure provided in the last 25 years. In general, developer charges for established areas are less than those applicable to recently rezoned land for which entirely

new systems are required.

Victoria Developer contributions are well established for water supply, sewerage, drainage, electricity and gas infrastructure but are less well developed for roads, public transport and social infrastructure.

South Australia The South Australian Urban Land trust publicly owns most of the ’greenfields' land and sells it directly to the private sector through joint-venture agreements. Under these agreements there is a coordinated approach to provision of social infrastructure. Under the existing legislation

contributions (outside joint ventures) are allowed for water and sewerage and open space but not social infrastructure. The Commissioner of Highways can demand a contribution from a developer if road arterial capacity requires expansion as a result of traffic generated by the development. The provision of public transport services to new developments is not funded by developer contributions

but rather by fares and subsidies from government.

Western Australia Under the present planning Acts the State holds subdivision powers and can require contributions for open space, part of which can be for community facilities. Contributions for community facilities at the local level are negotiated between local authorities and the developer at rezoning. Developers also

contribute to works on 'district distributors' within and sometimes abutting a new development, as well as off-site works such as sub-stations and low voltage overhead power lines.

Tasmania With the exception of limited provision of open space (5 per cent of land subdivided), there is no legislative power for any kind of developer contribution. If it is 'unduly expensive' municipalities can reject a subdivision so developers usually provide reticulation of all local physical services.

Source: Briggs (1992b), Industry Commission (1993b), Victorian Department of Planning and _______Development (1993).___________________________________________________ ________

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242 Economic and financial instruments

Table 13.2 Developer contributions: strengths and limitations

Strengths Limitations

Are direct and familiar

Account for locational variations in costs of infrastructure provision

Have funding benefits for governments

Can be used to contain adverse amenity impacts associated with development

Adverse affordability effects, especially for new home buyers

Inequitable if some house buyers pay for infrastructure they do not use

If the value of infrastructure funded is not fully capitalised into property prices early buyers will cross-subsidise future buyers

Can have efficiency benefits when people are able to choose the level of infrastructure they want and pay for it through house purchase prices

May generate inefficiencies in the pattern of development where major infrastructure thresholds are encountered—development may be delayed or less efficient infrastructure designs will be installed

to fit the developer's initial funding capacity

Counteract wider social objectives if provision of low-cost housing is discouraged because of underfunded infrastructure

May not recover the full costs of infrastructure provision

May be difficult to justify when insufficient research has been done into the relationship between the costs associated with development and the proposed charge and the need for such infrastructure.

Source: Adapted from Spiller (1993), Industry Commission (1993b), Lang (1991), National Inquiry into Local Government Finance (1985, vol. 2, pp. 292-394), Committee of Inquiry into Local _______ Government Rating and Other Revenue Powers and Resources (1990, p. 76).______________

Accommodation taxes

13.30. Accommodation, or 'bed', taxes can be levied in several ways: a unit tax on

each night's occupancy, an ad valorem tax assessed as a percentage of the price of an

occupied room, or a mixture of both. In principle the proceeds can be used to cover

the costs of providing government services (for example, tourism promotion); to pay

for the costs of infrastructure and other resources used by tourists (for example,

increased sewerage and road use); and to regulate the number of visitors to an area to

prevent excessive impacts on the environment Bed taxes are fairly common in other

countries; for example, in Europe and many states in the United States. A bed tax was

introduced in the Northern Territory in 1987 to raise revenue for tourism promotion

and such a tax has been proposed—and rejected—at various times in the past in other states.

13.31. Doubts about the usefulness of bed taxes arise mainly from their potential

negative effects on tourism and related industries; these effects may differ according to

locality, property size and type of traveller. For example, studies suggest that changes

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in accommodation prices will have relatively little effect on demand in resort areas,

greater effects on smaller properties (possibly because of a lesser ability to absorb

increased costs) and greater effects on pleasure travellers than on business people

(Heimstra & Ismail 1992; Fujii et al. 1985). There are also equity concerns,

particularly in the absence of a comprehensive system of user charges covering visitors

who would avoid the bed tax (for example, day trippers and those staying in private

residences) and other industries in the coastal zone that may have equal or greater

resource impacts. Taking these matters into account, a recent study concluded that an

accommodation tax in general 'is a low yield, narrow and ineffective tax base' (Burgan

1990, p. 15).

13.32. Nevertheless, a well-designed bed-tax system has considerable potential as a

means of financing coastal zone management; it is a relatively low cost, transparent

and simple revenue-raising mechanism lor state or local governments. And, as

succinctly put by one commentator,

My first reaction when staying in New York was to wonder why I had to pay an accommodation tax. Then I began to think logically. I had used the bathroom, 1 had used the electricity, I had used the transport system

and had used a whole range of utilities that we take for granted. And who pays for the infrastructure? The ratepayers and residents, of course, and why should they be expected to subsidise me? After all I was only a visitor. So user pays, what could be fairer? (Cole 1992)

13.33. Bed taxes would ensure that a proportion of those visitors who do not at

present contribute directly to the costs of resource management in the zone, make a

direct contribution to those costs, as occurs in many other countries. They can also be

designed to ensure that those most able to pay do so. On the basis of the Northern

Territory's experience, administration costs are likely to be minimal if the tax is

collected by state treasuries, which already collect other indirect taxes (ABARE

1993c). The tax rate could be set at a relatively low proportion of accommodation

charges, so that there will be little impact on the number of visitors to particular areas.

The resulting revenue could be—and for public acceptability may need to

be—specifically set aside for expenditure related to resources used for tourism; tor

example, to offset the tourism-induced resource management costs that are incurred by

stale and local governments. In principle, tax rates could be varied according to the

costs incuned in particular areas, but this might be administratively difficult

13.34. Table 13.3 summarises the main strengths and limitations of accommodation

taxes.

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244 Economic and financial instruments

Table 13.3 Accommodation taxes: strengths and limitations______________________________

Strengths___________________________ Limitations______________________________________

Shift some of the tax burden from May restrict tourist development residents to non-residents Inequitable between the tourist accommodation sector and Simple and efficient to administer other tourism supply sectors

Reasonably predictable revenue May reduce profitability of accommodation and tourism industry, thereby reducing company taxes Justifiable on the grounds of progressivity and ability-to-pay Tax revenue is likely to be subject to seasonal conditions principles

Do not capture charges from visitors and day trippers who

Can be used to fund tourism promotion do not use commercial accommodation; cannot therefore and contain any negative environmental completely cover externalities associated with tourism impacts associated with tourism Increase competition and distortions between local areas

if the tax is not implemented uniformly

May encourage visitors to go elsewhere or not travel

Source: Adapted from Burgan (1990), ABARE (1993c).

Tradeable resource use rights

13.35. Section 4.4 briefly reviews a number of coastal resource management agencies'

experience with tradeable rights systems. In principle, markets based on private,

transferable property rights allow resources to be directed to the uses that are most

highly valued (Tasman Institute, Submission 478). Clearly defined individual rights

specify the rights and freedom of individuals to use specified resources. They also

provide individual users with the incentive to use resources efficiently.

13.36. Following its review of the use of tradeable rights in fisheries and water

management, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics

concluded,

There are many resources within the coastal zone to which a tradeable rights system of management could be applied. Tradeable rights could, for example, be defined for the use of areas of natural habitats, such as wetlands, where there is conflict between urban or agricultural development and conservation for the protection of the flora and fauna. Once the resource for which the rights are to be assigned and the nature of the individual rights are clearly defined, the user rights could be allocated via a tendering process, administrative discretion or a lottery system. For a large number of individuals—such as those who may be interested in conservation of a resource—to effectively participate in the initial allocation process, they may need to be represented by an organisation. (ABARE 1993c, p. 14)

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Economic and financial instruments 245

13.37. There are, however, both practical and in-principle considerations that limit

the potential of tradeable rights systems. It is not always feasible to assign ownership

of resources to private interests and create markets in which ownership rights are

traded: private ownership of some resources such as beaches and foreshores might be

totally unacceptable to the general community. In addition, the property for which the

rights are defined and the individual user rights both need to be clearly defined for a

tradeable rights system to work effectively, and this can also present considerable

difficulties.

13.38. In some circumstances the costs of enforcement and other administrative

difficulties may make it impractical to include all users of the resource in a tradeable

rights system. For example, where there are many recreational fishers along the

coastline the costs of enforcing individual catch quotas would be exorbitant, as might

be the costs of administering a trade in quotas between commercial and recreational

fishers. Where some users of the resource are not included in the tradeable rights

system, the total allowable use of the resource assigned to the users who can trade

rights would have to be reduce accordingly (ABARE 1993c).

13.39. Despite these qualifications, tradeable rights systems will play an increasing

role in coastal resource management and are currently being considered by

governments in a number of states, particularly in relation to water management.

Important initiatives include the recent proposal by the Victorian Government to

establish trading of rights between water authorities and the New South Wales

Environment Protection Authority's investigation of how tradeable discharge credits

could be applied to deal with the inter-relationships between point and non-point

sources of pollution. For example, in the Hawkesbury-Nepean catchment, where

non-point sources contribute significantly to nutrient loads, the Authority is

considering the possibility of extending tradeable credits to sources as a more efficient

way of lowering nutrient loads than requiring further upgrades to sewage treatment for

plants that are already at a high level of treatment.

13.40. Table 13.4 lists the main strengths and limitations of tradeable resource use

rights.

Other incentives

13.41. Performance bonds, deposit-refund schemes and subsidies are examples of

other incentive-based instruments that can be used by coastal resource managers to

achieve the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. Table 13.5 summarises

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246 Economic and financial instruments

the main strengths and limitations of performance bonds. Together with

non-compliance fees, they are potentially a very useful instrument for ensuring that

developers are accountable for the costs of environmental damage associated with their

activities, including the long-term costs.

Table 13.4 Tradeable resource use rights: strengths and limitations

Strengths Limitations

Remove the incentive to over-exploit resources

Owners of rights are able to organise their operations to maximise individual efficiency and profits

Provide individual holders of rights with security over resource use

Ensure that the resource is used by the most efficient operators

Costs of monitoring and surveillance can be recovered through levies on owners of rights

Can be used as a tool to reduce resource use and at the same time provide compensation to those forced to sell use rights

Monitoring and enforcement of rights are required so that owners of rights are confident that others cannot circumvent the system and thus diminish the value of their rights

In some cases enforcement may rely largely on the integrity of the owners of the rights

Resource sustainability is not guaranteed; for example, fishers may dump smaller or damaged fish to maximise the value of their catch

Rights can be enforced only for user groups that can be easily identified and assigned a share of a resource; inclusion of all users in the tradeable rights systems may not be possible

The resource and access to the resource must be well specified both geographically and biologically

Any increases or decreases in total allowable resource use can be equitably shared across all owners of use rights

Resource use may be diverted to other resources experiencing over-exploitation and over-capitalisation

Overall effectiveness depends on the certainty with which total allowable resource use can be defined

Source: Adapted from ABARE (1993c).

13.42. The effectiveness of performance bonds depends largely on the extent to

which they provide an incentive for resource users to comply with the bonds'

conditions and thus change their behaviour toward the use of resources; it also

depends on the ability of the management agency to enforce the conditions. In most

cases enforcement incentives operate as a mechanism of last resort and become active

only when direct regulation has failed. One of the case studies commissioned by the

Inquiry was into the use of performance bonds by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park

Authority; the bonds have been used four times since they were introduced in 1987

(ABARE 1993c, pp. 148-64).

13.43. Although performance bonds are increasingly common requirements of

development applications, especially for exploration and mining activities, they do have

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Strengths________________________________________________________ Limitations

Table 13.5 Performance bonds: strengths and limitations_____________________

Diminish the risk to governments and taxpayers of having to meet the costs of any required clean-up

May facilitate agreement to proceed with a development

Give the developer the incentive to rehabilitate a site from own funds using the most cost-effective techniques when the cost o f rehabilitation is likely to be less than the value of the performance bond, thereby entitling the developer to a refund of the bond

Encourage developers to consider the level of risk associated with their project and to take into account the likely cost of rehabilitation at an early stage of the project, thus encouraging them to choose the most efficient scale and type of operation

For developments with potential significant impacts, performance bonds are likely to be a more cost effective way of achieving the objective rather than legal action

Can be applied in many diverse situations in the coastal zone where compliance with specific operating conditions is necessary

Lack of information about the costs of rehabilitation may result in bonds being insufficient to cover costs where operators fail to meet their permit conditions

Need to clearly define the level of obligation of users with respect to rehabilitation of the site— it is usually difficult to assess whether adequate rehabilitation has taken place

Where uniform regulations are stipulated across sites, developers would be expected to rehabilitate a site to an average quality

Administrative costs may outweigh the benefits of using bonds for clearly defined works of a minor nature and works that do not have an impact outside the site

In the case of cash bonds, substantial liquid assets that could be used for other economically beneficial projects are locked away

Developers may face an increased risk of financial failure as a result of decreased operational and investment flexibility

Costs associated with legal action are generally not considered when determining bond values

Bonds need to be regularly reviewed to account for changes in the consumer price index and changes in the use of the site

Small operators with a high risk of financial failure are disadvantaged

Effectiveness depends on the management agency's ability to enforce the legal document that specifies the bond and associated rehabilitation conditions

Source: Adapted from Queensland Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning (1993a), ABARE (1993c, pp. 148-64).

o lie and financial instruments 247

248 Economic and financial instruments

limitations. One major difficulty is determining the size of the bond required. For

example, in the aforementioned case study bonds have proved useful, but a lack of

knowledge about the costs of rehabilitation has caused difficulties in ensuring that they

are sufficient to cover the costs of clean-up and removal of unwanted material from

sites.

13.44. According to the Industry Commission, determining the value of the bond on

the basis of the most probable value of rehabilitation costs is inadequate because it

ignores the non-market values associated with resource conservation and the small but

real possibility of catastrophic outcomes. Providing for catastrophic outcomes could

significantly increase the amount of bond required and groups with differing attitudes

to risk—for example, miners and conservationists—would have considerable problems

agreeing on the scenarios to be considered and the likelihood of their occurrence.

Similarly, estimating non-market values can be very difficult. These limitations may

mean that performance bonds are best used in association with other incentive and

regulatory mechanisms (Industry Commission 1993b).

13.45. Some commentators are critical of the effect of performance bonds on

development costs, the administrative tasks they impose on government authorities,

and the fact that they lock up substantial liquid assets that might otherwise be applied

to purposes that are economically more beneficial. In view of this, a number of local

governments in Queensland are replacing performance bonds with simpler

non-monetary assurance measures, despite the higher risks these measures can entail

(Queensland Department of Housing, Local Government and Planning 1993a).

13.46. In the Inquiry's view performance bonds are a properly attributable cost of

development; where lodgment of a bond facilitates agreement to proceed with

development it also benefits the developer. Alternative non-monetary measures, such

as access restriction strips to road frontages and withholding plan approval, are best

applied only where the development application involves clearly defined works that are

minor in nature and are unlikely to have any significant off-site impacts.

13.5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

13.47. Greater use of economic and financial instruments can help reduce

over-exploitation of coastal zone resources and ensure that future resource uses meet

the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. Correctly applied, such

instruments enable the recovery of costs associated with resource uses, encouraging

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Economic and financial instruments 249

more efficient uses of those resources and providing incentives to minimise the cost of complying with standards for the use of resources.

13.48. Improving the management of water and wastes that are discharged into rivers

and other water bodies is one of the most important challenges facing coastal zone

managers. Inefficient uses of water must be discouraged and the use of more efficient

waste disposal mechanisms must be encouraged.

R.42 The Inquiry recommends that

state governments require all authorities responsible for the supply of water and the disposal of water and other wastes to take urgent steps to introduce charges that reflect the costs of supplying these services.

13.49. The use of emission permit trading should be extended to encourage

reductions in the discharge of wastes, particularly into river systems and the ocean.

R.43 The Inquiry recommends that

state governments take urgent steps to facilitate the use of tradeable permit systems designed to encourage resource users to meet water quality criteria.

13.50. The general principle of user-pays should not be limited to water and waste

disposal: it should be adopted for all resource use activities in the coastal zone,

although there will be circumstances in which modifications will be necessary in the

interests of equity and efficiency. The application of user charges (such as national

park fees, camping fees and car parking charges) designed to cover the costs of

management and provision of facilities in the coastal zone should be extended.

R.44 The Inquiry recommends that

all government agencies responsible for coastal zone resources review existing charges with a view to recovering costs from users;

charges be applied to limit resource uses in areas where those uses have adverse environmental consequences;

concessional charges or exemptions be applied to lower income groups to ensure that they continue to have access to such areas.

13.51. As a general principle, developers should contribute to the cost of extensions

to physical and social infrastructure necessary to meet demands arising from the

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250 Economic and financial instruments

development, and they should contribute to the continuing cost of monitoring and

managing environmental impacts arising from the development

R.45 The Inquiry recommends that

developer contributions be required to ensure that the full, identifiable social, ecological and economic costs arising from new developments in the coastal zone are met by the developers and thus included in the

calculations of financial and economic returns before investment is undertaken;

the identification and funding by governments of costs associated with social or community service obligations be undertaken on a case-by-case basis;

the proceeds of developer contributions be distributed to agencies that meet the costs associated with each development.

13.52. Relevant agencies in all spheres of government must have funds available to

remedy environmental damage arising from development that fails to comply with

approved conditions, and to provide incentives for improved environmental

performance generally.

R.46 The Inquiry recommends that

the use of performance bonds be extended to all new development projects in the coastal zone, unless equally effective alternative enforcement measures can be demonstrated to exist.

13.53. In recent years some governments have introduced specific levies to help

finance resource management. Such levies have the potential to generate considerable

revenue to assist in funding the National Coastal Action Program, but the community

must be able to have confidence that the levies are fair and necessary and are applied

only to the use for which they were introduced.

R.47 The Inquiry recommends that

specific levies be used to help finance coastal zone management, provided that the measures are shown to be necessary for resource management purposes, that the revenue generated is set aside for these purposes, and that arrangements are fully transparent to the community.

13.54. Another funding option is an accommodation tax on visitors to the coastal

zone. The administrative costs associated with implementing such a tax would

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Economic and financial instruments 251

probably be minimal because of existing tax collection arrangements, and revenue

could potentially be allocated to areas of greatest need or importance.

R.48 The Inquiry recommends that

state governments introduce a tax on accommodation charges in the coastal zone;

stale governments levy the tax throughout the coastal zone within their jurisdiction using existing tax collection arrangements;

stale governments distribute the revenue obtained to state agencies and local government authorities on a competitive basis, such agencies and authorities being required to submit expenditure proposals according to criteria designed to achieve agreed coastal zone management objectives,

particularly those related to resources used for tourism purposes.

13.55. As part of the National Coastal Action Program, there is a need for increasing

awareness among government agencies and the general public of the potential benefits

of economic instruments.

R.49 The Inquiry recommends that

the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Energy and state coastal coordinating committees and other relevant agencies, initiate pilot programs in which specific economic and financial instruments appropriate

to coastal zone management are further researched, designed, implemented and promoted.

13.56. Recent Industry Commission reports on various industries operating in the

coastal zone have raised questions about the undesirable environmental impacts of

those industries but have not considered them in detail. These matters should be

further investigated to ensure that the consequences of current policies are fully

understood.

R.50 The Inquiry recommends that

the Bureau of Resource Sciences, the Bureau of Industry Economics and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics examine the following matters:

- the environmental implications of government policies and programs pertaining to industries operating in the coastal zone;

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252 Economic and financial instruments

- the means of ensuring that such implications are taken into account when government policies and programs are developed;

- impediments in current economic and industry policies and programs to the attainment of the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program;

- ways in which current economic and industry policies and programs can be modified, so that they are consistent with attainment of the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 14 RESEARCH AND INFORMATION

14.01. There are serious deficiencies in the knowledge available for management of

coastal resources, and there are deficiencies in the arrangements for access by coastal

resource managers to the information they need. These deficiencies must be remedied

if coastal zone resources are to be effectively and efficiently managed. Relevant

information about the nature of the resources, their uses and the effects of those uses

must be available to all who are responsible for management.

14.02. An integrated and strategic approach to the management of coastal resources

requires that managers and stakeholders involved in management have access to

diverse types of information, including social, cultural, economic, ecological,

biophysical and geophysical information. The National Coastal Action Program

requires research and information arrangements that will

• provide ready access to existing information and research relevant to coastal

resource management, through a coordinated system of databases and

information-exchange networks at the local, state and national levels;

• provide baseline data on the social, cultural, economic, ecological, biophysical

and geophysical aspects of the coastal zone at an appropriate scale, thus

contributing to monitoring and evaluating the impacts of change on a local basis;

• identify gaps in current research knowledge, including baseline monitoring and

inventory data, and establish priorities for the conduct of further research, with

particular emphasis on research that is multidisciplinary and of direct relevance to

the needs of coastal zone managers.

14.03. Section 14.1 reviews current research into coastal zone issues. Section 14.2

considers the need for further research and coordination of research activities to

achieve the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. Section 14.3 reviews

existing information systems and Section 14.4 canvasses the need for improvements in

these systems. Conclusions are reached and recommendations made in Section 14.5.

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256 Research and information

14.1 CURRENT RESEARCH

14.04. Various types of research are relevant to the management of coastal zone

resources. Basic research into coastal processes provides the foundation for

understanding the nature of the resources and the effects of their uses; applied

research can help in the development of procedures and mechanisms for management;

and surveys, inventories and data collections provide information for management

activities, including monitoring of conditions and changes that occur as a consequence

of management initiatives and the development and use of resources.

14.05. A number of institutes, universities, government agencies and private sector

organisations conduct research into coastal zone resource issues. The Commonwealth

Government provides the largest proportion of funds for this research. Figure 14.1

shows Commonwealth expenditure on coastal research in 1991-92. Box 14.1

summarises the research programs of Commonwealth agencies.

14.06. State governments conduct or sponsor research in areas related to their

coastal management responsibilities, particularly fisheries (including mariculture),

water resources and environmental management (HOMA 1993). They also sponsor

research into tourism. Summaries of state expenditures on coastal research are not

available, but Box 14.2 provides some examples of research conducted by state

agencies. The Victorian Government also provides funds for the core managerial and

entrepreneurial functions of the Victorian Institute of Marine Sciences, an independent

organisation that conducts applied research in collaboration with industry, the public

sector and universities. The bulk of the Institute's funding comes from competitively

awarded research grants, contracts, and fees for services.

14.07. University research into coastal and marine matters is carried out in a range of

disciplines; funding is provided through grants from the Australian Research Council

and from other sources available to universities, including research grants and

consultancies commissioned by both the public and the private sector. In 1992,

$8.2 million, or 4.4 per cent of total Australian Research Council disbursements, was

directed to research into coastal and marine issues (see Table 14.1).

14.08. In recent years multidisciplinary centres for the study of coastal and marine

resources and coastal management have been established at a number of universities.

The Cooperative Research Centre Scheme has facilitated the establishment of these

centres; participants come from both government agencies and the private sector.

Table 14.2 provides information about cooperative research centres that carry out

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Research and information 257

research related to coastal zone management, including the extent of Commonwealth

funding.

Figure 14.1 Marine and coastal research and survey expenditure by Commonwealth agencies, 1991-92

Total $123.2m

Hydrographic Service Royal Australian Navy 27%

Australian Institute of Marine Sciences 9%

Australian Geological Survey Organisation 17%

CSIRO 16%

Department of Primary Industries and Energy 16%

Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories 4%

Notes: 'Other' includes the Australian Research Council, cooperative research centres, the Resource Assessment Commission and the Environmental Technology Grants administered by the Industry Research and Development Board. The estimate for the Australian Institute of Marine Science excludes $4.7 million for

corporate; services and depreciation. The estimate for the Department of Primary Industries and Energy is mainly expenditure by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, including industry levy contributions.

Sources: Resource Assessment Commission survey of Commonwealth funding, GBRMPA (1992a), Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (1992), Australian Institute of Marine Science (1992).

14.09. During the 1980s the Marine Science and Technology Grants Scheme,

administered by the Australian Marine Science and Technology Advisory Committee,

provided an important mechanism for coordinating research in marine science (HOMA

1993). In 1987 the Scheme was absorbed into the Australian Research Council, which

established marine science as a priority area for research funding until 1990;

subsequent requests for grants have been dealt with as part of general research funding

for academic institutions. These changes have caused some concern among members

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258 Research and information

Box 14.1 Coast-related research funded by the Commonwealth: major programs

c s ra o The CSIRO began a Coastal Zone Research Program in 1992-93, consisting of six projects examining land use and water quality, in-stream processes, estuarine mixing models, sediments,

marine eutrophication, and the Coastal and Marine Resources Information System (CAMRIS). Funding for the Program in 1991-92 was $1,005 million from CSIRO and $670 000 from external sources. Other research relevant to the coastal zone is the work of the CSIRO's Division of Fisheries, with estimated expenditure of $15 million in 1991-92, and work within the Division of Oceanography, with relevant expenditure in 1991-92 of $2.5 million.

Australian Institute of Marine Science The Australian Institute of Marine Science conducts four main programs of research: coastal processes and resources; coral reef ecosystems; environmental studies and biotechnology; and tropical oceanography. Examples of research within the main programs are mangrove forest resources, riverine inputs to the coastal zone, anthropogenic influences on coral reefs, carbon flows in reef systems, marine photobiology, fisheries oceanography, and numerical modelling of processes in

tropical marine systems. The Institute's total operating expenditure in 1991-92 was $16 million.

Australian Geological Survey Organisation The Australian Geological Survey Organisation conducts geoscientific research in support of mineral and petroleum exploration, including the collection of baseline data. The main coastal programs in 1991-92 were marine geoscience and petroleum geology ($20.5 million, all offshore) and geological

environment and resources of the coastal zone ($170 000).

Royal Australian Navy (RAN) The RAN Hydrographic Service conducts hydrographic surveys to enable the construction and publication of charts for marine navigation, and holds a large database of coastal information. The

Australian Oceanographic Data Centre, part of the RAN Maritime Headquarters, is responsible for management and exchange of data concerning the physical properties of the oceans covering the area of Australia's interest. Total expenditure for both in 1991-92 was $33 million.

Fisheries Research and Development Corporation New research and development projects supported by the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation in 1991-92, totalled $7.5 million; some of this funding is provided through an industry levy. The general priority areas for research and development in the live years from 1991-92 include fish resource assessment, advancement of fisheries science, environmental changes, aquaculture, fish diseases, post-harvest technology, economic assessment, marketing and value adding.

Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority In 1991-92 expenditure on research and monitoring by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority was $3,374 million. Among the research projects were studies of the crown-of-thoms starfish, a study on inter-reef fish movements, and reef water quality studies, including the downstream effects of agricultural practices. The Commonwealth Government provided $508 080 in 1991-92 for coordination of the Torres Strait baseline scientific program.

Other agencies and programs The Ocean Rescue 2000 program, administered by the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, is funding the preparation of the 'state of the marine environment' report and research by

state governments into the identification of marine and protected areas. The Department also funds research into the impacts of climate change, and into the Antarctic and Southern Ocean. Other agencies with some involvement in coast-related research are the Bureau of Tourism Research, the Land and Water Resources Research and Development Corporation, the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics, the Australian Heritage Commission, the Australian Bureau of Statistics, the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, the Bureau of Resource Sciences, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service, the Industry Research and Development Board, the Bureau of Meteorology and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Sources: Resource Assessment Commission survey of Commonwealth funding, CSIRO (1993), Australian Institute of Marine Science (1992), Australian Geological Survey Organisation (Submission 349), Fisheries Research and Development Corporation (1992), GBRMPA ________(1992a),

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Research and information 259

Box 14.2 Coast-related research by state agencies: some examples

Victoria The Port Phillip Bay Environmental Study is a program managed by the CSIRO for a consortium of Victorian government agencies—Melbourne Water, the Environment Protection Authority, the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, and the Port of Melbourne Authority. Funding

of $11.1 million over four years is provided by Melbourne Water. The focus of the research is on measuring the nutrient and toxicant inputs to Port Phillip Bay.

In conjunction with the Rural Water Commission and the Department of Agriculture, the Environment Protection Authority is examining the aquatic invertebrate communities present in Victorian streams, lakes and wetlands in an attempt to provide a basis for dealing with the problem of increasing salinity levels, due in part to agricultural drainage systems. The cost of the program is

estimated to be $50 000.

New South Wales The Sydney Environmental Monitoring Program, conducted by the Environment Protection Authority, is assessing the environmental impacts of sewage disposal through the New South Wales Water Board's deep-water outfalls at North Head, Bondi and Malabar. The 1993-94 budget

allocation for the Program is $3.48 million. The Water Board is also conducting a study into its deep-water outfalls in order to develop a model to be able to predict the spread and distribution of toxic blooms from the outfalls. The study examines the biology of mussels and affected sediment. The budget allocation for the research project in 1993-94 is $958 000.

Queensland The Queensland Beach Protection Authority conducts a sand dune stabilisation and management research program at its sand dune research station on South Stradbroke Island. The 1993-94 budget

allocation for the program is $160 327.

The Trinity Inlet Management Program, coordinated by the Queensland Government and local government agencies, encourages research into estuarine processes and their management. Projects include water quality monitoring and continuing research into the aquatic system of the area. The budget allocation for the research program in 1992-93 was $25 000.

Western Australia The Metropolitan Water Study, being conducted by the Water Authority of Western Australia and the Environmental Protection Authority, assesses the environmental acceptability of progressive increases

in nutrient loads discharged into the sea in treated waste water. The four-year $1.97 million Study involves detailed marine investigations extending from Alkimos to Mandurah.

Tasmania In conjunction with the Museum of Tasmania, the Government of Tasmania is conducting a study of introduced marine invertebrates, particularly the northern Pacific seastar, Asteria amurensis, and their potential impacts on the Tasmanian shellfish industry, wild fisheries and the marine environment in general. The budget allocation for 1992-93 was $178 000.

A shellfish sanitation program, conducted by the Tasmanian Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries and the Department of Health, is researching toxic levels recorded in shellfish destined for human consumption. The budget allocation for 1992-93 was $126 000.

South Australia The Environment Protection Authority is carrying out long-term research into the effects of the Era oil spill, which occurred in Spencer Gulf in August 1992. The cost of the study is $120 000, with $45 000 being financed by contributions from industry. The South Australian Research and

Development Institute is conducting research into a range of topics relating to coastal environmental issues, aquaculture and wild fisheries.

Source: State government agencies.__________________________________________________ _______

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

260 Research and information

of the marine research community because many consider that there is no longer an

avenue for promoting a multidisciplinary approach to marine issues (HOMA 1993).

Table 14.1 Australian Research Council grants focusing on coastal zone issues, by type of _________ grant, 1992__________________________________________________________

Percentage of

Type of grant Total ($) research grants

Research grants Engineering and applied sciences I 17 497 0.2

Social sciences 18 700 0.3

Humanities 43 950 0.6

Chemical sciences 212 500 3.0

Molecular approaches to management of biological 382 600 5.5

resources Engineering and applied sciences 11 428 200 6.2

Molecular biology and cell metabolism 553 800 8.0

Marine sciences and technology 1 396 500 20.1

Animal and plant biology 1 716 421 24.7

Earth sciences 2 183 201 31.4

Total research grants 6 953 369 100.0

Collaborative grants 45 100

Fellowships 160 880

Research infrastructure grants 685 000

Special research centres and key centres 419 755

Total 8 264 104

. . Not applicable. Source: Australian Research Council (1992a, 1992b).

14.10. Industries, particularly larger companies and industry associations, directly

and indirecdy sponsor a large amount of research into coastal zone matters. One way

they do this is through funding of research carried out by government agencies; for

example, the fishing industry contributes 25 per cent of funding for the Fisheries

Research and Development Corporation. There is also extensive industry participation

in some cooperative research centres relevant to coastal issues, such as the recently

established Reef Research Centre in Townsville. An example of direct involvement is

the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association's recent sponsorship of an

independent scientific review of the environmental effects of the offshore petroleum

industry (Independent Scientific Review Committee 1993). Some environmental

impact assessments include wide-ranging research into the impacts of particular

projects; for example, as part of its onshore environmental impact assessment of the

Burrup Peninsula for the North West Shelf Gas Project, Woodside Petroleum

conducted a major survey of Aboriginal archaeological sites in the area

(Submission 341).

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Research and information 261

Table 14.2 Cooperative research centres relevant to the coastal zone

Annual C'wealth funding for initial contract

Co-operative research period (7 years)

centre Core participants ($ million)

CRC for Aquaculture University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Department of Primary Industries Queensland, Department of Primary Industry, Fisheries and Energy Tasmania, NSW Department of Fisheries, James Cook University, University of

Technology Sydney, Australian Institute of Marine Science, SALTAS Tasmania, Department of Industry and Fisheries NT, Darwin Pearl Shell Hatchery, Mossman Central Mill, University of Central

Queensland, NT University, SA Research and Development Institute

CRC for Ecologically Sustainable Development of the Great Barrier Reef

Association of Marine Park Tourism Operators, Australian Institute of Marine Science, Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, James Cook University, Queensland Department of Primary Industries

CRC for Freshwater University of Canberra, Monash University, ACT Ecology Government, Albury-Wodonga Development Corporation, CSIRO, Melbourne Water, Murray-Darling Basin Commission, NSW Fisheries,

Murray-Darling Freshwater Research Centre

CRC for Southern Monash University, Bureau of Meteorology Research Hemisphere Centre, CSIRO, Cray Research (AusL) Meteorology

CRC for Tropical Rainforest Ecology and Management

James Cook University, Griffith University, CSIRO Tropical Forest Research Centre, Wet Tropics Management Authority

CRC for Waste University of NSW, University of Western Sydney, Management and CSIRO, ANSTO, BHP, ICI Aust. Operations, Pollution Control Australian Defence Industries Ltd, Water Board (Sydney, Blue Mts, Ulawarra), NSW Environment

Protection Authority, NSW Public Works Department, NS W Department of Water Resources, Brambles Aust Ltd

2.2

2.0

2.0

1.5

2.0

2.0

CRC for Soil and CSIRO, SA Department of Agriculture, University of Land Management Adelaide

CRC for Catchment Hydrology CSIRO, University of Melbourne, Monash University, Rural Water Commission of Victoria, Department of

Conservation and Environment Victoria, Melbourne Water, Murray-Darling Basin Commission, Bureau of Meteorology

CRC for the Antarctic University of Tasmania, CSIRO, Australian Antarctic and Southern Ocean Division, Bureau of Meteorology, Bureau of Mineral Environment Resources, Geology and Geophysics

2.4

2.8

2.0

Source: Office of the Chief Scientist (1992),

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262 Research and information

14.11. Local authorities sponsor research relating to many local issues. In a survey

of a sample of coastal councils conducted by the Inquiry, most councils said they had

undertaken research relevant to coastal resource management in recent years.

Research topics included flood problems, local tourism, coastal processes, vegetation,

wetlands, sand replenishment, soils, water quality, environmental impact statements,

and management and strategic plans (RAC 1993e). Shoalhaven City Council has a

research and information program that has been used in the development of regional

tourism strategies (see Box 14.3).

14.12. Conservation and community groups also contribute to research into coastal

zone management issues. The Total Environment Centre of New South Wales has

sponsored a series of studies on the environmental effects of aquaculture; the studies

were funded partially by the National Estate Grants Program (Submission 585). Surf

Lifesaving Australia and the Coastal Studies Unit of the University of Sydney have

been involved in a comprehensive study of beach safety and related management issues

(Surf Life Saving Australia, Submission 460).

Box 14.3 Shoalhaven City Council: research and information for financing tourism infrastructure

Between 1980 and 1985 Shoalhaven City Council conducted extensive research in order to upgrade its caravan parks and develop a caravan park strategy. The areas of research included management review, site types and acquisition policies (freehold and leasehold), market segmentation and trends, caravan park operations, and use of fees and marketing approaches. On the basis of this research the Council has a continuing program for the development and maintenance of its caravan parks and associated facilities. It uses the profits from these operations to upgrade its parks and facilities, to provide funding for the maintenance and improvement of Crown and council reserves, and to provide leadership, by example, in the provision of caravan park facilities.

The strategy has enabled the Council to improve the quality of infrastructure in parks and reserves in its jurisdiction without having to raise funds from the local community. The Council has also been able to improve the quality of accommodation for tourism in the local area, again without cost to local ratepayers. To ensure that the requirements of current and future tourists are met and that the caravan park strategy remains successful, the Council intends to continue tourism research in the following areas: market requirements, regional market segmentation, status of current facilities, effectiveness of advertising, current tourism trends, and profitability of caravan parks._____________

14.2 RESEARCH ISSUES

14.13. Evidence available to the Inquiry suggests that, although existing knowledge

is sufficient to manage some aspects of coastal zone resources, it is seriously

inadequate to deal with many others. The Inquiry has identified the following coastal

zone issues as priorities for further research:

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Research and information 263

• impacts and management of non-point sources of pollution including agricultural

and urban stormwater run-off;

• social and economic impacts of urban development;

• criteria for determining the adequacy of marine and terrestrial conservation

reserves;

• studies of the cumulative environmental impacts of development;

• coastal ecosystems, habitats and species, including the ecology of seagrasses,

mangroves, sandy beaches, mudflats and salt marshes;

• natural physical processes operating in the coastal zone, including the action of

waves and currents on the physical features of the zone;

• assessment of the hazards of both natural variability (for example, storm surges)

and greenhouse-induced changes in the coastal zone.

14.14. Mariculture was identified as an industry for which research is inadequate,

particularly in relation to the environmental impacts of production. Examples of

specific issues requiring further investigation are the environmental impacts of

intensive production of salmon, actions required to prevent undesirable impacts on

mariculture from other resource use activities, and the effects of exotic species and

bacteria such as toxic dinoflagellates. Research into production and economic issues

associated with mariculture is also required (see Appendix A).

14.15. In the tourism industry there are many examples of research contributing to

the formulation of management approaches; for example, the use of international and

interstate market research in developing strategies. There is, however, considerable

scope for further research, particularly at regional and local levels. Among the issues

warranting research are inventories of special features (especially in relation to cultural

tourism and ecotourism), the ecological, economic, social and cultural impacts

(including cumulative impacts) of tourism development in specific areas and at specific

sites, and the development of tourism practices that are consistent with ecologically

sustainable development.

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264 Research and information

Coordinating research

14.16. If research programs are to be effective and efficient, they must be well

coordinated. Coordination is needed to ensure that research funding is directed at

appropriate areas and that there is no duplication of research efforts. In the case of

coastal and marine research, several bodies have coordinating responsibilities: the

Australian Research Council, the Land and Water Resources Research and

Development Corporation, the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, and

the National Greenhouse Advisory Committee. The Commonwealth Government has

declined to implement previous recommendations to establish formal national

mechanisms for coordination of marine science and technology (HOMA 1993). At

present an informal group, the Consultative Group on Marine Industries, Science and

Technology, established by the Heads of (Commonwealth) Marine Agencies and the

Department of Industry, Technology and Commerce, provides a coordinating

mechanism for marine research. The main focus of this Group is the contribution of

marine science and technology to marine industry development; there is no body that

focuses on overall research needs for coastal resource management.

14.17. Work currently being sponsored or undertaken by the Land and Water

Resources Research and Development Corporation, the CSIRO, the Australian

Institute of Marine Science and the cooperative research centres reflects a positive

trend towards collaborative research that is multidisciplinary and seeks to satisfy the

needs and priorities of resource managers. In addition to ensuring that duplication of

effort is avoided, such collaboration encourages closer working relationships between

researchers and managers. It can also encourage the development of holistic,

multidisciplinary approaches to natural resource management that recognise the role of

human values and behaviour. The importance of multidisciplinary research involving

both the social and natural sciences needs greater emphasis, particularly because

traditional ways of funding research have tended to reinforce rigid disciplinary

boundaries (ASTEC 1990).

14.18. Current arrangements for coastal zone research are dispersed among a number

of Commonwealth and state agencies, universities and other organisations; the extent

of coordination should be strengthened. Structural changes needed to provide a

stronger national focus on fisheries and marine science in Australia have recently been

reviewed (McKinnon 1993); a broader review of the research arrangements and

priorities for coastal resource management acknowledging the importance of links

between terrestrial and marine processes is also necessary.

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___________________________________________________________Research and information 265

Applied research and monitoring

14.19. There is a need for greater attention to a number of aspects of applied

research, including monitoring and resource inventories, that have traditionally been

viewed as less prestigious than basic research (Calder 1992). Resource inventories

and monitoring studies should be viewed as an integral part of the research effort

relevant to important management questions:

All too often monitoring is perceived simply as measures to detect change in the abundance or condition of individual resources from some (often arbitrary) baseline value. Little thought is given to what the changes, if detected, may mean in terms of ecosystem response and what adjustments

in management, or in the management model, may be needed. (Kessler et al. 1992, p. 225)

14.20. A number of factors have contributed to a serious lack of long-term

environmental research and monitoring in Australia, among them: the constraints of

competitive granting schemes, trends towards cost recovery, annual budget cycles,

and political pressures for quick solutions to high-profile problems (ASTEC 1990).

14.21. Long-term monitoring data are necessary not only for ecosystem management

but also for the cost-efficient design of coastal infrastructure. It has been shown that

an investment in collecting long-term data can generate substantial savings in the

design and construction phases of projects. Good quality data can improve the quality

of risk assessments and thereby reduce the risk of costly design failures or, conversely,

minimise the over-investment of funds in over-designed infrastructure (Institution of

Engineers Australia 1993).

14.22. Governments should take primary responsibility for ensuring the adequacy of

resource inventories and long-term monitoring activities, although private developers

who use this information should contribute to its cost. Adequate funding for resource

inventories and long-term monitoring data will be particularly important in view of its

essential role in state of the environment reporting, which is now a priority for all

spheres of government

14.3 EXISTING INFORMATION SYSTEMS

14.23. Commonwealth and state government agencies, universities, other research

organisations and the private sector have many data sets describing various aspects of

coastal resources. A number of existing information services make available data

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266 Research and information

relevant to natural resource management. For example, the National Resources

Information Centre, attached to the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries

and Energy, maintains a National Directory of Australian Resources that documents

data sets on soils, geology and land resource assessment and facilitates the exchange

of information between the Commonwealth and the states. The Centre is also

developing the Australian Coastal and Marine Information System, covering those

aspects of the marine and coastal environment for which the Department has

responsibility.

14.24. As part of its Coastal Zone Program, the CSIRO is developing the Coastal

and Marine Resources Information System (CAMRIS), which is intended to support

decision making about resource allocation in the coastal zone. This continental-scale

system contains spatially referenced data on soils and sediments, seagrass distribution,

onshore resources, climate and population; further data will be obtained through

collaboration with CSIRO divisions and other external agencies.

14.25. The Environmental Resources Information Network, within the

Commonwealth Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, is an

information system that provides access to a variety of biological and environmental

information such as flora and fauna distributions (including endangered species) and

the location of conservation reserves. The Network is based on a collaborative

approach involving the research community, universities, state agencies and

conservation groups. It has collaborated to some extent with local government in

developing information systems for local use; currently it is involved in a joint project

with Shoalhaven City Council. The Network is also responsible for developing the

National Marine Information System, a component of the Ocean Rescue 2000

initiative that aims to provide information about marine environmental regions, marine

conservation reserves, and marine biodiversity and to develop a capacity for long-term

monitoring and reporting of the condition of Australia's marine environment.

14.26. In 1992 the CSIRO prepared a report for the Environmental Resources

Information Network, detailing strategic options for the development of the National

Marine Information System. The report noted the many gaps in existing data and the

need for a national and collaborative approach to make existing data accessible, to

establish priorities for developing new data sets, and to develop national standards for

marine data collection (CSIRO 1992). The Network has now embarked on a

collaborative project with the CSIRO to implement the report's recommendations, but

limited funding has slowed progress.

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Research and information 267

14.27. State governments use computerised information systems, including spatial

information systems, to facilitate many of their management activities. Many larger

local government authorities also use information systems and are developing them for

purposes such as management of pollution and waste disposal.

14.28. The Commonwealth and the states are collaborating in the provision of some

resource management information. An example is the major information-gathering

and research study supported by the Commonwealth and Queensland Governments:

the Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy (see Box 14.4). Another example is the

Oil Spill Coastal Resource Atlases being prepared by state governments with funding

from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The primary purpose of these atlases

is to identify the distribution of ecological and infrastructure resources along the

coastline and to classify them according to sensitivity to oil in the event of an oil spill

(CSIRO 1992). The atlases, which are at various stages of completion, have broader

relevance as a source of coastal resource information. Each state, however, has

adopted a different approach to the design of its atlas and this limits the adases'

usefulness in providing standardised, national information about coastal resources.

14.29. Community-based groups such as Greening Australia are developing

computerised systems for recording and presenting information about the local

environment. An example of an innovative local information system is the 'telecentre'

established by a community organisation in Eurobodalla Shire, with seed funding from

the Commonwealth Department of Primary Industries and Energy. This project entails

the production of a computerised map for the Shire, to aid in assessing the condition

of wetlands, estuaries and coastal catchments and the impacts of activities such as

aquaculture, tourism, urban development, forestry and agriculture.

14.30. Another important aspect of the provision of information for coastal resource

management is the role of networks and services that facilitate dissemination and

exchange of information within and between spheres of government, and among

managers, researchers, industry and community groups. The results of an Inquiry

survey show that currently these groups communicate mainly among

themselves—local councils with local councils, state agencies with state agencies, and

so on (Brown & Burke 1993). Such patterns of communication are not conducive to

developing a more integrated approach to coastal zone management One recent

initiative to help overcome this is the Local Government Environmental Information

Exchange Scheme, a pilot program funded by the Department of the Environment,

Sport and Territories; the Scheme aims to meet the identified environmental

information needs of local government by developing an infrastructure for information

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268 Research and information

exchange between local governments, associated professional groups and state and

Commonwealth governments. Two components of the Scheme, begun in October

1992, are CouncilNet and the provision of environmental resource officers.

CouncilNet is an electronic mail and conference system that links local governments.

Environmental resource officers are currently established in the offices of some state

local government associations. The Scheme obtains supporting information from the

Environmental Information and Support Service for local government at the

Australian National University.

Box 14.4 Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy

The Cape York Peninsula Land Use Strategy, initiated by the Queensland and Commonwealth Governments, aims to develop a framework for decision making on land use and resource management on Cape York Peninsula, based on the objectives of ecologically sustainable development and increased community involvement. Among the interest groups being consulted are

the Cape York Land Council, the Torres Strait Island Coordinating Council, the Aboriginal Coordinating Council, Cook Shire Council, Aurukun Shire Council, the Cape York Peninsula Development Association, the Cape York Peninsula Pastoral Advisory Group and the Cairns and Far

North Environment Centre.

In February 1993 a workshop attended by residents and representatives of shire councils, Aboriginal and Islander communities and government agencies developed a list of information needs. In April government agencies and representatives of the interest groups discussed the best program for

gathering the required information. They decided that community-based working groups should be formed. An ecologically sustainable development quality control group was established to coordinate the program and an Aboriginal and Islander interest group was established to deal with indigenous interests. In July the groups met to report on the progress of their research projects.

A wide spectrum of information is being sought within the general categories of 'nature', 'people' and 'land'. Specific data are being collected on, for example, the flora and fauna, geological and climatic processes, and the various ecosystems of the region. Social issues under investigation include identification of cultural and heritage sites, demographic statistics, analysis of community values and attitudes, and existing management and legislative mechanisms. Among the land issues are current land use, land tenure, coastal access, industries involved in the region (for example, fishing, timber

and pastoral industries), national park and conservation management, and land and sea management by indigenous people.

Source: Holden (1992).__________________________________________________________ ______

14.31. The Marine and Coastal Community Network was announced in the Prime

Minister's 1992 Environment Statement. The aim of the Network, which is a

component of the Ocean Rescue 2000 initiative, is 'to encourage and facilitate

community support for the conservation and ecologically sustainable use of Australia's

marine and coastal environments' (MCCN 1993, p. 1). The Network is coordinated

by the Australian Littoral Society and has a national coordinator and several regional

coordinators.

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Research and information 269

14.4 IMPROVING INFORMATION SYSTEMS

14.32. If governments, industry and the community are to make better use of the

considerable body of information about coastal zone resources and management that is

already in existence and that will be added to by continuing research, the information

needs to be readily accessible to all who need it. There is widespread agreement on

the need for augmentation of existing information systems and better coordination to

improve access to them.

Adequacy of information

14.33. Many Inquiry participants commented on the lack of information available to

assist in the management of coastal zone resources. For example, the Chamber of

Commerce and Industry of Western Australia commented, 'The data bases on coastal

resources, their existing uses, the present and historical returns to the community, and

the developing competing demands, are inadequate and must be improved for rational

decision-making and appropriate management' (Submission 558, p. 5). A

representative of the Conservation Council of Western Australia stated,

We think the reasons for the poor management are basically that the State does not have a good knowledge of the coastal resource. We do not have a good idea of what ecological systems are there, where the major fish breeding grounds are, where the migratory wading birds feed and where

rare flora and fauna are found. We have an inadequate reserve system and an inadequate resource inventory. This is basically because inadequate funding has been put into this area, so we do not have a resource inventory of the coastal zone which is adequate as a basis for planning.

(Transcript, p. 666)

14.34. The Inquiry commissioned a survey of research and information providers and

users; the results showed that the most important types of information required for

management relate to ecosystems, habitats and species; environmental impact

assessment; the condition of rivers, estuaries and oceans; recreation and tourism; and

community priorities for coastal areas (see Table 14.3). These ratings were relatively

consistent across various users and providers of information—state and local

governments, conservation groups, industry and university researchers—although staff

of local government gave a particularly high rating to information about strategic plans

(Brown & Burke 1993). Most respondents said they need information of this kind at a

local or regional scale.

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Research and information 271

14.36. Problems of access and availability were also highlighted in the results of the

survey of research and information needs that the Inquiry commissioned (Brown &

Burke 1993). Of the 28 types of information considered relevant to coastal resource

management, respondents rated the availability of 23 types as being less than

satisfactory (see Table 14.4). Approximately half of the respondents' written

comments referred to problems with access to existing information. Among the

specific problems commonly referred to were not knowing what information exists or

how to gain access to it, not knowing what agencies are responsible for collection of

particular information, lack of information services that integrate the diverse sources

of information, and 'information overload', resulting in difficulties in sorting relevant

from irrelevant information. A further problem lies in obtaining access to literature

such as internal government reports, dissertations and environmental impact

statements that are not published.

14.37. Although there are systems that have the potential to provide information to

assist in achieving integrated management of coastal zone resources, a good deal of

the existing information is not available in a manner, and at a scale, appropriate to the

needs of local managers. Much more emphasis should be given to the development in

all spheres of government of systems and services relevant to, and accessible to, users

at the local and regional levels. Initiatives are required to ensure that the information

infrastructure (networks, databases and information services) develops in a

complementary way at all levels of government An important objective should be to

'build up a regional information infrastructure... which is public domain, agenda

neutral, department neutral, so that if people want to draw conclusions, argue the

various things that should be done, they are starting off with the same data ...'

(Transcript, p. 1555).

14.38. Priority should be given to building information systems for coastal zone

management at local and regional levels that can draw upon and contribute to national

systems. This 'cellular' approach is the most appropriate way to ensure that systems

are designed to meet the needs of local and regional managers; if undertaken in a

collaborative fashion it should also contribute to building a distributed national

network of coastal information. For such an approach to be successful there are

important aspects for which national coordination is required. Data collections should

be sufficiently compatible to allow data transfer and aggregation—for example from

regional to state level, or state level to national level—for the purposes of comparison

and analysis. A national approach is required to establish standards for data collection

and transfer, produce directories of available data, and identify priorities for new

national data sets.

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272 Research and information

14.39. The collection and management of coastal and marine data is very costly and

it is essential that it be done in an efficient and coordinated way. As the example of

tiie Oil Spill Coastal Resource Atlases demonstrates (see Section 14.3), data which is

in incompatible formats cannot readily be used to provide an integrated national

perspective. The importance of developing better information systems for coastal

management, along with the need for efficient use of limited financial resources,

demonstrates the need for integration of these activities.

Table 14.4 Availability of 28 types of Information of Importance to coastal zone managers

Availability scale 1-100

Types of information (mean scores)

Good or excellent (75-100)

Satisfactory (50-75) Land ownership and tenure 59.6

International obligations 59.2a

Regulations and by-laws 57.8

Social data; for example, age, income 53.8a

Infrastructure costs; for example, roads, water 51.9

Unsatisfactory (25-50) Recreation and tourism 49.5

Industry performance 49.2

Water management 48.5

Waste management 47.3

Heritage values 46.6

Employment statistics 46.03

Environmental impact assessments 45.9b

Coastal hazards; for example, cyclones, oil spills 45.9

Ecosystems, habitats and species 43.0b

Public participation 42.9

Condition of soils and beaches 42.7

Strategic plans 42.6

Visual and aesthetic values 41.9

Community service needs 41.6

Pollution indicators 39.0

Business opportunities and risks 38.2

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander issues 36.9

Economic instruments 36.9

Community priorities for coastal areas 35.4

Condition of rivers, estuaries and oceans 34.9b

Integrated resource management 34.0

Development benefits and losses 32.2

Poor(0-25) Dollar values of the natural environment 19.4

a Three lowest information priorities (see Table 14.3). b Three highest information priorities (see Table 14.3). Note: N =1099. Source: Brown & Burke (1993).

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Research and information 273

14.40. The Commonwealth Government can play an important part in ensuring that

the national network of coastal information, while continuing to grow in a

decentralised and cellular way to meet local needs, also meets agreed minimum

standards of compatibility. As a first step, focus should be on arrangements for

coordination between Commonwealth agencies. At present there is some 'bilateral'

collaboration between individual Commonwealth agencies; however, there is a need

for a formal coordinating mechanism in the Commonwealth sphere. The most

appropriate body for this purpose is the Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee,

which has responsibility for coordination and setting standards for data collection and

transfer among Commonwealth agencies. A sub-group of this Committee, with

representatives from all relevant agencies or groups within agencies, could begin to

develop standards and promote collaboration in the collection, distribution and use of

coastal and marine data. Development of a coordinated approach in the

Commonwealth sphere will provide a basis for improved coordination with state and

local spheres of government, and other relevant institutions. In addition, the

Environmental Resources Information Network could play a useful coordinating role

as it progresses and invites data custodians from a range of institutions to make their

data sets available on the NatMIS distributed network; similarly, the National

Resources Information Centre could play a useful role in expanding its directory to

include more coastal and marine data sets.

14.41. To further assist the development of a coordinated yet decentralised

information network the Commonwealth should, when providing funding to state or

local governments to collect and manage data, require that the data be collected and

managed according to mutually agreed standards which enable convenient data

transfer, comparison and aggregation. The Commonwealth could also provide

assistance and advice in the design of information systems and the conduct of resource

surveys to enable some basic levels of consistency and compatibility to be established.

14.42. It is also essential that national information systems be accessible to coastal

resource managers, including state and local government agencies. Although national

information providers such as the National Resources Information Centre and the

Environmental Resources Information Network currently collaborate with state

agencies, there is limited interaction with local authorities and little assessment of their

needs. In terms of the contribution to better decision making, the potential benefits

associated with developing an adequate national information infrastructure for coastal

resource management can be realised only if the information is readily accessible to

local authorities.

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274 Research and information

14.43. At the same time as information systems at local and regional levels are

developed, and national information systems and become more accessible and relevant

to the needs of resource managers, it is necessary to take steps to enhance the

competence and facilities of local resource managers to gain access to and use

information. This should include specialist advice about the range of information

services available, and guidance in the interpretation of information for management

purposes. At present there is sometimes a lack of understanding of the ways in which

information can be applied to management tasks.

14.44. The pricing of information is another issue that can affect access by coastal

resource managers. In recent years funding constraints on public agencies have led

some agencies to adopt a commercial approach to the provision of information and to

charge fees in excess of the costs of transferring the information to users. These fees

limit access to information that is already available and restrict the ability of agencies

engaged in the management of coastal zone resources to carry out their responsibilities

effectively and efficiently. Recently, the Australian and New Zealand Land

Information Council, in accordance with Schedule 1 of the Intergovernmental

Agreement on the Environment, formulated a Draft National Policy on Land Related

Data that proposes that data for non-commercial environmental management purposes

be transferred at a price covering the costs of transfer only (ANZLIC 1993). The

draft has been submitted to the Council of Australian Governments for consideration.

14.5 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

14.45. Information systems for coastal zone management should be developed at

local and regional levels, where they can be designed to best meet the needs of coastal

resource managers. In order that this 'cellular' approach can contribute to an effective

and efficient national network of marine and coastal data providers and users, there

must be effective national coordination of matters such as setting standards for data

collection and transfer, establishing national directories of data sets, and setting

priorities for new national data sets.

14.46. The Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee can play an important

coordinating role in the Commonwealth sphere; this can help provide the basis for

progressive improvements in coordination between all spheres of government. The

National Resources Information Centre, which operates the National Directory of

Australian Resources, and the Environmental Resources Information Network, which

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Research and information 275

is developing the National Marine Information System, can also play important

coordinating roles.

R.51 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee establish a sub-group on coastal and marine data to develop standards and enhance collaboration for the collection, distribution and use of data by relevant Commonwealth agencies;

the Natural Resources Information Centre be given additional funding to establish a comprehensive national directory of marine and coastal data sets;

the Environmental Resource Information Network receive additional funding to enable more rapid development of a distribution network for coastal and marine data sets as part of the National Marine Information System;

the National Coastal Management Agency provide financial assistance and advice to local and state governments to undertake coastal resource inventories, such assistance to be conditional on agreed standards for data collection and transfer.

14.47. The pricing of information transfers between governments should not be such

that it impedes access and discourages well-informed decision making about the uses

of coastal resources.

R.52 The Inquiry recommends that

coastal resource information held by government agencies be available to other government agencies for the cost of transferring the information, as proposed by the Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council in its Draft National Policy on the Transfer of Land Related Data;

policies related to the financial structure of government agencies be based on this principle, so that the flow of information required for achieving the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program is not constrained by charges made by government agencies holding that information.

14.48. Coastal zone managers at the local level need better access to information and

enhanced skills and capacities for using that information.

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276 Research and information

R.53 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government continue to support the Local Government Environmental Information Exchange Scheme recently established by the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories

and provide funding so that the Scheme can continue to support environmental resource officers attached to local government associations;

in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories and the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services, the National Coastal Management Agency consider ways of providing assistance to local authorities to make better use of the information available for coastal zone management; such

assistance to include specialist advice on gaining access to and using information, dissemination of knowledge about 'best practice' information systems, and the holding of regional workshops to discuss these and related matters;

in consultation with information users, the National Resources Information Centre and the Environmental Resources Information Network take further steps to develop coordinated services oriented to the needs of coastal resource managers, including state and local governments,

industry, the research community and relevant community groups.

14.49. The Marine and Coastal Community Network can play an important role in

the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program by providing community

groups, industry and government with information about various community-based

programs (including the proposed Coastcare initiative), by publicising successful

involvement processes, effective education projects and 'best practice' methods, and by

facilitating communication between groups with interests in the coastal zone. If the

Network is to perform these functions fully in all parts of the coastal zone, it will need

additional funding for the provision of more regional coordinators and associated

communications infrastructure.

R.54 The Inquiry recommends that

funding of the Marine and Coastal Community Network be increased to ensure that it is fully effective in facilitating community involvement in all regions of the coastal zone during the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program.

14.50. The requirements for research in the priority areas identified by the Inquiry

need to be reviewed in greater depth, taking into account the strengths and

weaknesses of current knowledge for coastal zone management in particular regions,

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Research and information 277

the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program, the identified needs of coastal

resource managers, and the adequacy of arrangements for coordination between

research agencies.

14.51. The Australian Science and Technology Council, which has a mandate to

provide information and advice on science and technology matters related to the

enhancement of national well-being, and which has had considerable recent experience

in reviewing research needs in fields such as northern Australia, environmental

research, and the contribution of the social sciences and humanities to research, is an

appropriate body to undertake this review.

R.55 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government provide funding to the Australian Science and Technology Council to review the research priorities proposed by the Inquiry and examine ways of achieving better coordination of research efforts in these priority areas and improved communication between

researchers and management agencies;

the following matters be reviewed:

- coordination arrangements for research funding and priority setting, to ensure that adequate research is undertaken in priority areas and that consultation with coastal resource managers is established and maintained;

- the adequacy or otherwise of existing arrangements for collecting baseline data, undertaking inventories and conducting long-term monitoring for the purposes of coastal resource management;

- the need for establishment of a system for periodic review of coastal research priorities, including monitoring of expenditures and the effectiveness of research.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 15 SURVEILLANCE AND QUARANTINE ISSUES

15.01. Illegal fishing activities, the threat of oil spills from ships, the introduction of

exotic species and diseases through discharge of ballast water from ships and breaches

of quarantine regulations pose serious threats to the resources of much of Australia's

coastal zone.

15.02. The length of the Australian coastline and limits to resources provided by

governments present substantial difficulties for surveillance and enforcement programs

designed to counter or contain these threats. This chapter discusses the surveillance of

fishing activities in Australian waters (including fishing by foreign vessels), shipping

movements, and movements of goods and people that can have serious quarantine,

customs, health and immigration implications. Particular attention is paid to

surveillance activities in the coastal zone of northern Australia by civil agencies of

governments: the role played by the Defence Forces is considered only in terms of the

Forces' contributions to these activities.

15.03. Section 15.1 briefly discusses current arrangements for civil surveillance in the

coastal zone. Sections 15.2,15.3, 15.4 and 15.5 deal with fisheries, the Torres Strait

Treaty, ship-sourced oil pollution and ballast water respectively. Section 15.6 deals

with other quarantine issues, and health, customs and immigration considerations

relevant to the management of coastal zone resources, with particular reference to the

Torres Strait area. Conclusions are reached and recommendations made in

Section 15.7.

15.1 COASTWATCH

15.04. Administrative and operational responsibility for civil coastal and offshore

surveillance operations in Australia lies with Coastwatch, which is a sub-program of

the Australian Customs Service and is responsible to the Minister for Science and

Small Business. Coastwatch was established in its present form in 1988, in response to

recommendations made in a report on future administrative arrangements for coastal

surveillance in northern Australia (Hudson 1988). The report had been commissioned

by the Commonwealth Minister for Transport and Communications in 1987. Several

of the recommendations of that report, including recommendations that Coastwatch be

established as an independent agency not administered by one of its major users or

participants, were not reflected in the administrative arrangements put in place by the

government (see Box 15.1).

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280 Surveillance and quarantine issues

Box 15.1 The Hudson report: Northern Approaches

The 1970s saw considerable activity by foreign fishing vessels in Australian waters and in 1976 the first Vietnamese 'boat people’ arrived in Darwin. In 1977 the United Nations sponsored the Law of the Sea' conference, where the groundwork was laid for the acceptance of a 200 nautical mile

exclusive economic zone off the coast of all nations. In August 1977 the Commonwealth Government announced that it would declare a 200 nautical mile fishing zone around Australia. Since that time there have been a number of reviews of matters connected with coastal surveillance. Some of the reviews focused on coastal surveillance specifically; others, such as the Royal Commissions into

Drugs and Drug Trafficking (1977-83), made many recommendations relevant to coastal surveillance. In 1987 the Commonwealth Government appointed Mr Hugh Hudson to report on surveillance in northern Australia; his report led to significant changes to Coastwatch, including its establishment as a sub-program within the Australian Customs Service.

Among the recommendations of the Hudson report were the following:

• that the aerial surveillance program be funded as a program that, among other things, includes funds sufficient to cover the private contracting of a minimum of 10 000 flying hours each year;

• that an Australian Maritime Safety and Coastwatch Agency be established as an independent agency, with an Executive Director appointed at divisional head level responsible directly to an appropriate Minister (other than in relation to existing functions of the Federal Sea Safety Centre);

• that, to ensure that the users of Agency services develop a sense of proprietorship towards it, the Agency not be administered or controlled by one of the major users or participants. It should be serviced but not administered or controlled by the Department of Transport and Communications;

• that the Executive Director be required, from time to time, to determine flight patterns and frequency in a manner that, in the opinion of the Executive Director, will maximise the benefit to all users considered as a whole;

• that, where requests for particular flights cannot be met from the core funded program, the Agency arrange for such flights to be undertaken by the contractor at a price based on marginal cost;

• that a review of the efficiency and effectiveness of the Agency be conducted in 1993, constrained if necessary to matters still in dispute at that time.

Source: Hudson (1988).________________________________________________________________

15.05. The central role of Coastwatch is to coordinate and manage a national civil

surveillance and response service in high-risk coastal and offshore areas, on behalf of

client agencies. All operational funds for providing the service are directly budgeted

for, allocated to and managed by Coastwatch. At present Coastwatch has five client

agencies:

• the Australian Customs Service (mainly the Barrier Control sub-program);

• the Australian Fisheries Management Authority;

• the Australian Federal Police;

• the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service; •

• the Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs.

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 281

15.06. In addition, Coastwatch provides specialised services for the Great Barrier

Reef Marine Park Authority, the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, and other

Commonwealth agencies. Some tasks are also performed for state agencies on a

case-by-case basis.

15.07. The majority of coastal and offshore civil surveillance (both airborne and

surface) in Australia is concentrated in northern Australia, which is broadly defined as

that area north of a line joining Townsville in Queensland to Karratha in Western

Australia and continuing 200 nautical miles out to sea. Only about 1 per cent of

Coastwatch's flying time occurs in southern Australia: apart from 250 hours of flying

time in Orion aircraft commissioned by the Australian Fisheries Management Authority

from the Royal Australian Air Force, most of this is in response to particular

circumstances.

15.08. In 1991-92 Coastwatch undertook 2960 surveillance flights, occupying

14 534 flying hours. The airborne surveillance service is, in the main, provided by civil

contractors, aircraft being flown by their pilots and surveillance being done by

observers employed by the contractors. The surveillance program is determined on the

basis of intelligence reports and risk assessments by client agencies, which have

principal responsibility for ensuring that Coastwatch is in the right place at the right

time. Monthly meetings are held with clients to review the previous month's

surveillance and to discuss requirements for the month ahead. Surveillance is carried

out on both strategic and tactical response bases. Strategic programs are usually

developed one or two months in advance and account for the majority of surveillance

flying time; the remainder is tactical response flying for specific operational 'tastings',

based on specific information or requests by client agencies and often undertaken at

very short notice.

15.09. Coastwatch's surface surveillance and response capability is primarily supplied

by the Royal Australian Navy and amounts to about 1800 patrol-boat-days each year.

Patrol boats owned by the Customs Department and based in northern waters are

available to Coastwatch when tasks fall within their capabilities; there is also capacity

to charter or hire additional craft.

15.10. As well as providing a surveillance service, Coastwatch is responsible for

coordinating other coastal surveillance activities in northern Australia. As a part of

this coordinating role, and to ensure that there are no overlaps in the overall

surveillance effort, all other surveillance authorities are required to provide their

surveillance program to Coastwatch and to pass on to it information gained from their

surveillance. This includes Army land patrols on C ape York Peninsula and in the

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282 Surveillance and quarantine issues

Pilbara region of Western Australia and surveillance undertaken for the Northern

Territory Police and the Australian Fisheries Management Authority by the air wing of

the Northern Territory police. The Australian Defence Force provides services to

Coastwatch and any coastal or offshore civil surveillance it carries out is directed by

Coastwatch. Liaison between the two organisations is facilitated by an Australian

Defence Force Liaison Officer with Coastwatch.

15.11. Coastwatch is responsible for advising the Commonwealth Government on

levels of surveillance coverage necessary to provide a 'reasonable' level of security and

protection from illegal civil incursions, whether these be illegal drug shipments, illegal

immigrants, quarantine threats or other concerns. Financial and equipment limitations

mean that there is a heavy emphasis on the development of effective

intelligence-gathering, assessment and liaison systems (Australian Customs Service,

Submission 380, p. 2).

15.12. Coastwatch regards the threat of vessels illegally entering northern Australian

waters as its main priority, together with the interception of illicit drugs. During

1991-92 three vessels attempting to make illegal entries were detected; they were

carrying a total of 78 illegal entrants (Australian Customs Service 1992a, p. 95). To

enhance the effectiveness of the Coastwatch program, an extensive community

awareness campaign has been mounted under the slogan Watch Out!—for Australia’.

The campaign encourages the reporting of suspicious or unusual activities to the

24-hour operations room in Canberra through use of a toll-free telephone number. An

average of 60 to 100 calls are received each month (Coastwatch, Submission 380,

p. 10).

15.13. The operational efficiency and effectiveness of Coastwatch and the

relationship between Coastwatch and its clients were reviewed in 1990 as part of an

inquiry by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Finance and Public

Administration into aspects of the Australian Customs Service. That review

concluded, among other things, that the 1988 decision to transfer responsibility for

civil coastal surveillance to the Australian Customs Service had been vindicated; it also

found that the level of satisfaction among client agencies was high.

15.14. The Committee considered the question of whether a requirement for client

agencies to pay for services would result in some rationalisation of requests for

surveillance by encouraging agencies to improve their ability to assess risks before

making requests of Coastwatch. It concluded that the surveillance service is provided

in the public interest and that it is therefore appropriately funded from the central

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 283

budget rather than by a user-charging system (House of Representatives Standing

Committee on Finance and Public Administration 1990).

15.15. In May 1993 the Minister for Science and Small Business announced an

independent review of the management and operations of the Australian Customs

Service. The review is to be completed by the end of 1993 and will include

consideration of the Coastwatch sub-program.

15.2 ENFORCEMENT OF FISHERIES REGULATIONS

15.16. As a signatory to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982,

Australia has a responsibility, in accordance with Articles 56 to 64 of the Convention,

to manage the use of marine resources within its proclaimed 200 nautical mile fishing

zone, known as the Australian Fishing Zone.

15.17. The management of commercial fisheries in Australia is the responsibility of

the states and the Commonwealth. Generally, the states are responsible for the

management of fisheries within 3 nautical miles seaward of the territorial sea baseline,

which in most parts of the coast is the mean low-water mark, and the Commonwealth

is responsible for fisheries between 3 and 200 nautical miles to sea.

15.18. The 1979 Offshore Constitutional Settlement between the Commonwealth and

the states simplified the arrangements for managing fisheries occupying both state and

Commonwealth waters. Before that time, fisheries extending across boundaries

between state and Commonwealth waters were often managed by one authority but

under two sets of legislation; fishing vessels needed two licences to operate. In 1983

amendments to state and Commonwealth Fisheries Acts enabled the states and the

Commonwealth to enter into formal legal arrangements for fisheries operating on both

sides of the 3 nautical mile line.

15.19. Three types of fisheries management are envisaged under the Offshore

Constitutional Settlement: state-based or local fisheries management; joint authority

management; and Commonwealth management

15.20. Among the Commonwealth Acts applying to fisheries management in Australia

are the Fisheries Management Act 1991, the Fisheries Administration Act 1991, the

Continental Shelf (Living Natural Resources) Act 1968, and the Torres Strait

Fisheries Act 1984. The stated objective of Commonwealth fisheries legislation is to

preserve living resources from over-exploitation while achieving optimum use of those

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284 Surveillance and quarantine issues

resources. Each Act requires a person fishing in Commonwealth-controlled waters to

hold a licence and gives the Minister responsible for fisheries power to prohibit all or

specified fishing activities in all or specified areas.

15.21. Fisheries under Commonwealth control are administered by the Australian

Fisheries Management Authority, which was established by the Fisheries Management

Act. The Authority has responsibility for different fisheries in different states, some

states having agreed that the Commonwealth should have management responsibility

for specific fisheries within the 3 nautical mile limit. The main fisheries managed by the

Commonwealth are the northern prawn fishery, the tuna fishery, the south-east trawler

fishery, and the southern shark fishery. The Commonwealth is also responsible for the

management of foreign fishing activities within the Australian Fishing Zone.

15.22. The arrangements for state-managed fisheries vary; they are summarised in

Box 15.2.

15.23. Although the Offshore Constitutional Settlement rationalised fisheries

management arrangements between the states and the Commonwealth, problems still

arise as a result of the basing of jurisdictional boundaries on 'geopolitical' rather than

ecological considerations. In the south-east fishery, for instance, fish of the same

species can be subject to either Commonwealth or state management regimes,

depending upon their location at the time of capture. Both the report of the

Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Group on Fisheries and the Industry

Commission's report on cost recovery for managing fisheries have called for

rationalisation of these management arrangements (DPIE 1992, p. 4).

15.24. Concern was expressed to the Inquiry about the extent of illegal fishing in

Australian waters by both commercial and other fishermen. The Queensland

Commercial Fishermen's Organisation was principally concerned about the lack of

surveillance and control of unlicensed fishermen (1993, p. 49) and the Australian

Recreational and Sport Fishing Confederation said '...that fish thieves (unlicensed

fishermen who sell fish) are the reason for most conflict between the two sectors...' but

see the conflict as being confined to a number of specific areas (Submission 588). The

Confederation supports the inclusion of recreational and sport fishing in fisheries

management arrangements; however, a great deal more information and research is

required before effective management plans could be devised (Lai et al. 1992).

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 285

Box 15.2 State fisheries management arrangements

In New South Wales fisheries are managed by New South Wales Fisheries. Agreement has been reached with the Commonwealth that New South Wales will manage virtually all fisheries off its coast, with the exception of purse seining, trawling south of Barrenjoey Point, Danish seining south of Barrenjoey Point, pelagic long-lining and squid jigging, and tuna fishing. Discussions are under way

to transfer to the Commonwealth responsibility for management of tuna fishing inside the 3 nautical mile limit.

In Victoria all commercial fishing activities in bays and inlets are controlled under the provisions of the Fisheries Act 1968 (and subsequent amendments) and managed by the Fisheries Management Branch of the Department of Conservation and Resources. Negotiations are currently taking place with the Commonwealth over the shark fishery and trawler fishery. Southern bluefin tuna fishing is managed entirely by the Commonwealth.

In Queensland the Queensland Fish Management Authority is currently the authority responsible for fisheries management under the Fishing Industry Organisation and Marketing Act 1982. The legislation is being updated to create management plans in accordance with accepted principles of ecologically sustainable development.

In South Australia, under the Offshore Constitutional Settlement, state jurisdiction extends to the 200 nautical mile limit for the following fisheries: prawns in the gulfs and on the west coast; rock lobster; marine scale fish (not trawling); abalone; inland waters; and a few developmental fisheries. Shark fishing beyond the 3 nautical mile limit is under Commonwealth management. No joint

authorities exist in South Australia.

In Western Australia, the Fisheries Department is responsible for legislation under five state Acts. A new Fisheries Act is planned to be enacted by the end of 1993. In April 1988 arrangements were agreed for 15 Western Australian fisheries. Eleven of the 15 fisheries are now managed exclusively under Western Australian legislation by the Fisheries Department; the Fisheries Joint Management

Authority manages two fisheries, and the Commonwealth has complete jurisdiction for the remaining two fisheries.

In Tasmania the Department of Primary Industry and Fisheries is the state management authority, managing both inland fisheries and sea fisheries. With the exception of tuna, which is managed by the Commonwealth, the state manages all sea fisheries to the edge of the 3 nautical mile limit. No joint Commonwealth-state authorities exist, although scallops are managed with input from both the

State and the Commonwealth.

In the Northern Territory the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries is responsible for the management of fisheries. Under the Offshore Constitutional Settlement, the Commonwealth has jurisdiction over the northern prawn fishery, the shark fishery, the tuna fishery and the long-fine fishery. This is currently being renegotiated. ________ _________________

15.25. Indigenous com m unities in north-west W estern A ustralia w ere concerned

about illegal fishing near the Kimberley coast, particularly by Indonesian fishermen.

Similarly, indigenous communities along the Arnhem Land coast and in the G ulf of

Carpentaria reported m any instances of illegal fishing in restricted areas, m ainly in

coastal rivers. They also drew attention to com m ercial fishing practices which result in

the killing of dugong and turtles (which are im portant traditional food sources) and the

w asting of m any sm all and 'non-targeted' fish (see Smyth 1993b). B ecause o f the

remoteness o f these areas, the offending fishing boats are often able to m ove away

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286 Surveillance and quarantine issues

before officers from enforcement agencies can investigate reports of illegal activities.

Any remedy of these problems would require the provision of more resources for

surveillance activities by officers of state fishing management agencies in the states; as

many offences occur at night, night surveillance capabilities would be required.

15.26. There is also a serious problem with illegal fishing in the Great Barrier Reef

Marine Park at night. The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority has gathered

evidence of this activity from a range of sources, including Coastwatch. Night

surveillance trials in the Marine Park have been undertaken by Coastwatch, using a

range of aircraft types and surveillance techniques—electronic surveillance (radar,

infra-red, image-intensifying equipment and night-vision goggles) as well as visual

surveillance.

15.27. The Sea Scan aircraft used by Coastwatch can conduct night and day

surveillance operations Australia wide. The Marine Park Authority has not, however,

used these aircraft a great deal because they are expensive to operate and are in

demand from other Coastwatch clients. At present there are only three of these

aircraft available for the enormous task of surveilling the entire Australian Fishing

Zone (Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority, Submission 729).

15.28. Separate Commonwealth legislation applies to the management of fisheries in

Torres Strait. This legislation—the Torres Strait Fisheries Act 1984— reflects the

provisions of the Torres Strait Treaty, signed by the Governments of Australia and

Papua New Guinea in 1978 and ratified in 1985.

15.3 THE TORRES STRAIT TREATY

15.29. The Torres Strait Treaty is concerned with sovereignty and maritime

boundaries, protecting the way of life and livelihoods of traditional inhabitants, and

protecting the marine environment It does not define a single border; there are three

major and two minor delimitation lines running through the Torres Strait area (see

Figure 15.1);

• the seabed resources line;

• the swimming fisheries resources line;

• the Protected Zone delineation line;

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Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Figure 15.1 Lines of jurisdiction agreed under the Torres Strait Treaty

n

n

Source: Babbage (1990).

I 8

"a

c.

n

288 Surveillance and quarantine issues

• lines delimiting Australian territorial seas north of the seabed resources line;

• lines delimiting the territorial sea between Papua New Guinea and Boigu, and

Papua New Guinea and Dauan-Saibai.

15.30. One of the special provisions of the Treaty establishes the Torres Strait

Protected Zone, an area encompassing most, but not all, of the inhabited islands in the

Torres Strait region. The purpose of the Zone, as described in the Treaty, is

• to acknowledge and protect the traditional way of life and livelihood of the

traditional inhabitants including their traditional fishing and free movement;

• to protect and preserve the marine environment and indigenous fauna and flora in

the vicinity of the Zone.

15.31. The Treaty contains provisions on agreed arrangements for commercial

fisheries within the Protected Zone, among them that traditional fishing will have

precedence over commercial fishing, that both countries will consult and cooperate in

the issue and endorsement of licences for commercial fishing in the Protected Zone,

and that, unless agreed otherwise by Papua New Guinea and Australia, only

commercial fishers from these two countries are permitted to fish in the Protected

Zone.

15.32. In accordance with the provisions of the Treaty, a Protected Zone Joint

Authority manages the following fisheries in the Torres Strait Protected Zone,

according to Commonwealth law:

• in the Australian component of the Zone, traditional fishing and those fisheries

that Australia and Papua New Guinea have agreed to jointly manage in the Zone

(prawns, Spanish mackerel, pearl shell, tropical rock lobster, dugong and turtle);

• the commercial barramundi fishery in the territorial waters adjacent to the six

Australian islands near the Papua New Guinea coast—Saibai, Boigu, Moimi,

Kaumag, Aubusi and Dauan.

15.33. The members of the Protected Zone Joint Authority are the Commonwealth

Minister for Primary Industries and Energy and the Queensland Minister for Primary

Industries.

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 289

15.34. With the exception of fishing by foreign vessels, the Queensland Fishing

Management Authority manages all other commercial fisheries in the area of Australian

jurisdiction within the Zone. It also manages all recreational fisheries in the area.

15.35. Under joint management arrangements between the Commonwealth and

Queensland Governments and on behalf of the Protected Zone Joint Authority, officers

of the Queensland Department of Harbours and Marine's Boating and Fisheries Patrol

engage in primary fisheries surveillance and enforcement for domestic fisheries in the

Torres Strait Protected Zone.

15.36. These officers attend regular meetings of the Torres Strait Fisheries

Implementation and Co-ordination Committee, which is made up of state and

Commonwealth officials located on Thursday Island and dealing with fisheries, foreign

affairs, police, immigration, customs and quarantine matters. The officers are involved

in a range of enforcement, extension and educational activities with commercial and

traditional fishers.

15.37. Problems have arisen in relation to the interpretation of provisions in the

Treaty concerning traditional activities and prevailing custom, most notably in the

context of fisheries management Other problems of particular concern to Torres

Strait Islanders arise from the free-movement provisions of the Treaty, among them

illegal immigration, abuse of welfare facilities, drug-running, gun-running, and other

customs and quarantine violations (Mulrennan 1993). Several of these matters are

discussed in Section 15.6.

15.4 SHIP-SOURCED OIL POLLUTION

15.38. Under the Australian Maritime Safety Authority Act 1990, the Australian

Maritime Safety Authority is responsible for the prevention and control of ship-sourced

marine pollution. The primary ship-sourced pollution risk to the marine and coastal

environment arises from oil spills. Accordingly, most of the Authority's efforts are

directed towards the prevention of such spills and ways of dealing with them when

they do occur. The Authority is also responsible for the control of safety standards

relating to foreign ships in Australian waters and the provision of a marine navigation

aids network.

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290 Surveillance and quarantine issues

15.39. In 1992 the Authority received reports of 175 marine oil spills in areas under

its jurisdiction. Almost 33 per cent of these spills occurred within port limits and in

these cases clean-up action was undertaken by the port authority or the company

managing the oil installation concerned. In 17 cases clean-up, or response action of

some kind by the Authority, was needed. The remaining reports were generally

unconfirmed sightings from vessels or aircraft well offshore and involved small

quantities of oil that were left to degrade naturally. In some cases clean-up action was

undertaken by local authorities or the companies concerned, without involvement from

the Authority (AMSA 1993b, p. 6).

15.40. The International Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from

Ships 1973 (as modified by the Protocol of 1978) known as MARPOL, is an

international treaty covering maritime pollution. The Convention, which came into

effect on 2 October 1983, deals with all forms of marine pollution from ships, including

pollution by oil, but it does not deal with the disposal of land-generated waste into the

sea by dumping. The Convention has five technical annexes, each dealing with a

separate aspect of ship-sourced pollution: oil, noxious liquid substances, harmful

packaged substances, sewage and garbage.

15.41. The Commonwealth Protection o f the Sea (Prevention o f Pollution from

Ships) Act 1983 gives effect to the 'core' provisions of MARPOL. Technical

requirements, such as the certification and construction of vessels, are given effect by

the Navigation (Protection o f the Sea) Amendment Act 1983.

15.42. The provisions of MARPOL and annexes I (oil), Π (noxious liquid substances)

and V (garbage) are applied under Commonwealth legislation to Australian ships in

international waters and to all shipping in the Australian territorial sea between 3 and

12 nautical miles seaward of the territorial sea baseline. Waters within the 3 nautical

mile limit—known as coastal waters—are within the jurisdiction of the states and most

states have their own legislation giving effect to parts of the Convention.

Commonwealth legislation also applies in those states that as yet have no MARPOL

legislation; for example, Commonwealth legislation currently implements annex V in all

states except Victoria, which is the only state to have given effect to that annex.

15.43. In addition to the pollution control provisions of MARPOL, the International

Convention on Oil Pollution Preparedness, Response and Co-operation 1990 places an

obligation on governments to establish a national system for responding promptly and

effectively to oil pollution incidents. An incident involving the grounding of the ship

Oceanic Grandeur in Torres Strait in 1970 led to the development of a plan to ensure

that Australia would be prepared to respond to ship-sourced pollution incidents.

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 291

15.44. The National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil formally came into

operation in October 1973; it represents a combined effort by Commonwealth and

state governments, with the assistance of the oil industry, to find a solution to the

threat posed to the coastal environment by oil spills from ships (see Box 15.3).

Box 153 Government responsibilities under the National Plan to Combat Pollution of the Sea by Oil Responsibility for combating oil spills within harbours, on shore, and in territorial and high seas around Australia is shared between the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, state and territory

government authorities and port authorities. Under current administrative arrangements primary responsibility for response to spills is as follows:

• on beaches and foreshores— the relevant state authorities;

• in waters within port limits—the relevant state or port authority;

• in coastal waters, as defined in the Coastal Waters (State Powers) Act 1980 (generally within 3 nautical miles of the low-water mark) and waters within the limits of a state beyond port limits in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia—the relevant state authority; and in all other parts of Australia the Australian Maritime Safety Authority at the request of the relevant state

authority;

• in territorial waters seaward of coastal waters—the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

Source: AMSA (1993b, p. 27).__________________________________________________________

15.45. The Plan is predicated on the premise that, because of the extent and nature of

maritime traffic within Australia's jurisdiction, there is a significant threat of oil

pollution in the Australian marine environment. Accordingly, plans, equipment and

expertise have been developed and located in such a way as to provide the most

efficient and cost-effective response capability possible. This includes strategic

location in various centres around the coastline of equipment for combating oil spills.

A marine pollution contingency plan known as REEFPLAN has also been developed,

to provide a set of response arrangements for ship-sourced pollution incidents that may

occur in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park area.

15.46. Under the National Plan, the Commonwealth Government has purchased more

than $13 million worth of specialised equipment for cleaning up marine oil spills; this

equipment is located at all major Australian ports and it includes oil spill booms of

various dimensions, oil skimmers, and ship-to-ship cargo transfer equipment. An audit

conducted by the Commonwealth Auditor General in 1993 found some items of plant

to be inoperable, either because they had rapidly deteriorated through improper storage

or because had not been adequately maintained. Other items could not be readily

located because of frequent unrecorded loans or transfers to other locations (Spedding

1993, p. 15). The objective of holding such equipment is to enable rapid responses to

oil spills, but the Auditor General's report casts serious doubt on the capacity for rapid

and effective response.

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292 Surveillance and quarantine issues

15.47. A review of the National Plan was undertaken for the Australian Transport

Advisory Council in 1993. That review recommended, among other things, that the

Australian Maritime Safety Authority continue in its role as the managing agency of

the Plan and that the Plan be refocused to ensure full integration of all relevant

government and industry activities.

15.48. The establishment of the Kikori oil terminal in the Gulf of Papua in 1992, the

development of nearby petroleum reserves such as the Kutubu oil field and the use of

tankers to export crude oil from Papua New Guinea have increased the risk of

accidental oil pollution of the northern Australian coast and served to focus attention

on the hazards of navigation through Torres Strait Navigation in the area is made

hazardous by convergence of shipping, narrow navigable channels, and very strong

tidal currents.

15.49. Torres Strait is used for international navigation and is subject to international

laws that provide specific rights of passage. For this reason the Commonwealth

Government cannot require that international shipping not calling at Australian ports

be piloted through the Strait; consequently the total number of ships passing through

the Strait is not known. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority does, however,

encourage voluntary reporting by ships in the region and it estimates, on the basis of

knowledge of the number of piloted ships and the number of voluntary reports from

ships, that it is aware of the movements of more than more than 90 per cent of ships

passing through the Strait.

15.50. Estimates of the total number of ship transits through the Strait range between

about 1200 and 1400 per year. In 1990 about 200 of the ships were carrying oil or

chemicals as their main cargo (Mulrennan 1993, p. 16).

15.51. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority receives from Coastwatch

observers' information and sworn statements in relation to oil spills and discharges and

these statements have led to successful prosecutions through the courts. But the

Authority sometimes has difficulty producing information and evidence to satisfy the

Australian courts and there are concerns about the level of penalties imposed by the

courts for pollution incidents: for example, the much publicised 'Arthur Phillip

incident' near Cape Otway in May 1990 led to a fine of only $60 000 for an illegal oil

discharge, whereas the potential penalty under the Protection o f the Sea (Prevention o f

Pollution from Ships) Act 1983 was $1 million.

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 293

15.5 BALLAST WATER

15.52. The introduction of exotic marine organisms to Australian waters poses

serious environmental, economic and health threats. The relatively recent introduction

of a range of marine organisms that are seriously damaging to parts of the marine

environment in southern Australia is a matter of national concern. Among the exotic

species that have become established in the Australian marine environment are the

Northern Pacific starfish and toxic dinoflagellates (planktonic algae), both of which

have caused substantial damage to the farmed-shellfish industry in southern Australia.

At least 14 exotic organisms believed to have been introduced through ballast water

discharges have been reported in Australia (AQIS 1993c, p. 12). Box 15.4 provides

examples of these organisms and their impacts on the marine environment, mariculture

and other industries.

15.53. Although it cannot be established with certainty, it is generally accepted that

these organisms have been introduced into Australian waters through the discharge

from ships of ballast water and sediments collected at foreign ports. The risk of such

unintentional translocation of disease-causing bacteria and viruses, marine plant and

animal species and other aquatic organisms has increased as both the numbers of ships

travelling to Australia from foreign ports have increased and the transit times between

Australian and foreign ports have been reduced.

15.54. If they become established in a new environment, introduced marine organisms

are virtually impossible to eliminate. For this reason control strategies are essentially

limited to taking measures to prevent or impede the further spread of such organisms

and to reduce or eliminate the threat of introduction of further organisms. These

measures include a ballast water testing program conducted by the Australian

Quarantine and Inspection Service and the development and promotion of ballast water

handling guidelines for shipping.

15.55. In February 1990 Australia introduced a set of voluntary ballast water

guidelines for ships entering Australian ports from overseas. The guidelines were

subsequently used as the basis for voluntary international guidelines developed by the

International Maritime Organisation—the International Guidelines for Preventing the

Introduction of Unwanted Organisms and Pathogens from Ships' Ballast Water and

Sediment Discharge. Approaches outlined in the Guidelines include non-release of

ballast water, ballast water exchange and sediment removal at sea, and use of shore-

based treatment facilities. If correctly implemented, the Guidelines would provide a

means of minimising, but not eliminating, the risk of introduction of exotic marine

species and organisms.

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294 Surveillance and quarantine issues

Box 15.4 Marine organisms introduced through ballast water discharge from ships

Toxic dinoflagellates The introduction of toxic planktonic algae (toxic dinoflagellates) into Australian waters is of major concern because of the serious impacts on aquaculture and potential effects on human health. The Gymnodinium and Alexandrium species have both been identified in Australia. In recent years

shellfish areas in Port Phillip Bay in Victoria and the Huon River estuary in Tasmania have been closed because of toxic algal blooms. Living dinoflagellate spores, thought to be capable of seeding the toxic algal blooms that contaminate commercial shellfish crops, have been discovered in the

sediments of ballast tanks of foreign cargo ships servicing Australian ports.

Northern Pacific starfish The Northern Pacific starfish (Asterias amurensis) is a native of Japanese and Alaskan waters and is reported to have existed in Tasmanian waters for the past 10 years. The potential impacts of this starfish on the Tasmanian shellfish industry, some wild fisheries, and the marine environment in general are of great concern for the Tasmanian and Commonwealth Governments. There have been reports that some aquaculturists have lost up to 20 per cent of their shellfish crop because of the

increased numbers of the starfish.

Undaria seaweed Undaria seaweed was introduced from Japan and is spreading along the eastern coast of Tasmania. It was first recorded in 1988 near Triabunna and has since spread some 50 kilometres. It attaches itself to rocks that are abalone feeding grounds and has a detrimental impact on the abalone industry. It will have an even greater impact if it reaches oyster and mussel farms and settles on the racks and lines used for this kind of fanning.

Benthic fauna Current problems exist around the Australian coast because of the presence of Asian benthic fauna introduced into Australia through ballast water discharges. These molluscs, invertebrates and sea-grasses are found in shallow waters or on the sea bottom. Four exotic fish species have also been introduced from Chinese and Japanese ports: Acanthogobius flavimanus (yellowfin goby), and certain benthic carnivores that may eliminate smaller native gobies and young whiting; Tridentiger trigonocephasus (striped goby); Lateolabrax japoninicus (a Japanese sea bass that could have a major influence on native species, including commercial native species); and Sparidentex hasta (Sobaity sea bream).

Other invertebrates Other invertebrates have been introduced to Australian waters as a result of ballast water (Morgan 1990). Four identified crustaceans are Pyromaia tuberculata (a decapod crab), Eurylana arcuata (an isopod slater), Neomysis japonica (a mysid shrimp), and Tanais dulongi (a tanaid). Three molluscs have been identified: Musculista senhousia (the Asian mussel); Theora lubrica (an east Asian semelid bivalve); and Aeolidiella indica (a sea slug or nudibranch). Three polychaete worms have also been identified: Mercierella enigmatica', Boccardia proboscide; and Pseudopolydora paucibranchiata.

Sources: AQIS (1993a, 1993b), Chappie Research (1993).____________________________________

15.56. Following a survey of International Maritime Organisation member states in

1993, an intersessional group of the Organisation's Marine Environment Protection

Committee concluded, among other things,

• To date, the Organisation's Guidelines have apparently been implemented in only a

small number of countries. •

• Currently there is no cost-effective, technically sound, practical, safe and

environmentally acceptable treatment process for ballast water.

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 295

• Although there is a need to apply the Organisation's Guidelines as a means of

minimising the risk of spread of exotic marine life, there is also a need for

continuation of research in an effort to find a more satisfactory long-term solution

to the problem of the introduction of exotic marine organisms (AQIS 1993c,

pp. 18-19).

15.57. There is growing concern about the potential for ballast water to introduce

cholera to Australia. In 1992 the International Maritime Organisation reported the

presence of cholera in ballast water taken on board ships in South American ports and

subsequently tested in North American ports. Australia's ballast water testing program

was immediately extended to include testing for cholera and to include a response

strategy developed for application in the event that testing should show positive

results. To date all such tests have proved negative.

15.58. The testing program for ballast water is aimed largely at detecting and

identifying toxic dinoflagellates and cholera, these being considered the most serious

current threats. The program involves the sampling of ballast water in vessels arriving

in or travelling to Australia, sometimes before they leave their home port.

15.59. Until recently the emphasis in Australia has been on ships entering Australian

ports from foreign ports. There are some 60 commercial shipping ports in Australia,

and about 40 of them are first ports of call. Particularly in light of the establishment of

the Undaria seaweed and the Northern Pacific starfish in Tasmanian waters (but not

yet elsewhere in Australia), it is now widely recognised that there is also potential for

problems to arise from the discharge of ballast water from coastal ships, which may

translocate unwanted exotic marine organisms from infected areas to uninfected ports

and adjacent waterways.

15.60. The increasing development of mariculture in Australia, combined with the

increasing number of waterway closures caused by algal blooms, have also focused

attention on the need to develop ways of controlling ballast water discharges from

coastal ships. A set of domestic guidelines aimed at preventing the translocation of

exotic organisms is being developed by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection

Service; a discussion paper on the draft guidelines is expected to be circulated by the

end of 1993.

15.61. Ballast water management guidelines will not be effective unless it is known

what unwanted organisms exist in the water and sediment of both the port of water

uptake and the port in which the water is to be discharged. The discussion paper will

propose that, pending harbour testing, an interim system to help minimise the spread

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296 Surveillance and quarantine issues

between Australian ports be introduced. Elements of the proposed system are

requirements that states accept responsibility for uptake and discharge of ballast water

by coastal ships; that vessels not lake on any ballast water in areas where an algal

bloom is present or in areas infested by Undaria seaweed or the Northern Pacific

starfish; that port authorities have responsibility for alerting coastal shipping to the

presence of such blooms and infestations; and that, if it is not possible to avoid taking

on ballast water in infested areas, vessels must fully exchange their ballast water in

deep ocean waters (AQIS 1993a).

15.62. Australia is also undertaking a major research program into ballast water and

related matters, with the aim of preventing, or at least belter managing, the discharge

of exotic organisms in ships' ballast water. The three-year program is managed by the

Bureau of Resource Sciences and a Ballast Water Steering Group comprising

government and industry representatives. Responsibility for the overall management of

the program lies with the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service. Research

directed toward the development of environmentally sound, technically acceptable,

cost-effective and safe ballast water treatment processes has been a major part of the

program, which will be completed by mid-1994 at a total cost of approximately

$ 1 million. To date, the program has been funded almost entirely by the Austr alian

Quarantine and Inspection Service, with some supplementation from industry.

15.63. The program also includes a study to determine whether cholera bacteria can

survive the voyage to Australia in a ballast water tank and, if so, the chances of the

bacteria surviving and establishing in the marine environment.

15.6 QUARANTINE AND OTHER SURVEILLANCE CONCERNS

15.64. Australia has remained free of a number of pests and diseases that are

established in neighbouring countries; if introduced to Australia, these pests and

diseases have the potential to cause catastrophic damage to many rural industries,

human health and the environment. It is of great importance that programs to

minimise the risk of their introduction, particularly through northern Australia, are

maintained.

15.65. The Hudson report (see Box 15.1) and the reports of other inquiries into

surveillance needs identified several areas that present the greatest quarantine risk in

Australia. In descending order of concern, these are the Torres Strait - Cape York

area, Darwin and adjacent coastal areas, far north Queensland, and northern Western

Australia. These areas share a number of characteristics, including relative remoteness,

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 297

low population densities and proximity to land areas beyond Australia where there

exist a number of pests and diseases of concern.

15.66. With greatly increased movement of ships, boats and people in the coastal

areas of northern Australia, it is in the national interest to ensure that surveillance and

quarantine activities are maintained, and if necessary strengthened. The gravity of

quarantine issues should be more widely recognised and accorded greater priority in

the national surveillance effort.

15.67. The Torres Strait - Cape York area presents unique difficulties for the

management of coastal zone resources and in relation to customs, quarantine and

immigration. The islands of the Strait form a physical link between mainland Australia

and Papua New Guinea: the Australian island of Saibai lies only about 4 kilometres

south of the Papua New Guinea mainland.

15.68. Under the terms of the Torres Strait Treaty, traditional inhabitants of the area

are allowed to travel freely within the Strait to trade and to visit relatives. The free

movement of traditional inhabitants throughout the Torres Strait and the movements of

others (including commercial and other fishers) present a serious risk of human-

assisted entry of pests, diseases and weeds to the Cape York region. Movement

between the islands of Torres Strait and to and from Papua New Guinea has been

made far easier and more common by the availability of outboard-motor-powered

dinghies. Trips between Saibai Island and coastal villages in Papua New Guinea, for

instance, which involve travel times as short as 10 to 15 minutes, are frequently made,

many of them at night and on weekends.

15.69. Among the main quarantine concerns in northern coastal areas are the threat of

introduction of the screw-worm fly and bluetongue disease, Newcastle disease and

avian influenza, the Asian honey bee (as a carrier of harmful mites), oriental and melon

fruit flies, citrus canker and Siam weed. The entry of these pests and diseases would

cause serious damage to Australia's livestock, poultry, honey and fruit-growing

industries. For example, the screw-worm fly (Chrysomya bezziana) can maim,

sterilise, cripple and kill any warm-blooded animal, including humans. It appears

periodically on the islands of Boigu and Saibai in Torres Strait

15.70. The Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service established the Northern

Australia Quarantine Strategy following a report on aerial littoral surveillance and

northern Australian quarantine strategy, prepared in 1987 by the Quarantine Review

Committee of the Department of Primary Industries and Energy — the interim report

of the Lindsay Committee (Quarantine Review Committee 1987). The report

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298 Surveillance and quarantine issues

proposed a stronger and better balanced quarantine strategy for northern Australia and

less reliance on coastal surveillance by Coastwatch. Specific recommendations

included the development of a strategy that would involve regular sampling and

surveys for pests, diseases and their vectors in northern Australia and, cooperatively, in

neighbouring countries; the active development of public awareness and cooperation in

the quarantine effort in northern Australia; and a particular emphasis on Torres Strait

15.71. As part of the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, the Service has

developed a special quarantine awareness campaign for northern Australia—'Top

Watch'—to raise community awareness of quarantine threats and to encourage people

to report possible occurrences of specific pests or disease or illegal landings by

traditional fishing boats or other vessels.

15.72. The Service and the Papua New Guinea Department of Agriculture have

agreed on a cooperative approach to keep pests, diseases and weeds that may be

present in Papua New Guinea out of Torres Strait and Australia. Quarantine scientists

and officers regularly visit the Western Province of Papua New Guinea to collect

information and to advise on how to detect and treat pests and diseases in local animals

and plants.

15.73. The Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy applies to the region north of a

line from Broome to Cairns and involves regular surveys of coastal areas of northern

Australia and offshore surveys in collaboration with the Governments of Indonesia and

Papua New Guinea, to monitor the pest and disease status of animals and plants in

nearby parts of those countries. Every month, sentinel herds, flocks and traps at

strategic places throughout northern Australia are monitored to detect the presence of

pests and diseases with the greatest potential to damage Australia's rural industries.

15.74. Quarantine operations across northern Australia are performed on behalf of

the Commonwealth Government by officers of the Queensland, Western Australian

and Northern Territory departments responsible for primary industries and agriculture.

These states and the Territory are responsible for the control or eradication of exotic

pests and diseases should they enter Australia. As part of the Northern Australia

Quarantine Strategy, the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service maintains a

quarantine buffer zone in the northern part of Cape York Peninsula. The zone has

been established to minimise the risk of spread of any animal pests and diseases that

might gain entry into the Torres Strait region of Queensland.

15.75. The loosely controlled movement of people in the region is a cause for

concern about the possibility of illegal immigration and health risks, particularly in

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 299

relation to such diseases as malaria, leprosy and tuberculosis. Although the

Department of Immigration and Ethnic Affairs has developed a community network in

Torres Strait to monitor and report possible illegal movements of people, there are

doubts about the extent to which such a network can be relied on to report the

movements of people with whom the communities concerned often have close social

connections. Instances of people from coastal areas of Papua New Guinea visiting

centres as far south as Cairns, having bypassed immigration, customs and quarantine

controls, are of particular concern.

15.76. The Lindsay Committee reports on Australian quarantine arrangements led to

a range of important changes, including the development of the current Northern

Australia Quarantine Strategy. The Committee's 1988 report noted that the quarantine

function had been subject to almost continual review during the previous decade and

that the number of reviews had been destabilising and time consuming and appeared to

have lowered the morale of some officers. Nevertheless, the Committee concluded

that the quarantine function should be subject to regular external review and

recommended that it be subject to major external review in 1994, but not before then

(Quarantine Review Committee, 1988 p. 175).

15.7 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

15.77. The great length of Australia's coastline, other physical constraints, and limited

resources available to government agencies mean that it will never be possible to

ensure the absolute effectiveness of national surveillance and enforcement programs.

But the issues and risks involved are of vital importance to Australia, from both an

environmental perspective and an economic perspective, and it is essential that

effective and efficient surveillance activities continue.

15.78. For a number of reasons, including its role as a border crossing and its relative

isolation, there is a need for a large number of Commonwealth and Queensland

government authorities to be represented in Torres Strait. The officers representing

these authorities are mostly based on Thursday Island, which serves as a regional

administrative and service centre, and there is a high degree of cooperation and

coordination between the officers. The Inquiry has heard considerable and persuasive

argument in support of the establishment of a higher level government presence in the

north of the Torres Strait region, which faces special resource management problems.

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300 Surveillance and quarantine issues

R.56 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government establish a base facility on Saibai Island for use by officers of the Commonwealth representing immigration, quarantine and customs interests in the area. This facility should be staffed continuously, possibly by one or two officials holding delegated powers to represent more than one of those interests;

members of local indigenous communities be trained and employed as part­ time quarantine monitoring and reporting staff, and that the employment of quarantine assistants on Yorke, Saibai, Badu and Damley Islands be continued.

15.79. Although increasing concern about the need for enhancing Coastwatch's

capacity in relation to surveillance of night-time movements is yet to be reflected in the

policy determinations of the Coastwatch client agencies, the Inquiry has received

convincing evidence of the need to enhance night-time surveillance capability,

particularly in Torres Strait. A night-time surveillance capability is also essential for

proper protection against illegal fishing operations in important conservation zones in

the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. A sufficiently resourced effort is needed to

counter this problem, rather than just a continuation of monitoring activities.

R.57The Inquiry recommends that

the night-time civil surveillance and interception capabilities of agencies with enforcement responsibilities in northern coastal areas be increased, including as a high priority the equipping of Coastwatch with night-vision capacity appropriate for use in the Torres Strait region and in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park;

adequate funding be allocated for the provision of aircraft with advanced detection capabilities and for their use in support of enforcement action in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

15.80. The threat of introduction to Australia of serious diseases and pests that are

present in South East Asia and Papua New Guinea, and the potentially very great

environmental and economic costs that would be incurred should those diseases and

pests become established here, require that Australia's quarantine strategy be reviewed

frequently. Frequent review and consideration of objectives and approaches are

fundamental to the application of a strategic approach to these issues.

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Surveillance and quarantine issues 301

R.58 The Inquiry recommends that

consistent with the recommendations of the 1988 Lindsay Committee report, Australia's quarantine strategy be subject to a major external review in 1994;

the review focus mainly on the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, with particular emphasis on the adequacy of resources available for effective quarantine measures in northern Australia and include consideration of the adequacy of current measures to minimise the risk of

introduction of pests and diseases through illegal immigration and through the mo vement of people in the Torres Strait Protected Zone.

15.81. At present, limited support is provided by the Department of Defence to civil

surveillance activities in northern Australia. The Inquiry was advised that there are

resources available to the Department of Defence in northern Australia, particularly in

the Torres Strait area, which could be used to further supplement civil surveillance

resources without detriment to their own responsibilities.

15.82. In relation to the question of Defence support,

R.59 The Inquiry recommends that

the Department of Defence and Coastwatch review their current coordination and support arrangements to determine ways in which the Defence Forces, particularly the Australian Army, could provide greater support to civil surveillance and possibly civil enforcement 'tastings',

particularly in remote regions of northern Australia, including Cape York and Torres Strait.

15.83. There is an urgent need for further research into the potential effects of exotic

pests and diseases introduced to Australian waters through ballast water discharges,

into strategies for the management and possible eradication of such introduced pests

and diseases, and into ways of preventing the introduction of other pests and diseases.

This research should be closely coordinated with the research being undertaken by

other affected countries.

R.60 The Inquiry recommends that

the arrangements that have been established to manage the current research program into the management and possible eradication of exotic marine pests and diseases introduced through ballast water discharge and into ways of preventing the introduction of other pests and diseases be

maintained and that funding be provided by the Commonwealth to ensure continuation of the research program until it has achieved its objectives.

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302 Surveillance and quarantine issues

15.84. Effective arrangements for handling ballast water can be established only if a

set of national guidelines is adopted by all relevant authorities.

R.61 The Inquiry recommends that

the domestic guidelines for handling ballast water drafted by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service be adopted by all Australian governments having responsibility for shipping and ports administration.

15.85. Although enforcement of fishing regulations in remote areas is difficult

because of the limited resources available to fisheries authorities, breaches of

regulations are a cause of great concern to many people and organisations. These

include indigenous people who live in these areas and have particular interests in the

management of local fisheries; fishing management authorities; resource managers such

as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; and commercial and recreational

fishing organisations. The potential for conflicts arising from failure to enforce existing

laws and regulations is very great. Action is required by governments to remedy the

situation.

R.62 The Inquiry recommends that

the Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture conduct an urgent review of options for dealing with breaches of fisheries regulations in all state and Commonwealth waters;

this review be undertaken in conjunction with Commonwealth and state fisheries authorities, the National Fishing Industry Council, the Australian Recreational and Sport Fishing Confederation, and representatives of indigenous communities.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 16 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM AND OTHER NATIONAL STRATEGIES

16.01. Many strategies relevant to the management of coastal zone resources have

been, or are being developed and administered by agencies that will play important

roles in implementing the National Coastal Action Program. To ensure that effective

and efficient outcomes are achieved, it is imperative that implementation of the National

Coastal Action Program be integrated with these strategies. There is considerable

scope for coordination of existing strategies. The institutional and administrative

arrangements proposed in Chapter 8 will provide mechanisms for achieving

coordination of these strategies. This chapter considers aspects of existing and

proposed strategies that warrant particular attention in implementing the Program.

16.02. Section 16.1 discusses a number of relevant national strategies and their

relationship to the National Coastal Action Plan. Section 16.2 deals with the National

Landcare Program. Section 16.3 discusses strategy integration, and in Section 16.4

conclusions are reached and recommendations made. Appendix G provides information

about other national and Commonwealth programs that are relevant to the management

of coastal zone resources.

16.1 RELEVANT NATIONAL STRATEGIES

16.03. In addition to the strategies that focus directly on the building, tourism and

mariculture sectors—the National Housing Strategy, the draft National Strategy on

Aquaculture and the National Tourism Strategy —a number of other important national

strategies are relevant to the management of coastal zone resources:

• the National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development;

• the National Water Quality Management Strategy;

• the National Greenhouse Response Strategy;

• the draft National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity;

• the National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy;

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306 Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies

• the Australian National Strategy for the Conservation of Australian Species and

Communities Threatened with Extinction;

• the draft National Policy for Recreational Fishing;

• the National Strategy on Land Information Management

National Housing Strategy

16.04. The overall objective of the National Housing Strategy is to develop a policy

framework to provide Australians with more affordable housing that better caters for

individual needs. The Strategy was prepared by the then Department of Health,

Housing and Community Services with assistance from the National Housing Strategy

Advisory Committee, comprising representatives of Commonwealth and state

governments, educational institutions and the building industry. The initiatives

outlined in the final report of the Strategy have been the subject of recent consultations

with state and territory governments and other key stakeholders; it is expected they

will be endorsed by the relevant ministerial forums and by the Council of Australian

Governments by December 1993.

16.05. The Strategy advocates an integrated and cooperative approach to providing

housing. Three strategic objectives were developed: to expand the range of housing

types and the supply of affordable housing; to develop more efficient and effective

housing provision and land development processes; and to develop urban forms

compatible with broader national goals while ensuring that development is sustainable

and of suitable quality for dwelling. A range of policies, actions and targets for each

objective was developed.

16.06. The Strategy proposes that inappropriate building regulations be reviewed and

that residential development regulations and building codes be reformed to rely more

on performance criteria than on rigid development standards. It suggests that land

release and development processes could be streamlined through integrating planning,

regulatory and land development processes, and increased flexibility in land titling. It

recommends establishing a cooperative national approach between all governments and

the private sector. Increased research is also proposed to enable the establishment of

national minimum standards and targets to facilitate achievement of the Strategy's objectives.

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______ Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies 307

Draft National Strategy on Aquaculture

16.07. The Australian and New Zealand Fisheries and Aquaculture Council released

the draft National Strategy on Aquaculture in April 1993. The draft Strategy's

principal aims are to overcome current constraints on the industry and to create an

overall environment in which the industry can capitalise on its advantages. In pursuing

these aims, the draft Strategy proposes ten goals:

• establishment of a National Aquaculture Industry Council with associated sector

bodies;

• greater cooperation between the aquaculture industry and the commercial fisheries

industry;

• establishment of lead agencies within federal and state governments to provide a

focus for consultation with industry and for planning and review of policies;

• managing the industry in accordance with the principles of ecologically sustainable

development;

• accommodation of the industry's need for access to land and water resources;

• allocation of adequate funding for'research and development;

• ensuring that the industry is able to assess and respond to market requirements;

• provision of education and training to meet the diverse needs of the industry;

• provision of appropriate extension services;

• establishment of appropriate controls on the movement and introduction of aquatic

organisms.

16.08. A number of these proposals are consistent with the objectives of the National

Coastal Action Program, including the development of streamlined approvals

processes, provision of codes of conduct for aquaculture practitioners, improved

coordination and targeting of research, the development of strategies, changes to

statutory planning processes to include provision of areas for the industry, and

establishment o f ecological and socio-economic criteria for siting and operating

aquaculture facilities.

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308 Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies

National Tourism Strategy

16.09. The National Tourism Strategy was prepared by the Commonwealth

Department of Tourism in consultation with state and territory governments,

Commonwealth agencies, the tourism industry and other relevant interest groups (see

Box 16.1). The Strategy is designed to provide a foundation for tourism policy

development in the future, reflecting the objective of developing a competitive and

sustainable tourism industry that contributes to national economic, environmental and

social well-being (Department of Tourism 1992). The Strategy incorporates a regional

approach to tourism planning and management

16.10. The goals and sub-strategies contained in the National Tourism Strategy are

broadly consistent with the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. There

are, however, some significant areas that are not dealt with by the Strategy. For

instance, there is no specific reference to the need for tourism development to have a

long-term focus to ensure that environmental degradation is avoided. The Strategy’s

general goals mention 'broad brush' considerations such as sustainable development

and harmonisation of development with the environment, but specific issues such as

conservation of biodiversity, heritage, marine and terrestrial ecosystems and water

quality are not explicitly discussed. The Strategy does not include principles that

tourism operators can apply to tourism developments in an effort to achieve the stated

goals.

National Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development

16.11. The N ational Strategy for Ecologically Sustainable Development supports

processes of development that will improve total quality of life, both now and in the

future, in a way that maintains the ecological processes on which life depends. It seeks

to enhance individual and community welfare by following a path of economic

development that safeguards the welfare of future generations, to provide for equity

within and between generations, and to protect biological diversity and maintain

essential ecological processes and life-support systems. The Strategy is of special

significance among the many national strategies and programs considered by the

Inquiry because the philosophy it espouses underpins the approach of all Australian

governments to the development and management of natural resources.

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Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies 309

Box 16.1 National Tourism Strategy goals

The National Tourism Strategy aims to provide direction for government policy and industry planning for the future development of tourism in Australia. Development of the Strategy involved extensive consultation between all spheres of government, industry and other relevant interest groups.

Goals The strategy contains four goals, covering economic, environmental, social and industry support aspects.

• To optimise the tourism industry’s contribution to national income, employment growth and the balance of payments by creating a favourable economic environment for industry development

• To provide for sustainable development by encouraging responsible planning and management practices consistent with the conservation of our natural and cultural heritage.

• To enhance access to quality tourism experiences and ensure favourable social outcomes of tourism by diversifying the product base, raising industry standards and protecting the public interest

• To provide and encourage the necessary promotional, planning, coordination, research and statistical support to assist the industry's development

One of the main aims of the Strategy is to ensure that the tourism industry takes advantage of the growth prospects of tourism and their potential benefits for the Australian economy. The document outlines a number of strategies for the future development of the industry in a number of areas, including marketing, research and coordination; economic and business issues; transportation and

facilitation; training employment and standards; environmental and social issues; and accommodation and market segments. One of the strategies is to 'Develop a Commonwealth coastal policy and a Commonwealth approach to a national coastal strategy that takes account of tourism and other interests'.

Source: Department of Tourism (1992),_____________________________ ____ _________________

16.12. The reports of nine sectoral working groups, comprising representatives of

government agencies and industry, environment, union, welfare and consumer groups,

provided the foundation on which the Intergovernmental Ecologically Sustainable

Development Steering Committee coordinated the development of the Strategy. In

May 1992 Heads of Government released the draft strategy for public comment; the

final version was endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments in December

1992. The Steering Committee is responsible for coordinating actions related to the

Strategy.

16.13. The actions identified in the Strategy that relate to the management of coastal

zone resources, such as biodiversity and nature conservation, can be implemented

through joint agreement between all spheres of government to the objectives,

mechanisms and institutional arrangements proposed in the National Coastal Action

Program. As far as practicable the implementation of those parts of the Strategy that

relate to or affect coastal zone resource uses should be achieved by incorporation in

local and regional strategies, as discussed in Chapter 11, and by incorporation in

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310 Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies

development approval systems and environmental impact assessments, as discussed in

Chapter 12.

National Water Quality Management Strategy

16.14. The National Water Quality Management Strategy aims to achieve sustainable

use of the nation’s water resources by protecting and enhancing their quality while

maintaining economic and social development. Most of the Strategy's components are

in draft form, with the exception of the Australian Water Quality Guidelines for Fresh

and Marine Waters released in November 1992. The Strategy is being prepared and

administered jointly by the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation

Council and the Agriculture and Resource Management Council of Australia and New

Zealand. The Australian Water Resources Council, replaced by the Agriculture and

Resource Management Council of Australia and New Zealand in 1993, was initially

involved in preparing the Strategy.

16.15. The Strategy is based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development

and seeks to develop water quality goals that accommodate community values, to

assess community returns on public water resources, and to adopt a systems approach

to water quality management and a more efficient decision-making process.

16.16. The management of resources to maintain water quality is a significant element

of coastal management tasks. The following proposals contained in drafts of the Water

Quality Strategy are particularly relevant to management issues discussed in this report:

• the need for regional land and water management planning;

• the importance of considering community values and preferred uses;

• the need for community participation and education if decision making is to be

effective;

• the premise that efficiency of resource use is the basis of sustainable use of the

nation's water resources;

• the use of land use planning measures as part of management strategies;

• the need for a more thorough knowledge o f land capability when developing

regional management strategies.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies 311

16.17. Although the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program are wider than

those of the National Water Quality Management Strategy, improvement of water

quality is a fundamental part of the Program. It is therefore necessary that

implementation of the Strategy be closely coordinated with implementation of the

Program. At the national level, this can be achieved by establishing formal relationships

between the Agriculture and Resources Management Council of Australia and New

Zealand, the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council and

the National Coastal Management Agency. Responsibility for most of the decision

making relating to water resources will remain in state government hands, with

substantial delegations of responsibilities to state agencies and local governments. It is

therefore essential that water management agencies in each state are represented on

state coastal coordinating committees (see Chapter 8).

National Greenhouse Response Strategy

16.18. The National Greenhouse Response Strategy seeks to contribute to effective

global action to limit greenhouse gas emissions and enhance gas sinks, to improve

knowledge and understanding of the enhanced greenhouse effect, and to prepare

strategies for dealing with the potential impacts of climate change in Australia. The

National Greenhouse Steering Committee, with representation from all spheres of

government, developed and released the Strategy, which was endorsed by the Council

of Australian Governments in December 1992. It sets out objectives and a phased plan

of action relating to twelve matters: energy supply, household energy use, industrial and

commercial energy use, transport, urban and transport planning, agriculture, natural

environment, adaptation, research into climate change and impacts of response options,

community information and education, community involvement and responsibility, and

implementation, monitoring, evaluation and review of the Strategy.

Draft National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's Biological Diversity

16.19. The goal of the draft National Strategy for the Conservation of Australia's

Biological Diversity is to ensure that Australia's biological diversity survives and

flourishes. The draft Strategy is being prepared by the Biological Diversity Advisory

Committee and the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation

Council Task Force and is expected to be finalised late in 1993.

16.20. The draft Strategy contains six target areas requiring action: improving

knowledge, strengthening conservation activities, achieving sustainable use of

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

312 Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies

biological resources, minimising impacts arising from use, increasing public awareness,

and promoting international action.

16.21. Many of the objectives, principles and actions proposed as part of the draft

Strategy are consistent with those of the National Coastal Action Program and will

support improved management in the coastal zone. The mechanisms and arrangements

embodied in the Program will provide a sound basis for implementing programs to

conserve coastal biological diversity. For example, the regional biodiversity plans

recommended in the draft Strategy could be included as elements of the regional coastal

strategies recommended in Chapter 11 of this report.

16.22. A number of other actions proposed in the draft Strategy are consistent with

recommendations made in this report:

• a three-year program to coordinate and collate available data and identify gaps in

knowledge about the diversity of species;

• development and implementation of a marine conservation and management

strategy for coastal waters, including mechanisms to minimise the impacts of coastal

development, land-based pollutants, shipping and harvesting of marine resources;

• mechanisms to improve management in urban areas, closely settled environments

and the coastal zone in general;

• improved control of exotic species;

• enhanced environmental impact assessment and strategic planning processes,

including improved public participation and consideration of cumulative impacts in

regional planning processes;

• integrated national policies for resource uses such as forestry, fisheries, agriculture,

pastoralism and tourism, to be implemented on a regional basis.

National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy

16.23. The goals of the National Waste Minimisation and Recycling Strategy are to

encourage the efficient use of resources, to reduce potential hazards to human health

and the environment posed by pollution and wastes, and to maintain or improve

environmental quality. The Commonwealth Environment Protection Agency is

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategics 313

responsible for implementing and evaluating the Strategy, while actions that require

state and territory government cooperation are to be pursued through either the

Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council or the National

Environment Protection Agency.

16.24. Many of the Strategy's actions are directly relevant to coastal zone

management and are consistent with recommendations made in this report:

establishment of extensive local, state and national monitoring systems; reform of

approval and other regulatory processes; establishment of enforceable national water

and air quality standards; examination of fiscal and pricing issues, including cost

incentives and constraints; education and information initiatives, including curriculum

development and extension services; amendments to planning procedures and waste

disposal agreements; and improved local government access to information.

An Australian National Strategy for the Conservation of Australian Species and Communities Threatened with Extinction

16.25. The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment requires the Australian

and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council to develop and report on a

strategy for a national approach to the protection of rare, vulnerable and endangered

species. Although a strategy has not yet been finalised, a paper prepared by the

Endangered Species Advisory Committee in 1989 has been released to facilitate the

process.

16.26. The overall aims are to ensure that endangered and vulnerable species and

ecological communities survive, flourish and retain their genetic diversity and potential

for evolutionary development in their natural habitats, and that further endangerment of

species and ecological communities is prevented. The proposed strategy is intended to

form a key element in the broader Biological Diversity Strategy by directing attention

to cases of imminent threat to genetic diversity.

16.27. The strategy proposes a range of actions, consistent with the National Coastal

Action Program, to address the issue of species extinction; for example,

• using integrated management plans as a means of improving the management of

identified risk areas or habitats, •

• using the knowledge and management skills of indigenous people in recovery plans

for priority species,

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

314 Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies

• ensuring that endangered species are adequately taken into account in

environmental impact assessments,

• using measures to improve the knowledge base and supporting database

coordination and exchange of information,

• providing support for community networks in all parts of society.

Draft National Policy for Recreational Fishing

16.28. The draft National Policy for Recreational Fishing aims to maintain the quality

of the recreational fishing experience while maintaining and enhancing fish stocks and

their habitats. It recognises the importance of ecologically sustainable development

principles and seeks to maintain environmental quality to support recreational fisheries.

The draft Policy was prepared in 1992 by the National Recreational Fisheries Working

Group of the Australian and New Zealand Fisheries and Aquaculture Council. It

incorporates many principles that are consistent with the principles of the National

Coastal Action Program, among them total fisheries management, environment

protection, government stewardship, inter-generational equity, accommodation of

conservation and other non-exploitative uses, community consultation, promotion of a

conservation ethic, and adequate funding for integrated resource and environmental

management strategies.

National Strategy on Land Information Management

16.29. The National Strategy on Land Information Management seeks to encourage

cost-effective access to land information in order to create a sound basis for effective

land management It applies to all spheres of government and the private sector and

provides mechanisms for efficient data transfer. The Australian and New Zealand Land

Information Council developed the Strategy in accordance with the requirements of the

Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment

16.30. The broad aims of the Strategy are to establish a national approach to land

information management, to identify procedural and policy principles for more effective

land information management, and to provide guidelines for developing effective data

access and transfer mechanisms.

16.31. Key actions proposed under the Strategy focus on Intergovernmental and inter­

agency cooperation; the confidentiality and security of information; a business approach

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies 315

to data transfer; training and employment; responsibilities for data integrity;

documenting the availability of land information; standards for acquiring, organising,

integrating and transferring land information; and creating, marketing and promoting

land information products and services.

16.32. The promotion of an efficient land and resource information system is critical

to the improvement of coastal resource management. The Strategy is generally

consistent with the recommendations put forward in Chapter 14 of this report.

16.2 NATIONAL LANDCARE PROGRAM

16.33. The National Landcare Program draws together a range of land, water and

vegetation-related activities funded by the Department of Primary Industries and

Energy and the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories. Among the

programs included in the Landcare Program are the Land and Water Programs, the

National Property Management Planning Campaign, One Billion Trees, Save the Bush,

and the Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Program. The

programs were combined to reduce administrative inefficiencies and the potential for

duplication: they have similar objectives and an inter-related clientele. The National

Landcare Program is based on a strategic and coordinated approach to natural

resource management, as provided for in the Natural Resources Management

(Financial Assistance) Act 1992. National priorities and goals have been set, under

which state governments develop strategies to deal with related issues. Projects are

evaluated and endorsed through a process of community, industry, public and private

agency and interest group consultation. The Program also aims to develop an

improved knowledge, skills and information base for landowners to use in managing

and planning their operations.

16.34. Community groups are encouraged to responsibly manage and conserve land

and water resources, biological diversity, and cultural heritage in their local area. In

particular, the Program provides funding for projects that contribute to land, water or

remnant vegetation management or vegetation restoration. It has been established to

support key national priorities such as enhancing regional viability and sustainable

resource use, improved integrated resource and environmental planning, reforms to

resource management policies and programs, increased public participation in land

conservation, and demonstration of innovative Australian technologies.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

316 Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies

16.35. The National Landcare Advisory Committee was formed to advise on

priorities and directions for Commonwealth government involvement in Landcare and

to provide a means for communicating community views to Commonwealth ministers.

16.36. The Inquiry's recommendations for a Coastcare program, discussed in

Chapter 9 are consistent with the objectives of and the arrangements for implementing

the National Landcare Program.

16.3 INTEGRATION OF STRATEGIES

16.37. The Inquiry has examined a wide range of national strategies and programs

related to management of coastal zone resources and has taken them into account in

developing the National Coastal Action Program. The objectives, mechanisms and

approaches supported by many of these strategies and programs are generally

consistent with the actions required to achieve integrated management of Australia’s

coastal resources; they are therefore consistent with the National Coastal Action

Program.

16.38. The strategies and programs have been developed to deal with particular

issues. Specific attention has not been given to integration with other programs and

policies. Integrated management of resources in the coastal zone requires that the

implementation of the programs be closely linked to ensure that the strategies are

pursued in a coordinated way.

16.39. In many cases the coastal zone is only part of the concern of existing strategies

and programs. For example, the management of coastal waterways and estuaries is

only part of the focus of the National Landcare Program, which extends across the

entire country. But, because the Landcare Program will assist in achieving improved

coastal zone management, including improved water quality in the coastal zone, it will

make an important contribution to meeting the objectives of the National Coastal

Action Program.

16.40. Since the broad directions of existing and proposed national strategies and

programs are consistent with the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program

the mechanisms and institutional arrangements proposed in this report provide a means

of dealing with those elements of these strategies and programs that affect the coastal

zone. The National Coastal Management Agency will provide the principal forum for

coordinating and monitoring the inter-relationships with other strategies and programs.

State and Commonwealth coastal coordinating committees can play an important role,

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Relationship between the National Coastal Action Program and other national strategies 317

too. Once established, the local and regional management strategies proposed under

the National Coastal Action Program will provide coordinating mechanisms for the

implementation of strategies and will allow for better monitoring and evaluation of

strategies.

16.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATION

16.41. The strategies mentioned in this chapter are generally consistent with the

objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program. It is important that

the further development and implementation of those strategies in the coastal zone is

coordinated with the Program. Implementation of the National Coastal Action

Program should be integrated with the implementation of other strategies, programs

and initiatives affecting the resources of the coastal zone.

R.63 The Inquiry recommends that

as existing national strategies, programs and other initiatives that affect the use of resources in the coastal zone are further developed and implemented, the agencies concerned ensure that these strategies, programs and initiatives are consistent with the objectives and principles for coastal zone management agreed to by the Council of Australian

Governments;

monitoring of the implementation and impacts of other strategies and programs be carried out by the National Coastal Management Agency in coordination with the agencies responsible for those strategies and in conjunction with state coastal coordinating committees and the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

'■ ■ ■

CHAPTER 17 FUNDING

17.01. Adequate financial resources are critical to achieving the objectives of the

National Coastal Action Program. It is equally important that funds are well directed

and spent effectively and efficiently.

17.02. Summary estimates of expenditures on coastal zone resource management by

the three spheres of government are provided in Section 4.3. Section 17.1 provides

additional information about the coastal management expenditures of governments in

1991-92, the last year for which a reasonably reliable estimate can be made. Section

17.2 discusses the options for funding of the National Coastal Action Program and

Section 17.3 contains estimates of the funds required. Conclusions are reached and

recommendations made in Section 17.4.

17.1 CURRENT FUNDING ARRANGEMENTS

17.03. It is difficult to estimate government expenditure on coastal zone management

because most expenditure either is subsumed in programs that are not spatially focused

or is distributed among agencies that share responsibilities for management. The lack

of consolidated data makes it difficult for government agencies to monitor and evaluate

expenditures and to set expenditure targets and priorities, both individually and in

association with other government agencies.

17.04. The estimates made by this Inquiry are the first attempt to identify financial

information about coastal zone management on a national scale, so it is inevitable that

there will be some errors in the calculations. The estimates do, however, appear to be

reliable indicators of the orders of magnitude involved. Further information about

funding arrangements is provided in Information Paper No. 7 (RAC 1993d).

Expenditure by state government agencies

17.05. Table 17.1 provides estimates of aggregate expenditure by state government

agencies on coastal zone management in 1991-92 and the sources of funds for this

expenditure. Water and sewerage and drainage services dominate spending by state

agencies, accounting for 38 per cent and 36 per cent respectively of total state

expenditure. Other important areas of expenditure are port facilities and management

of land and marine resources.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

320 Funding

17.06. Extensive cost recovery arrangements exist in the three main areas of state

expenditure: water, sewerage and drainage, and ports. For most other items the main

source of funds is allocations from state budgets. Commonwealth tied grants

constitute a relatively small source of funds for state expenditure on coastal zone

management and are devoted mainly to land and marine resources management; for

example, payments under the Commonwealth-state partnership component of the

National Landcare Program.

17.07. The Victorian and Western Australian governments have delegated the

management of, and financial responsibility for, some coastal Crown land, water and

associated facilities to committees of management or various types of statutory

authorities and trusts. For example, committees of management in Victoria are

involved in the management of parks and reserves and generate much of their own

revenue from user charges such as camping and entrance fees, and through lease fees

for private operators of facilities such as kiosks and boat clubs; it is estimated that

these committees have an annual turnover of approximately $20 million (RAC 1993d).

The financial transactions of these committees are not included in Table 17.1.

Table 17.1 Estimates of state government coastal zone management expenditure, 1991-92

Expenditure. f S m f __________ Funding sources < % )

Expenditure classification Current Capital Total Own3 Fees &

levies

Cthb Other

Strategic policy and planning 73 0 73 95 0 5 0

Coastal protection and 8 30 38 100 0 0 0

stabilisation Coastal facilities and management 6 0 6 85 10 0 5

Land resources management 320 80 400 45 50 5 0

Marine resources management 155 76 231 65 25 10 0

Port facilities and management 556 109 665 5 95 0 0

Water services 1406 691 2 097 2 98 0 0

Sewerage and drainage services 1 360 630 1990 5 95 0 0

Total 3 884 1 616 5 500 11 88 1 0

a b

General state budget funds. Commonwealth contributions in the form of specific-purpose payments. These contributions are excluded from the expenditure figures to avoid double counting in state and Commonwealth estimates.

Source: RAC (1993d).

Local government expenditures

17.08. Table 17.2 provides estimates of aggregate expenditure by local governments

on coastal zone management in 1991-92 and the sources of funds for this expenditure.

The estimates are based mainly on 1988-89 data adjusted for inflation; standardised

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Funding 321

data for years since then are not available. The estimates and analysis therefore do not

take into account changes in the level or pattern of expenditure after 1988-89. In

most states water and sewerage services are provided mainly by state government

public trading authorities; their expenditures are shown in Table 17.1. Expenditure on

water and sewerage by local government authorities is included under Other' in

Table 17.2.

Table 17.2 Estimates of local government coastal zone management expenditure, 1991-92

Expenditure f$m~) __________Funding sources ( % )

Expenditure classification Current Capital Total Owna Grants Loans Charges

Sanitation 505 45 550 45 0 2 53

Sewerage*1 10 4 14 0 16 0 84

Urban stormwater drainage 29 60 89 49 6 35 10

Other protection of the environment0 9 15 24 10 37 44 9

Community and regional 115 22 137 87 1 3 9

development Other community amenities1* 50 28 78 63 6 13 18

Building control 85 4 89 97 0 0 3

Other® 492 289 781 0 3 4 93

Total 1295 467 1762 31 3 5 61

a Mainly rate revenue plus a relatively small contribution from general purpose-grants from the Commonwealth and state governments. b Excludes transactions classified as public trading activities. c Includes flood mitigation works, beach restoration, foreshore protection, and so on. d Includes water supply, public conveniences, and so on.

e Includes water and sewage services provided by public trading authorities in Queensland, Tasmania and parts of New South Wales. Note: Figures based on 1988-89 data adjusted for inflation, except for expenditures in Other', which are based on 1991-92 data.

Source: RAC (1993d)._____________________ ___________________________________

17.09. Excluding the activities of trading authorities, more than half of local

government coastal zone management expenditure is on sanitation, including garbage

collection and disposal and the cleaning of streets, foreshores and recreation areas.

Another major area of expenditure is community and regional development, which

includes planning, land clearing and reclamation, and urban and rural renewal

programs. Table 17.2 excludes expenditure on roads, which is a major component of

spending by local government authorities in the coastal zone.

17.10. Revenue from charges, mainly water and sewerage charges, accounts for

61 per cent of overall expenditure. Rates are an important source of funds for

non-public trading activities; for example, building control, community and regional

development, and other community amenities. Tied grants from the Commonwealth

and the states account for only 3 per cent of overall coastal management outlays but

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

322 Funding

represent a major proportion of funding for a few activities, especially environment

protection works such as flood mitigation, beach restoration and foreshore protection.

Commonwealth government expenditures

17.11. Table 17.3 summarises Commonwealth expenditure on coastal zone

management in 1991-92 and the sources of funds for this expenditure. Approximately

70 per cent of the $373 million spent on coastal zone management in 1991-92 was on

offshore activities: marine resources management, marine research and geoscience,

coastal surveillance, and navigation, sea safety and search and rescue programs. About

30 per cent of total expenditure was on marine research and geoscience; for example,

spending by the CSIRO, the Australian Geological Survey Organisation, the Australian

Institute of Marine Science, and the Royal Australian Navy's Hydrographic Service.

With the exception of nearly $24 million for repairs and maintenance of defence

facilities in coastal areas, which is included in 'Coastal infrastructure', other expenditure

by the Department of Defence is excluded from Table 17.3.

17.12. About one-quarter of Commonwealth expenditure on coastal zone

management in 1991-92 was on coastal catchment activities. This proportion would

increase substantially if road funding to state and local governments were included; in

1991-92 the Commonwealth provided approximately $1.7 billion for roads

nationwide. Foreshore management activities accounted for only about 6 per cent of

Commonwealth expenditure.

17.13. Although most Commonwealth activities are financed from general budget

allocations, some programs are designed to attract or supplement resources from

external sources; for example, through industry levies, cost-sharing arrangements with

other arms of government and non-government organisations, and charges or fees for

services. Nearly one-quarter of Commonwealth expenditure on coastal zone

management is funded from external sources; for example, expenditure on navigation

services by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority is fully funded by a levy on

shipping, and expenditure on fisheries research and management by the Fisheries

Research and Development Corporation and the Australian Fisheries Management

Authority is partly funded by a levy on commercial fisheries. Agencies such as the

CSIRO, the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority and the Australian Nature

Conservation Agency obtain increasing proportions of their budgets from external

sources, including fees and charges.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Funding 323

Table 17.3 Estimates of Commonwealth coastal zone management expenditure, 1991-92

Expenditure classification

Expenditure f.tml Fundinp source <%)

Total Own3

Fees/ charges Levies Other

Policy and Planning 9 100

Marine resources management 58 68 3 20 9

Marine research*3 66 74 14 1 11

Coastal infrastructure 67 100

Land and water management 35 100

Marine geoscience 46 97 3

Other6 92 57 43

Total 373 79 4 14 3

a General budget allocations. b Excludes approximately $30 million for defence-related maritime research by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation. c Mainly expenditure of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, such as on navigation services

($40 million) and search and rescue operations ($22 million), and the Australian Customs Service's Coastwatch ($23.6 million).

Source: RAC (1993d).________________________________________________________________

17.14. Figure 17.1 shows estimates of expenditure by major Commonwealth

portfolios involved in coastal management The greatest outlays are made by the

Department of Primary Industries and Energy, which accounted for 20 per cent

($76 million) of total expenditure on coastal management in 1991-92. Expenditure on

fisheries management constituted over half of this amount and marine geoscience a

further 27 per cent. Other major portfolios engaged in coastal zone management are

Transport and Communications; Defence; Industry, Technology and Regional

Development; the Environment, Sport and Territories; and Health, Housing, Local

Government and Community Services.

17.15. In 1991-92 the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and

Community Services spent $41.5 million on integrated urban development projects in

the coastal zone under the Building Better Cities program; this expenditure is included

in 'Coastal infrastructure' in Table 17.1. Since 1992-93 the Department has assumed a

more important role because of an acceleration in the Building Better Cities program

and the introduction of the Local Capital Works Program.

17.16. Under the Building Better Cities program, the Commonwealth has committed

up to $816 million over five years to support urban development initiatives involving

total expenditure in the order of $2.2 billion, the balance being met by the states and

local governments. Many of the initiatives have a direct impact on the coastal zone;

for example, upgrading of sewer, water and drainage infrastructure and improved

waste management. Although the Commonwealth component of the Building Better

Cities program is nominally funded through untied grants, the funds are provided on

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

324 Funding

Figure 17.1 Coastal zone management expenditure, by Commonwealth portfolio, 1991-92

Total: $373m

Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services: 12%

Environment, Sport and Territories: 13%

Other: 7%

Defence: 15%

Primary Industries and Energy: 20%

Transport and Communications: 18%

Industry, Technology and Regional Development: 15%

Source: RAC (1993d).

the basis of formal agreements with state governments, detailing each area strategy,

what that strategy aims to achieve, and monitoring and evaluation criteria. The states

are expected to work closely with local governments in planning and implementing the

program.

17.17. Under the Local Capital Works Program the Commonwealth provides tied

grants directly to local government for the construction of economic and social

infrastructure in areas of high unemployment. In 1992-93 the Commonwealth directed

$297 million to this Program, approximately $260 million of this being allocated to

coastal councils, including metropolitan councils. Approval for specific projects is

subject to several criteria apart from unemployment rates, including prospects for early

implementation and completion of projects, inability to acquire funds from alternative

sources, and a contribution of between 10 and 20 per cent in cash or kind by the

council or local community.

17.18. The Commonwealth's involvement in some areas of coastal zone management

is intended to be of limited duration. The Local Capital Works Program is expected to

last for two years. Outlays on the National Landcare Program are expected to decline

from $87 million in 1993-94 to approximately $57 million in 1996-97; the underlying

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Funding 325

approach here is to foster a gradual transfer of responsibility to the community, with

Commonwealth funding essentially in the form of 'seed' money.

17.2 OPTIONS FOR FUNDING THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION

PROGRAM

17.19. The following are the main options for funding the Program without increasing

budget outlays:

• pursuing efficiencies in other areas of expenditure;

• reallocating priorities within existing budgets;

• implementing additional revenue-raising measures;

• seeking greater community and corporate support for the Program.

These options are discussed in the remainder of this section.

Increased efficiencies

17.20. Increased efficiencies in public sector management are currently being pursued

as part of micro-economic reform. They arise in two main ways: productivity gains

obtained through improved work and management practices (such as award

restructuring and contracting out of services); and reductions in costs as unnecessary

services and activities are eliminated. In the case of coastal zone management,

duplication of work can be eliminated if responsibilities for management are better

defined and integrated management principles are established and followed, as

proposed in this report. Greater efficiencies may be available from initiatives such as

the adoption of forward planning approaches, greater cooperation between

government agencies, and a clarification of management objectives and responsibilities

(see RAC 1993d).

Reallocating priorities within budgets

17.21. Once the National Coastal Action Program has been agreed by the Council of

Australian Governments, coastal management agencies will need to review their

priorities, including associated expenditures and revenue sources to ensure that the

objectives are met in an effective and efficient way. As a result of these reviews, funds

may become available through reallocations within individual agencies, from within the

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

326 Funding

revenues raised by government agencies and local authorities, and from grants made by

Commonwealth and state governments.

17.22. In particular, the states and the Commonwealth should examine their

expenditure priorities and objectives in a number of important functional areas from

which coastal management expenditures derive, among them environment protection,

urban and regional development, national estates and parks, and natural resources

development and management. Table 17.4 shows that overall Commonwealth outlays

in these areas exceed $6 billion in 1993-94 but are expected to decline substantially in

the next three fiscal years. This reflects, among other things, the expiry of funding for

the Local Capital Works Program and initiatives in the December 1992 Environment

Statement, and the 'seeding' approach to funding incorporated in some of these

programs. Nevertheless, a number of Commonwealth programs may be able to

provide funds for components of the National Coastal Action Program as part of their

appropriations over the next three years.

Implementing additional revenue-raising measures

17.23. Chapter 13 discusses the potential role of economic and financial instruments

in achieving integrated management of coastal zone resources. Although these

instruments are often used to improve resource allocation, instruments such as special

levies and user charges are also important financing tools: pricing policies that aim to

recover costs or provide a market rate of return on assets (for example, charging the

full costs of supplying water) help to ensure adequate levels of investment in resources

as well as promote the efficient allocation of such resources. Greater use of user-pays

principles will provide governments with extra revenues that can be used to maintain

and enhance the quality of resources under their jurisdiction. In addition, better

integration of fiscal and environmental policies may provide funds for coastal

management (OECD 1993b; see Box 13.3).

17.24. Additional funds can also be raised by more extensive use of state and local

government powers. Local government authorities may choose to make greater use of

differential rating, whereby they levy a higher rate on properties that provide goods

and services to users of coastal resources. In effect, this approach is based on the

'beneficiary pays' principle, which means that businesses benefiting from profits derived

as a result of their coastal locations pay part of those profits to local government.

States vary in the extent to which differential rating is practised and a number of local

government associations expressed support for greater use of the practice. As with a

better linking of costs and charges, differential rating provides scope for directing

charges at areas, individuals or groups that use the services provided, rather than

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Table 17.4 Commonwealth outlays in functional areas relevant to coastal zone management

Area Function

1992-93 (Actual)

Resource management Environment protection 56.7

Natural resources development and management 75.6

National estates and parks 105.7

Urban and regional Urban and regional development 332.0

General-purpose capital grants to the states (includes Building Better Cities) 498.0 Roads Identified road grants to states 30.6

Identified local road grants to local government through the states 332.0 Other local government General-purpose financial assistance grants to local government through states 748.3 Tourism Tourism 86.6

Fishing Fishing industry 33.1

Indigenous Aboriginal advancement programs 840.3

Aboriginal employment assistance 38.8

Arts and cultural heritage 336.0

Skills, jobs, and so on Skills training 63.0

Assistance to job seekers and industry 1 197.6

Surveillance Coastwatch 23.1

Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service 171.4

Research CSIRO 458.2

Australian research council 266.8

Policy, coordination and promotion 7.9

Cooperative research centres 45.3

International and other research 63.7

Australian Surveying and Land Information Group 30.0

Total 5 840.7

Note: These are outlays Australia-wide; expenditures on coastal zone management are subsumed within them. Source: Budget Statements 1993-94._____________________________________________________________

1993-94 (Budget) 73.2 87.0

144.4 114.0 592.1

175.0 333.4 751.2

99.9 34.0 905.5 43.7 346.2

74.3

1 317.4 25.1 189.7 462.9

293.6 7.7 94.2 41.7

22.7

6 228.9

1994-95 (est.) 99.6 81.8

90.8 30.7 548.6

350.0 344.1 775.5

100.7 34.9 955.5 43.8

318.3 70.3 891.6 25.8

176.3 420.0 315.8 7.2

114.5 35.2 21.5

5 852,5

($ million) 1995-96 1996-97 (est.)________ (est.)

82.7 56.0

77.6 56.9

92.7 76.6

31.7 23.1

457.4 330.3

360.5 371.7

355.5 366.6

801.3 826.2

103.0 104.3

33.8 33.7

918.0 943.9

44.5 45.1

323.1 277.1

45.0 46.5

587.0 574.9

26.5 27.3

173.8 166.1

424.3 431.6

330.4 338.9

6.7 6.8

130.4 148.4

35.0 30.4

22.8 22.9

5 463.7 5 305.3

328 Funding

relying on generalised rates on property values to determine who funds such services

(Industry Commission 1993b, pp. 337-8).

17.25. Examples of differential rating are Noosa Shire Council’s charging of higher

rates on properties along the main foreshore to help meet the costs of beach protection

works at Noosa Beach and Manly Municipal Council's charging of higher rates in the

commercial business district to help meet costs associated with tourism promotion and

visitors to the beach. Community concerns about differential rating could be allayed if

adequate research, analysis and public awareness exercises preceded its

implementation.

17.26. Many examples of using taxes to fund management of coastal resources exist

overseas. For example, an accommodation tax and a statewide stamp duty on the sale

of property are used in Florida in the United States to provide funds for coastal

management (see Box 17.1). Accommodation taxes are proposed in Chapter 13;

alternatively state governments could consider levying higher stamp duties on the sale

of foreshore properties.

17.27. With the increase in public awareness of environmental issues have come signs

that many people are willing to accept the costs of achieving better management,

provided they can see a direct link between their contributions and the achievement of

better results. The special environment levy paid by property owners in the Sydney

Water Board area to help clean and maintain the area's waterways provides an example

of this willingness to meet the costs of improvement—and the importance of retaining

direct and transparent linkages between revenue and expenditure. In the case of some

economic and financial instruments (for example, developer contributions) this linkage,

known as 'earmarking', is a legal requirement. Even though earmarking might reduce

budget flexibility and opportunities for governments to set their own expenditure

priorities, it enhances community acceptance of these instruments and is particularly

useful when introducing new and controversial measures to fund coastal management,

such as the accommodation tax recommended in Chapter 13.

Involving communities and businesses

17.28. The time and resources devoted to coastal management by many community

and business groups are discussed in Chapter 9. Such groups are expected to play a

greater role in the National Coastal Action Program; for example, by assisting in

formulating and implementing regional and local strategies for coastal management

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Funding 329

Box 17.1 Options for funding beach management: Florida

The experience of the state of Florida in the United States illustrates some of the options available to local and state governments when considering the funding of coastal zone management.

In 1990 a task force reviewed funding arrangements for Florida's Comprehensive Beach Management Plan, which includes a land acquisition program, beach restoration and redesign of navigation inlets to avoid sand loss. The total cost of the Plan was estimated to be about $125 million a year, with federal and local governments contributing about 45 per cent of this amount.

According to the task force, the citizens of Florida benefit from its beaches and should pay for their preservation. The following benefits were identified: a 'quality of life' benefit that accrues to all Florida residents, akin to that provided by clean air and water and a moderate climate; a 'recreational benefit' that provides residents with the opportunity to directly experience and enjoy beaches; and an

'economic benefit' accruing to residences and businesses from the impact of beaches on state and local economics.

The following were considered to be the main funding options for the state government:

• an increase in stamp duty to capture a proportion of the positive effects on property values of healthy beach systems. Some of the revenue generated by the existing stamp duty is already ear-marked for environmental purposes such as resource protection and land acquisition. A possible variation on this option was for revenue generated by the higher tax to be used to service

debt associated with government bonds that be issued to raise funds for land acquisition and environmental restoration;

• a severance fee on the management authorities of navigation inlets, for sand that is lost to the beach system through dredging operations or blockages caused by the inlets. The fee would serve primarily as an incentive for authorities to comply with an existing requirement that they bypass annually 100 per cent of the sand blocked by the inlets and deposit dredged sand on downdrifl

beaches.

• a statewide tourism surcharge on accommodation, restaurants and caterers, bars and taverns, car rentals, and admissions to attractions such as Disney World. Proceeds would be used for beach repair, tourism development, and other such purposes. In Florida a bed tax' is used by many local governments to fund the local share of beach projects.

Source: Broek (1991)._____________ ________________________

(see Chapter 11) and by being involved in hands-on management activities (see

Chapter 9). Their willingness to participate in such activities can provide additional

management resources at little or no cost to governments.

17.29. Helping the community to play a greater role is not without cost for

governments, which will need to support this involvement through the provision of

facilities, technical support and some funding. This cost must be weighed against the

benefits offered by such involvement: the prospect of considerable long-term savings

through maintaining and improving the coastal zone asset base, including better

understanding and resolution of conflicts about resource uses.

17.30. As pointed out in Chapter 9, many industries have played a constructive role in

the management of coastal zone resources in recent years. Companies can be

encouraged to play a greater role in a number of ways; for example, by providing funds

and adopting projects that relate to their particular business interests. They can also be

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

330 Funding

encouraged to provide support for national programs related to coastal resource

management; some already provide considerable support for these programs.

17.3 FUNDING THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM

17.31. In the absence of detailed discussions with many government agencies, it is not

possible for the Inquiry to provide precise estimates of the cost of the individual

recommendations it has made as part of the National Coastal Action Program. The

Inquiry's approximate estimates of the cost of implementing major components of the

Program indicate, however, that expenditure of approximately $23 million per annum

would probably be sufficient in its first three years. Table 17.5 shows a possible

breakdown of this estimate, using the twelve-point implementation agenda presented in

Chapter 18. The estimates incorporate expenditure requirements for all spheres of

government. Additional expenditure requirements may become apparent after agencies

have reviewed their priorities and budgets to ensure that effective action is taken to

achieve the objectives of the Program. Reviews of expenditure in related areas may,

however, be expected to yield some funds which may be applied to these components

of the Program.

17.32. All spheres of government should share in the provision of resources for the

Program according to their responsibilities and financial capacities. It is envisaged that

higher levels of recurrent Commonwealth expenditure will be necessary to meet the

need to raise national levels of expenditure on coastal zone management. In view of

the Commonwealth's dominant position in intergovernmental financial arrangements

and the delays that will be incurred in obtaining additional revenues for local and state

government agencies, the Commonwealth will need to provide initial funding to ensure

that there is no delay in implementing the recommendations of the Inquiry.

17.33. In considering opportunities for funding the National Coastal Action Program,

it is important that governments take into account the findings of a recent report by the

Australian National Audit Office (Spedding 1993). The Office identified the potential

for considerable improvement in the administration of Commonwealth-state funding

agreements, particularly in areas such as accountability, value for money and the

effectiveness of program delivery. Box 17.2 shows the main conclusions of the Audit

Office's report. Also to be taken into account will be the findings of the current review

of Commonwealth untied financial assistance to local government, which operates

under the Local Government (Financial Assistance) Act 1988. This review was

agreed to by Commonwealth, state and local government ministers in June 1993 and,

although it is not intended to examine the broader questions of the distribution of

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

332 Funding

Box 172 Potential Improvements in Commonwealth-State funding agreements

In 1993 the Australian National Audit Office reviewed aspects of Commonwealth-State agreements. The key conclusions of the review were as follows:

• Audits conducted by the Office in recent years have demonstrated that the administration of Commonwealth-state agreements has potential for considerable improvement, particularly in areas such as accountability, value for money and the effectiveness of program delivery.

• Expenditure reductions are possible by identifying and eliminating duplication of effort and adopting best practices through benchmarking.

• Audit activity at Commonwealth, state and other spheres could be better integrated to achieve a more comprehensive coverage of transactions and a holistic review of operations.

• The Audit Office has encountered circumstances in which its powers to conduct efficiency audits under the Audit Act 1901 are ineffectual.

• Greater use could be made of incentives within agreements to achieve improvements, notably for the identification, measurement and sharing of program savings.

• A broader range of sanctions is required to more effectively deal with instances of non­ compliance with the terms of agreements.

• The diversity of agreements with similar intent is excessive and presents opportunities for standardisation and improved coordination.

• Progress on the development of performance indicators and targets is less that satisfactory.

• More emphasis should be placed on the need for protection of the Commonwealth's interests in the administration of the agreements.

Source: Spedding (1993, p. vii). ____________________________________________

17.4 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

17.35. The Inquiry estimates that implementation of the National Coastal Action

Program will require expenditure of approximately $23 million each year for the first

three years of the Program. All spheres of government should share in the provision of

resources according to their responsibilities and financial capacities. Existing

Commonwealth programs may be able to provide funding for some components of the

Program; however, higher levels of recurrent Commonwealth expenditure will be

necessary to raise national levels of expenditure on coastal zone management

R.64 The Inquiry recommends that

all spheres of government provide adequate funds to ensure that the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program are achieved;

each sphere of government review its allocation of resources for coastal zone management in light of the objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program in time for adjustments to be included in budgetary allocations starting in 1994-95;

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Funding 333

the Commonwealth Government review existing programs relevant to the Program and increase its overall level of expenditure to ensure that the components of the National Coastal Action Program recommended by the Inquiry are implemented in 1994-95.

17.36. Implementation of the National Coastal Action Program will require

agreement between governments concerning funding of expenditures, including

funding of the National Coastal Management Agency and programs forming part of the

National Coastal Action Program, and Commonwealth legislation.

R.65 The Inquiry recommends that

the proposed Coastal Resource Management Act provide for agreements between the Commonwealth and state governments in relation to the funding of the National Coastal Action Program, including funding for the National Coastal Management Agency and other parts of the Program;

such agreements should include provision for funding according to well-defined criteria and provision for ongoing evaluation of outcomes;

expenditures on the National Coastal Action Program by each sphere of government be conditional on programs and policies being designed and implemented in accordance with objectives agreed by the Council of Australian Governments and incorporated in the proposed Coastal

Resource Management Act.

17.37. To enable it to effectively monitor expenditure on management of coastal zone

resources, the National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating

committees will need to obtain accounting data from many local government

authorities and government agencies in a standardised format.

R.66 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Management Agency, in conjunction with state coastal coordinating committees, local government associations and Commonwealth agencies, develop a standardised accounting format to assist in monitoring expenditures on coastal zone management, particularly

expenditures on clearly identifiable and important aspects of management.

17.38. An important element of the monitoring that should be undertaken by the

National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating committees is the

design and use of performance indicators related to expenditure from funds devoted to

coastal management purposes.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

334 Funding

R.67 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Management Agency, in coordination with state coastal coordinating committees, local government associations and Commonwealth government agencies, develop indicators that can be used to monitor the use and effectiveness of funds spent as part of the National Coastal Action Program.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 18 IMPLEMENTATION

18.01. Governments and their agencies must act in concert to implement the National

Coastal Action Program. Section 18.1 shows the implementation agenda. Table 18.1

sets out the specific requirements for implementation. Section 18.2 considers aspects

of monitoring the implementation of the Program which will need to be carried out by

the National Coastal Management Agency.

18.1 IMPLEMENTATION AGENDA

18.02. The National Coastal Action Program can be implemented if all governments

adopt a 12-point agenda, as follows:

1. Agree to adopt the Program.

2. Establish national institutional and legislative arrangements to implement the

Program.

3. Adopt national objectives and principles for coastal zone management.

4. Establish coastal zone coordinating mechanisms within and between each sphere

of government

5. Translate national objectives and principles into more specific Commonwealth,

state, local and regional objectives, principles and criteria.

6. Develop local and regional coastal strategies and improve approvals and

environmental impact assessment procedures.

7. Encourage community and industry involvement in coastal zone management.

8. Ensure effective representation of Australia's indigenous communities in coastal

zone management

9. Improve the research and information base for coastal zone resource use and

management

10. Initiate education programs to increase the expertise available for coastal zone

management

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

338 Implementation

11. Improve quarantine and surveillance measures.

12. Improve funding arrangements and the use of economic instruments.

18.03. All 12 points of the agenda need to be undertaken concurrently. In view of

the urgency of most of the matters considered in this report, it is important that

implementation commence in 1994.

18.04. Table 18.1 lists the specific components for implementing the National Coastal

Action Program. The Inquiry's recommendations are presented in summary form;

detailed recommendations and the rationales supporting them are presented in the final

section of each chapter. The table also identifies the sphere or agency of government

responsible for implementation of each recommendation, assigns priorities, and

provides broad estimates of timing and costs.

18.05. The cost estimates relate to incremental costs only; that is, it is assumed that

policy development, planning and review are undertaken as part of normal government

agency functions and consequently do not need to be costed separately. Additional

expenditures may be required once the objectives of the National Coastal Action

Program have been agreed by governments and relevant agencies have reviewed their

priorities and budgets to ensure that the objectives are achieved.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Recommendation_____________________ Responsibility______________ Comments_________________________________

1. Agree to develop and adopt the National Coastal Action Program

The National Coastal Action Program be Prime Minister, Premiers, The Commonwealth should seek agreement with state adopted and implemented by the three Chief Minister, ALGA and local governments to implement the National spheres of government (Section 6.8) Coastal Action Program and seek their commitment to

undertaking the requirements of such a Program

Prime Minister, Premiers, - Chief Minister, ALGA

Table 18.1 Implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs

Priority Completion Cost

Essential 1994

Essential 1994

2. Establish national institutional and legislative arrangements to implement the Program

Establish a National Coastal Management Prime Minister, Premiers, The Agency should be made up of two parts: a board Essential 1994 Agency and a National Coastal Consultative Chief Minister representing state, local and Commonwealth Council (Section 8.6) governments and indigenous people; and a secretariat.

These bodies are to be national institutions, not Commonwealth-controlled bodies. Funding arrangements for the Agency and the Council are to be shared between governments on an agreed basis. To avoid delay in establishing the Agency and the Council, the Commonwealth could provide interim funding until the funding responsibilities between governments are determined

$1 million per annum, ongoing

Enact a Coastal Resource Management Act DEST (Section 8.6) The Act would establish a framework for financial assistance by the Commonwealth and incorporate the

objectives o f the National Coastal Action Program

High 1994

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RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Table 18.1 (cont'd) Implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs

Recommendation Responsibility Comments Priority Completion Cost

Include in the proposed Coastal Zone Resource Management Act provision for agreement between the Commonwealth and other governments in relation to the funding of the National Coastal Management Agency and the National Coastal Action Program (Section 17.4)

DEST Such agreement should include provision for guaranteed High minimum levels of funding, flexible 'top up' arrangements, and penalties and sanctions for non­ compliance with provisions of the Act relating to financial assistance

1994

3. Adopt national objectives and principles for coastal zone management

Adopt national objectives and principles for coastal zone management (Section 7.6) National Coastal Management Agency

To be developed in consultation with non-government groups and endorsed by CO AG Essential 1994

4. Establish coastal zone coordinating mechanisms within and between each sphere of government

State governments to review the composition and roles of their coastal coordinating committees and interagency functions (Section 8.6)

Premier or Chief Minister's Department or nominated lead agency

Membership of coordinating committees should be reviewed so as to be consistent with the characteristics proposed by the Inquiry. This should include the establishment of advisory committees. Consideration

should be given to including agencies with similar functions in single ministries

Essential 1994

Local authorities to review their arrangements for dealing with coastal management issues (Section 8.6)

All coastal local councils Various types of committees currently exist to assist local High government in managing coastal zone resources. These arrangements should be reviewed using the models identified in the Integrated Local Area Planning program

1994

Commonwealth Government to establish a permanent interdepartmental Coastal Management Committee (Section 8.6)

Minister for Environment and DEST Committee to include representatives from departments with interests in the coastal zone. Secretariat to be

provided by DEST, with the committee to report to the Minister for the Environment

Essential 1994

6

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Final Report 1993

Extend to 1997-98 $2 million per annum

Essential 1994-95 to $3 million 1996-97 per annum ! ilemei

uiry Final Report 1993

Essential Ongoing

Essential 1995

Essential 1994-95 to $2 million 1996-97 per annum

342 Implementatioi

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Priority Completion Cost

Funds should be provided to high priority areas, which should be determined on the basis of the significance of management problems experienced in an area. Priority to be identified by the National Coastal Management

Agency in consultation with relevant agencies. Funds for regional strategies provided by Commonwealth, state and local governments. Funding for strategy development to be conditional on agreements being reached to ensure that strategies are implemented when

finalised

High

High

High

Ongoing

1995

1994

Essential 1994-95 to $4 million 1996-97 per annum

r

P I

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RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1'

Table 18.1 (cont'd) Implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs

Recommendation Responsibility Comments

Review public participation arrangements in the formulation of policies and programs for coastal zone management (Section 9.6)

State and local governments Community involvement in coastal resource decision making is essential for improved management of coastal resources

Undertake a range of community education initiatives, including

- extension of the National Marine Education Program DEST

The National Coastal Management Agency should ensure close liaison between the Coastcare program, the Marine and Coastal Community Network, the National Marine

Education Program and other natural resource and indigenous education initiatives

- extension of community education programs relating to indigenous issues Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, ATSIC, other

relevant agencies

- production of education materials explaining the National Coastal Action Program (Section 9.6)

National Coastal Management Agency This should also include materials for providing information to local government employees on the

National Coastal Action Program

Provide tax deductibility for expenditure on coastal resource conservation projects (Section 9.6)

Commonwealth Treasury This will provide an important incentive for companies and individuals to support projects to improve coastal resource quality

8. Ensure effective representation of Australia's indigenous communities in coastal zone management

Establish a process whereby traditional CO AG This will require consultation with indigenous hunting, fishing and gathering rights are communities and amendment of relevant legislation. In

recognised by governments (Section 10.4) the interim, governments should ensure there are no unreasonable prosecutions In the event of failure to negotiate national arrangements, the Commonwealth should enact legislation to establish national criteria

Priority Completion Cost

High Ongoing

High 1994-95 to

1996-97

$500 000 per annum

High Ongoing $100 000

per annum

High Ongoing $50 000 per

annum

Essential 1995 Not

estimated

Essential 1995

344 Implementatioi

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

Table 18.1 (cont'd) Implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs

Recommendation Responsibility Comments

Establish national criteria for the participation of Australia's indigenous people in the management of conservation areas (Section 10.4)

ANZECC, ATSIC Criteria should include provision for representation on relevant management authorities and the establishment of indigenous consultative committees to advise these authorities

Amend the G reat B arrier R e ef M arine Park A u th ority A ct 1975 to provide for greater indigenous involvement in management (Section 10.4)

DEST

Extend the community ranger system, support the establishment of indigenous natural resource management agencies, and review funding for these initiatives

(Section 10.4)

ATSIC, ANCA To be undertaken in conjunction with state resource management agencies. Funding arrangements to be determined following review

Establish units to provide advice on indigenous interests as part of policy making for natural resource management (Section 10.4)

State and Commonwealth natural resource management agencies

This will require consultation with representatives of indigenous organisations and peak industry bodies. Costs to be met from reallocation of existing resources

Ensure that indigenous organisations have sufficient resources to participate in decision-making processes relating to

development proposals (Section 10.4)

ATSIC Funding to be met by reallocation of existing resources

Establish a joint Council on Aboriginal Land and Mining (Section 10.4) Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation

As recommended by the Mining Committee of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation

Priority Completion Cost

Essential 1994

Essential 1994

High 1994 $1 million

per annum

Essential 1994

High 1994

High 1994

3 Ό

3 E

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RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

Table 18.1 (cont'd) Implementation of the Inquiry’s recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs

Recommendation Responsibility Comments Priority Completion Cost

Prepare an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fisheries Strategy (Section 10.4) Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and

Aquaculture

Strategy preparation will require assessment of indigenous interests in fisheries; representation of indigenous people on fishery advisory committees, measures to improve economic development and employment opportunities in fisheries and mariculture, and measures to improve relations between indigenous communities, fisheries agency staff and commercial

fishers. This should include evaluation by ATSIC of the experience of the ACIAR and successful indigenous commercial ventures

Essential 1994- 95 to 1995- 96 $1.5 million per annum

Adopt a national policy on ownership of and access rights to indigenous cultural property (Section 10.4)

Commonwealth and state governments and their relevant agencies

Current progress towards finalising agreement on cultural heritage protection is slow and the categories covered are limited

High 1994

Review Commonwealth involvement in recording and protecting indigenous heritage with a view to establishing an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander

Heritage Council and extending Commonwealth heritage protection legislation (Section 10.4)

ATSIC, AHC, ANCA The review should be conducted from within existing resources; however, the Council will require additional funding. It will be necessary to consult with indigenous organisations. The establishment of a Council is

estimated to require $3.5 million per annum. This is not included in the estimated cost for the National Coastal Action Program

High 1994

9. Improve the research and information base for coastal zone resource use and management

Establish standards for collection and Commonwealth Spatial Data The Spatial Data Committee should establish a sub­ transfer of data (Section 14.5) Committee committee to undertake this task and to enhance

collaboration between relevant Commonwealth agencies

Essential 1994

Establish an integrated national directory of NRIC marine and coastal data sets (Section 14.5)

To be developed in collaboration with relevant agencies including ERIN and state and local coastal resource managers

High 1994-95 to $50 000 per 1996-97 annum

346 Implementatioi

le Inquiry Final Report 1993

Table 18.1 (cont'd) Implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs

Recommendation Responsibility Comments Priority Completion Cost

Enhance the development of the National Marine Information System (Section 14.5) ERIN Should be developed in collaboration with relevant

agencies including NRIC and state and local coastal resource managers

High 1994-95 to $300 000 1996-97 per annum

n

? E B1

Facilitate the development of local and state coastal resource inventories (Section 14.5)

Review the research priorities identified by this Inquiry and examine the scope for better coordination of research efforts in these areas (Section 14.5)

National Coastal Management Assistance should be conditional on agreed standards for High Agency

ASIEC

data collection and transfer. Inventories would build on existing data and data collection initiatives. Allocation of funding should be linked to priorities established for the preparation of local and regional strategies

This should include review of coordination arrangements High for research funding and priority setting, the adequacy of arrangements for data collection, and the need for periodic review of coastal research priorities

1994-95 to $3 million 1996-97 per annum

1994 $300 000

Transfer of data between government agencies should be based on the cost of transferring that data (Section 14.5)

All spheres of government This recommendation is consistent with ANZLIC's draft High policy on the transfer of land-related data 1994

Maintain support for the Local Government DEST Environmental Information Exchange Scheme (Section 14.5)

This should include continuing support beyond the existing pilot program for environmental resource officers attached to local government associations

Essential 1994-95 to $300 000 1996-97 per annum

Provide assistance to local authorities to make better use of information available for Agency coastal resource management (Section 14.5)

National Coastal Management This should include the provision of advice on gaining High access to specialist information, dissemination of knowledge about "best practice' information systems, and the holding of workshops

Increase funding of the Marine and Coastal DEST Community Network (Section 14.5)

High

1994-95 to $50 000 1996-97 per annum

1994-95 to $100 000 1996-97 per annum

f .

I I g. a u>

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

I 3

1994-95 to $2 million 1996-97 per annum

1994-95 to $800 000 1999-2000 per annum

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1 $1 million

per annum

r

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

£ o

150 Implemei

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1

Priority Completion Cost

Revenue obtained should be distributed to state agencies High and local government authorities on a competitive basis for activities directed at achieving coastal zone management objectives, particularly those related to tourism and recreation

This will require collaboration with DPIE, state coastal High coordinating committees and other relevant agencies

The review should examine the effects of such policies High on the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program

1995

1994-95 to $250 000 1996-97 per annum

1994

The Inquiry estimates that implementation of the National Coastal Action Program will require approximately $23 million for each year for the first three years of the program. The Commonwealth

government should increase its levels of expenditure on coastal zone management to ensure that the Program is implemented without delay

Essential 1994-95 to - 1996-97

Essential 1994

5 T3 ilemei

'oastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Table 18.1 (cont'd) Implementation of the Inquiry's recommendations: responsibilities, priorities, timing and costs

Recommendation_______________________ Responsibility _________ Comments____________________________________Priority Completion Cost

The provision of funds for coastal zone All spheres of government Funding should also be conditional on the specification Essential Ongoing -management should be conditional on policies of monitoring, evaluation and reporting arrangements and programs being in accordance with national coastal zone objectives (Section 17.4)

Develop a standardised accounting format to National Coastal Management This should be done in conjunction with state. High 1995 $150 000 assist in monitoring and evaluating Agency, Commonwealth and Commonwealth and local government agencies expenditures on important aspects of coastal state Departments of Finance

zone management (Section 17.4)

- Nil.

Note: Costs are incremental only; it is assumed that policy development, planning and review are part of normal government agency functions and therefore do not need to be costed separately. Additional expenditures may be required once the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program have been agreed by governments and relevant agencies have reviewed their priorities and budgets to ensure that the objectives are achieved.______________________________________________________________________

ig. 3

Implementation 353

18.2 MONITORING AND EVALUATING IMPLEMENTATION

18.06. Monitoring progress in implementing the National Coastal Action Program is

essential for ensuring that the requirements of the Program are being met; monitoring

will provide a sound basis for evaluation of the effectiveness and efficiency of the

Program in improving the management of Australia's coastal zone resources.

18.07. Responsibility for monitoring and evaluating the Program's implementation

should lie primarily with the National Coastal Management Agency. Coordination

with state coastal coordinating committees and local authorities will be required. All

aspects of the implementation agenda require monitoring which should focus on the

following:

• progress towards implementing the requirements of each aspect of the

Program—for example, progress towards adoption of common objectives and

principles in local and regional objectives and the number and coverage of local

and regional coastal strategies;

• changes in the effectiveness and efficiency of managing coastal zone resource

uses as a result of implementation of the measures proposed; •

• the capacity of the Program to deal with changing circumstances and deliver

long-term positive results;

• the Program's effectiveness in dealing with specific issues in the coastal zone;

• the continuing relevance of aspects of the Program.

18.08. Provided it has access to the necessary information the National Coastal

Management Agency will be able to monitor elements of the Program for which it has

direct responsibility. To adequately monitor progress in implementing the Program as

a whole, however, it will need to monitor progress in implementing those many parts

of the Program for which local governments and state and Commonwealth agencies

are responsible. Provision of information to the National Coastal Management Agency

should be the responsibility of the state and Commonwealth coastal coordinating

committees; it will be necessary to consider the extent to which monitoring of the

resources in the coastal zone is required to adequately evaluate the progress being

made with the Program.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

354 Implementation

18.09. The results of monitoring the implementation of the National Coastal Action

Program should be disclosed in the annual report of the National Coastal Management

Agency to the Council of Australian Governments. These and other reports of the

agency should be publicly available.

18.3 CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

18.10. To ensure that the National Coastal Action Program is implemented without

undue delay, it is essential that governments agree to implement relevant aspects of the

Program according to the Inquiry's proposed implementation agenda.

R.68 The Inquiry recommends that

governments adopt the agenda for implementing the National Coastal Action Program;

18.11. The Program must be carried out in an effective and efficient manner and it is essential that an effective monitoring and evaluation program be put in place.

R.69 The Inquiry recommends that

implementation of the National Coastal Action Program be monitored and evaluated by the National Coastal Management Agency. The Agency should report annually to the Council of Australian Governments and its report should be publicly available.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

CHAPTER 19 CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

19.1 THE NATURE OF AUSTRALIA'S COASTAL ZONE

19.01. Australia's coastal zone is a priceless resource. It contains complex and

diverse ecosystems that are subject to continual change caused by natural processes

and the effects of human activities. There is a strong desire to preserve the zone, and

to use it.

19.02. Eighty-six per cent of the nation's population resides in the zone; almost half

of all population growth in Australia in the past 20 years has occurred in coastal zone

areas outside capital cities. A high proportion of Australia's fast-growing tourism and

recreational activities, all mariculture activity, almost all wild fishing activities (both

commercial and other), and a high proportion of industrial activity take place in the

zone. The challenge is to manage the pressures from increased resource uses while

maintaining the quality of the zone's natural environment

19.03. The principal source of population growth in non-metropolitan coastal areas is

migration from metropolitan areas, rather than natural increase. Population growth has

increased the intensity of use of many coastal resources, especially those associated

with housing, leisure and recreation.

19.04. Many current uses of coastal zone resources have significant direct, indirect

and cumulative impacts on the environment. Among the most important consequences

of increased resource use are continuing degradation and loss of many coastal habitats

(especially wetlands and fish-breeding areas), increased risks to endangered species,

over-exploitation of many fisheries resources, introduction of exotic species into

marine and terrestrial habitats, accelerated erosion and loss of coastal soils, and erosion

of dune and beach systems. Of particular concern is the declining water quality in

many rivers and streams, estuaries, wetlands and the ocean, caused by pollution from

urban, agricultural, industrial and marine-based sources. More intensive uses of

coastal resources are increasing the demands on the terrestrial and marine

environments to absorb these impacts.

19.05. Evidence presented to the Inquiry shows that the coastal zone is suffering the

environmental and social stresses of continuing urbanisation, which is occurring both

on the fringe of metropolitan areas and in an increasing number of coastal regions

outside capital cities. If no action is taken to change the way in which coastal

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358 Conclusions and recommendations

resources are used, there is a very considerable risk that ecosystems will be destroyed,

the recreational amenity of the coast will be degraded, and economic growth and

employment opportunities will be lost; in short, the collective benefits provided by the

coastal zone will cease to be available to Australians.

19.2 FUTURE USES OF THE COASTAL ZONE

19.06. Although it is not possible to predict the rate at which development will occur

in the coastal zone, a continuation of recent trends will place increasing pressure on

resources in many parts of the zone, particularly those that are attractive for residential

living, for meeting the growing demand for tourism opportunities, and for the further

development of other industries, including mariculture.

19.07. Pressures will arise from further development of resources required for the

expansion of agriculture, fisheries, minerals and manufacturing and from the provision

of infrastructure, including transport, energy, telecommunications and other services.

Coastal areas that will probably face the greatest pressure are those that have

experienced the greatest growth in recent decades—south-east Queensland, coastal

New South Wales, south-east Melbourne, and areas north and south of Perth.

19.08. The high percentage of the newly settled population in many coastal areas that

is elderly or dependent on social security pensions suggests that demand for services to

support their needs will increase.

19.09. Tourism and associated activities will probably continue to grow faster than

most other activities in Australia and will probably grow faster in many coastal

locations than elsewhere, specifically in the major international visitor destinations of

Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef and north Queensland. This

poses risks of environmental damage and consequent losses to the tourism industry if

this growth is not managed properly.

19.10. Overall, building, construction and associated activities seem likely to continue

to grow rapidly in many coastal areas, particularly to provide housing for further

increases in population. Despite the possibility of some increase in residential

densities, urban sprawl will continue in many areas unless policies are pursued to

discourage or limit this type of development

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Conclusions and recommendations 359

19.11. Further development of the mariculture industry will be largely dependent on

domestic demand and will be accompanied by competition with other coastal zone

users for some of the resources required for the industry's expansion.

19.12. The coastal zone faces a crisis that is slowly escalating—the steady spread of

population into metropolitan fringes and new metropolitan settlements. The cost of

providing services and infrastructure is high where the population is thinly spread.

Ecologically sustainable development of the zone will require active management. The

expected future patterns of population expansion mean that governments will

experience increasing difficulty in managing the areas to which people are moving.

There is an urgent need to rationalise the policies that determine settlement patterns.

19.13. Future growth and development will undoubtedly place serious pressure on

coastal zone resources. Coastal zone managers need to develop the capacity to

manage strategically if they are to achieve the long-term results they want, rather than

be saddled with unintentional effects such as those that result from current systems of

management Growth and development require the application of carefully formulated

strategic approaches.

19.14. Strategic approaches are essential because of the number of uncertainties that

arise from natural processes, social changes, and the effects of growth in the

population and in economic activity in the zone. Approaches to resource management

must be sufficiently flexible to allow many possible outcomes to be taken into account

when formulating management strategies. Techniques for formulating and developing

strategic approaches that have been developed in the public and private sectors must

be fully used.

19.3 CURRENT MANAGEMENT OF THE COASTAL ZONE

Regulatory framework

19.15. Regulatory responsibility for management of coastal zone resources lies

primarily with state and local governments. Although state governments have

attempted to consolidate and update legislation, there remains a plethora of Acts

affecting coastal zone management, mostly reflecting the traditional sectoral approach

to such management

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360 Conclusions and recommendations

19.16. There have been recent improvements in the level of coordination among the

large number of institutions involved in coastal zone management but coordination and

integration between institutions remain inadequate.

19.17. There are major shortcomings in the systems of management of Australia's

coastal zone:

• Different and usually uncoordinated approvals systems operate for public and

private land.

• Management and use of resources spanning marine and terrestrial areas is

particularly impeded by a lack of integration and coordination of management

systems.

• Existing mechanisms do not provide for effective long-term management of coastal

zone resources.

• Approvals procedures are complex, time consuming and often sequential rather

than concurrent, making them costly for applicants and governments.

• Although some Commonwealth, state and local government agencies have

developed policies to achieve coastal zone management objectives, the policies and

objectives are not often implemented and they are rarely integrated with social,

economic and environmental goals.

19.18. There are telling examples of past and present management failures in the

coastal zone. Although governments have passed a considerable amount of legislation,

use many regulatory mechanisms, and have reformed institutions and management

mechanisms, current management arrangements do not adequately deal with the

problems arising in the coastal zone.

19.19. The division of responsibilities among several agencies in each state is one of

the systemic hindrances to more effective land management and therefore more

effective management of the coastal zone. There is a strong need for state

governments to integrate public and private land management systems.

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___________________________________________________Conclusions and recommendations 361

Funding

19.20. State and local governments are responsible for 95 per cent of expenditure on

coastal zone management and are under steady pressure to increase funding of coastal

zone management. Pressures arising because of the imbalance between the taxing

capacities and the expenditures of the three spheres of government are being

exacerbated by the need to spend more on coastal zone management.

19.21. Governments rely principally on regulatory mechanisms to manage coastal

zone activities. At present, economic instruments are insufficiently used by state or

local governments for the management of coastal zone resources; there is considerable

scope for their increased use to guide resource uses in the zone and to raise revenue

for use in managing resources.

19.4 NEED FOR A NATIONAL APPROACH

19.22. A national approach to the problems of Australia's coastal zone is essential for

four main reasons: no single sphere of government can manage the zone alone; issues

of national significance and of great public concern are involved; the socio-economic

development of the coastal zone is of profound importance to the nation; and Australia

has international obligations in the zone that necessitate coordination between the

spheres of government

19.23. Although the states may be able to manage the zone's resources independently,

they cannot do this effectively and efficiently because they might pursue conflicting

objectives and they might forgo the cost-reduction opportunities that will be afforded

by participation in a national approach. A national approach will allow the

Commonwealth to play an important role in facilitating and coordinating management

while maintaining the primary role of state and local governments in managing

resources within their jurisdictions.

19.24. A national approach will ensure that government agencies have common

objectives for coastal zone management, thus minimising duplication and conflict It

will ensure more effective use of financial and human resources, by pooling experience,

resources and knowledge. It will also provide a framework for national leadership and

financial support and for the mobilisation of community and industry involvement

throughout the coastal zone.

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362 Conclusions and recommendations

19.25. A successful national approach to the ecologically sustainable development of

the coastal zone calls for wider use of strategic and integrated management

approaches.

19.26. Rivalries between the spheres of government make achievement of a national

approach to any issue a difficult task in a federated nation such as Australia. But it is a

necessary task if Australia is to avoid the coastal management problems that beset

other parts of the world such as the Mediterranean, the North Sea and parts of the

United States.

19.27. Australia is one nation; it is not a loose configuration of states. It is bound by

a national constitution that has as its joint aims the preservation of the rights of the

states and the forging of one nation with common goals and aspirations. The whole is

greater than the sum of its parts, and it is in the interests of the states, local

government and the Commonwealth to act cooperatively to protect what is probably

Australia's greatest asset—its coastal zone.

19.5 A NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM - SUMMARY

19.28. A concerted national effort is essential if the management of Australia's coastal

zone resources is to improve and if Australians are to continue to enjoy the economic,

social and environmental benefits provided by the coastal zone. A National Coastal

Action Program, involving all governments and community and industry groups with

responsibility for and interests in the management of coastal zone resources, is

proposed.

19.29. The Action Program should contain

• national coastal zone objectives

• arrangements for implementing and managing the Program

• mechanisms for community and industry involvement

• innovative management mechanisms.

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Conclusions and recommendations 363

R.01 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Action Program for management of the resources of Australia’s coastal zone be adopted by the Council of Australian Governments and implemented by the three spheres of government in consultation with community and industry groups that have responsibility

for and interests in coastal zone management.

19.6 NATIONAL COASTAL ZONE OBJECTIVES

Objectives and principles

19.30. Common objectives and principles are key tools of the National Coastal

Action Program and will help achieve integration of the management of coastal zone

resources.

19.31. The objectives and principles proposed by the Inquiry have been negotiated

with all major stakeholders and represent a consensus in the community. They provide

a strong basis for developing national coastal zone objectives and principles to which

all spheres of government can agree.

R.02 The Inquiry recommends that

the Council of Australian Governments agree to and adopt the national objectives and principles for coastal zone management proposed by the Inquiry.

19.32. If common objectives are to be achieved it will be necessary for all spheres of

government to establish more detailed local and regional objectives that are consistent

with the national objectives and that reflect each sphere's responsibilities in the coastal

zone.

R.03 The Inquiry recommends that

all governments with coastal zone responsibilities develop local and regional coastal zone management objectives that are consistent with the agreed national objectives and that provide firm guidelines for integrated

management of resources within each government’s jurisdiction.

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364 Conclusions and recommendations

Criteria

19.33. Criteria to be used in the management of particular resources in the coastal

zone at a national level are being developed by a number of ministerial councils and

government agencies. It is essential that these criteria be consistent with the objectives

for resource use and management incorporated in the National Coastal Action

Program.

R.04 The Inquiry recommends that

ministerial councils and government agencies preparing national criteria for management of resources in the coastal zone ensure that those criteria are consistent with the principles of the National Coastal Action Program.

19.34. Criteria should be developed by state and local governments to apply to the

management of specific coastal zone resources.

R.05 The Inquiry recommends that

all spheres of government review existing criteria to ensure that they are consistent with the principles put forward in the National Coastal Action Program;

state, regional and local criteria consistent with the national principles be developed for specific uses of the resources of the coastal zone.

19.7 MANAGING THE NATIONAL COASTAL ACTION PROGRAM

19.35. Creating a single coastal zone management agency or coastal zone

management agencies in each sphere of government is not practical. Neither is

assigning coastal zone responsibilities to a single sphere of government. What is

needed is national cooperation and action.

Agreement

19.36. Many forms of agreement could be used for implementing the proposed

National Coastal Action Program. The Intergovernmental Agreement on the

Environment is a significant agreement dealing with pressing environmental and related

issues, but it would detract from the importance of coastal zone issues to include them

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Conclusions and recommendations 365

in that Agreement The importance of the coastal zone and the shared nature of

management responsibilities between governments requires a separate agreement

R.06 The Inquiry recommends that

an agreement between governments for implementing the National Coastal Action Program be endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments.

Commonwealth legislation

19.37. In addition to a cooperative agreement between governments for coastal zone

management, the Commonwealth should take the lead in initiating and implementing

national coastal zone objectives and principles and other components of the National

Coastal Action Program. The Commonwealth should not, however, attempt to impose

a uniform national coastal regulatory scheme. Rather, it should enact legislation to

guide funding allocations by the Commonwealth to coastal zone management. The

Act will incorporate the objectives and principles for coastal zone management agreed

between Commonwealth, state and local governments.

R.07 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth enact a Coastal Resource Management Act, which, among other things, would provide that Commonwealth funding of coastal resource management activities—whether in the form of direct expenditure by Commonwealth agencies on coastal zone management or as grants to

state and local governments for specific elements of coastal zone management—be confined to activities consistent with the objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program.

New national institutions

19.38. To facilitate the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program, it is

necessary to develop administrative arrangements that will integrate the efforts of the

three spheres of government and non-government bodies to achieve the agreed

objectives.

R.08 The Inquiry recommends that

a National Coastal Management Agency be established, with a board representing the interests of Commonwealth, state and local governments and Australia's indigenous people, and a full-time secretariat;

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366 Conclusions and recommendations

an independent chairperson of outstanding stature and with exceptional leadership qualities be appointed. The chairperson would also be the Agency's chief executive officer;

that the Agency report to the Council of Australian Governments.

19.39. A national consultative group is necessary to provide professional and

technical advice to the National Coastal Management Agency.

R.09 The Inquiry recommends that

a National Coastal Consultative Council be established, to advise the National Coastal Management Agency. The Council should include representatives selected from nominees of peak bodies, research institutions and other bodies with major interests in the management of coastal zone resources.

State management arrangements

19.40. Most state governments already have committees to coordinate coastal zone

management. At present, however, these committees do not have the responsibilities

and resources necessary to carry out their functions in a manner that will enable the

states to integrate their coastal management arrangements, as proposed in the National

Coastal Action Program.

R.10 The Inquiry recommends that

all state governments review the composition and roles of their coastal coordinating committees in light of the characteristics proposed by the Inquiry, to ensure that the committees are in the best position to manage state participation in the National Coastal Action Program;

the review include arrangements for the coordination of local and regional groups participating in the development and implementation of strategies to implement the Program;

each state establish a coastal advisory committee comprising representatives of non-government groups;

all state governments review the existing distribution of coastal management functions between agencies, with a view to incorporating similar or complementary functions in single ministries.

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Conclusions and recommendations 367

Local management arrangements

19.41. Various reviews of local government organisational arrangements are under

way and various types of committees currently assist local governments in managing

coastal zone resources. In addition to these arrangements, it is necessary to ensure

that the functional responsibilities within local government authorities be undertaken

efficiently and effectively.

R.11 The Inquiry recommends that

all local authorities review existing arrangements for dealing with coastal zone management issues, using the models identified by the Integrated Local Area Planning approach.

Commonwealth management arrangements

19.42. The Commonwealth Government has established an interdepartmental

committee to deal with its responsibilities in the coastal zone.

R.12 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government's interdepartmental committee dealing with coastal zone issues be established on a permanent basis and be named the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee;

the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories be the lead agency in coordinating the activities of this Committee.

19.8 COMMUNITY AND INDUSTRY INVOLVEMENT

Community involvement in management

19.43. Effective participation by community and industry groups is a critical

component of the management of coastal zone resources; such participation can

greatly augment the resources devoted to management by governments. Especially

important is the provision of facilitation, extension and other services to support

community involvement in activities such as dune stabilisation and rehabilitation,

management and monitoring of the shoreline and near-shore marine environments,

visitor management and education, construction of paths and walkways, wetlands

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368 Conclusions and recommendations

management, and programs designed to minimise the impacts of urbanisation and

associated development. Local and regional facilitators can assist in ensuring that this

involvement is coordinated and maintains continuity and community enthusiasm.

R.13 The Inquiry recommends that

a Coastcare program be established by the Commonwealth Government to deal with the particular needs of coastal areas for soil conservation, maintenance of biodiversity, revegetation, and management and monitoring

of the shoreline and near-shore environment;

the Coastcare program provide funds for the appointment of local and regional coastal community facilitators and extension services;

the Coastcare program be designed to extend and complement existing initiatives for community involvement in integrated catchment management

19.44. Committees that help local authorities to manage the coastal zone can play a

valuable role in supplementing the resources available to those authorities. Such

committees are already formally established in Victoria and operate less formally in

some other states. Extension of the committee system to deal with continuing

management issues is dependent on state and local governments' views about the role

the committees can play. Consultative committees are another important source of

community involvement.

R.14 The Inquiry recommends that

local and state governments examine existing arrangements to ensure that community groups are provided with the opportunity to participate in the formulation of policies and programs relating to the management of coastal

zone resources.

Community education

19.45. It is necessary to develop coordinated approaches to education about coastal

issues. A considerable number of relevant initiatives are currently sponsored by the

Commonwealth and state governments; it is essential that these be coordinated, not

only to ensure that they are mutually reinforcing and that unnecessary duplication is

avoided but also to avoid confusion about the purpose of the initiatives and the

connections between them.

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Conclusions and recommendations 369

R.15 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Marine Education Program receive additional Commonwealth funding to provide educational materials on coastal zone management issues for community groups, user groups and schools;

the National Coastal Management Agency arrange for the production of educational materials explaining the objectives and implementation of the National Coastal Action Program;

the community education programs conducted by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and other relevant agencies be extended to include projects to increase understanding in the general community of the importance of land

and sea in indigenous culture and to increase understanding in both the general community and indigenous communities of traditional and modem approaches to resource management;

the National Coastal Management Agency ensure that there is close liaison between the Coastcare program, the Marine and Coastal Community Network, the National Marine Education Program and the education units of other major national initiatives relevant to natural resource and

indigenous issues.

19.46. There is considerable scope for industry to become more closely involved in

coastal zone resource management. Companies and individuals should be encouraged

to support projects designed to improve the quality of resources in areas of the coastal

zone in which they operate. The Commonwealth Government can provide an

important incentive for companies and individuals by allowing expenditure on such

projects to be deductible from income assessed for tax purposes.

R.16 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government ensure that company and individual contributions towards the cost of projects designed to improve the quality of resources in the coastal zone be an allowable deduction from income assessed for tax purposes.

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370 Conclusions and recommendations

19.9 THE ROLE OF INDIGENOUS PEOPLE

Recognition of traditional rights

19.47. Considerable conflict, including situations of undue harassment (as have arisen

in some cases), will be avoided if governments and indigenous people can negotiate an

agreement that recognises the importance of hunting, fishing and gathering in many

indigenous people's diets and cultures across Australia.

R.17 The Inquiry recommends that

the Council of Australian Governments, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, initiate a process whereby traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights are recognised by governments and amendments are made to laws and regulations to

incorporate this recognition and provide mechanisms for resolving disputes;

in the interim, governments ensure that there are no unreasonable prosecutions relating to these matters under existing laws and regulations.

19.48. In this regard, the Inquiry deplores governments' lack of action in response to

the recommendations of previous inquiries, in particular the Law Reform Commission's

1986 inquiry into the recognition of Aboriginal customary laws.

R.18 The Inquiry recommends that

in the event of failure during 1994 to negotiate satisfactory nationwide arrangements for traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights, the Commonwealth enact legislation to establish national criteria for such rights;

the legislation be based on the principles, priorities and definitions recommended by the Law Reform Commission in its 1986 report on customary laws and be agreed through negotiations with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations.

Involvement in managing conservation areas

19.49. There is considerable variation across Australia in the extent of involvement of

indigenous people in the management of conservation areas such as national parks,

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Conclusions and recommendations 371

marine parks and World Heritage areas. In view of the importance of land and coastal

waters in indigenous society, there is scope for much greater involvement in the

management of these areas.

R.19 The Inquiry recommends that

the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, establish criteria for the participation of indigenous people in the

management of conservation areas, including national parks, marine parks and World Heritage areas;

the criteria include provision for indigenous people's representation on relevant authorities and boards of management or equivalent bodies, and for the establishment of indigenous consultative committees to advise these bodies on issues that affect them;

the Commonwealth take the initiative in this process by amending the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Act 1975, in accordance with this recommendation and the recommendation of the 1993 Whitehouse report that the Authority be authorised to enter into formal management

agreements with indigenous communities.

Involvement in coastal zone management

19.50. The Inquiry notes the important contribution that some indigenous

communities make to coastal zone management. Steps should be taken to ensure that

more indigenous communities participate effectively in the National Coastal Action

Program.

R.20 The Inquiry recommends that

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, in conjunction with state resource management agencies,

- support, extend and coordinate nationally the community ranger system by ensuring adequate, continuing funding of rangers and by helping local communities to resolve training, accreditation and authority matters;

- support the establishment of agencies similar to the Kowanyama Land and Natural Resources Management Office to help indigenous

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372 Conclusions and recommendations

communities manage those parts of the coastal zone they own or control;

review funding options for these initiatives, including the provision of additional Commonwealth and state funds, the negotiation of subcontracting arrangements with those resource management agencies that benefit from the initiatives, the earmarking of a proportion of the budgets of such agencies for supporting the initiatives, and the payment of fees and royalties by the users of resources in areas owned or controlled by indigenous people.

Involvement in policy processes

19.51. As with local communities in general, the interests of indigenous communities

need to be taken into account at an early stage in policy making relevant to coastal

zone resource use.

R.21 The Inquiry recommends that

state and Commonwealth natural resource management agencies establish units to provide advice on indigenous interests as part of policy-making mechanisms and consult with representatives of indigenous organisations and peak industry bodies in establishing these units;

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission ensure that land councils and other indigenous organisations in the coastal zone have sufficient resources to carry out their responsibilities effectively when

administering procedures for development proposals.

Increased communication

19.52. There is a need to improve communication and understanding between

indigenous people and particular industries. The Inquiry commends the constructive

work of the Mining Committee of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.

R.22 The Inquiry recommends that

the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet provide full support for the Committee's proposed Joint Council on Aboriginal Land and Mining.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

Fisheries strategy

19.53. Although many uncertainties remain about the long-term impact of the High

Court's decision on native title, further exploration of the nature of customary marine

tenure systems and traditional fishing practices is necessary if indigenous interests in

fisheries management are to be recognised. Measures are also required to encourage

self-reliance and the economic development of marine resources among indigenous

coastal communities.

__________________________________________________ Conclusions and recommendations 373

R.23 The Inquiry recommends that

the proposed Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture, in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, prepare an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fisheries Strategy.

the key elements of the Strategy be as follows:

- assessments by all fisheries authorities of indigenous interests in fisheries for which they have responsibility. Such assessments should include a review of the nature and extent of continuing customary marine tenure and traditional fishing practices in each fishery and

how these might contribute to fisheries policy and management; impediments to indigenous people's participation in commercial fishing; and the impact of commercial fishing on fishing for traditional purposes;

- representation of indigenous people on advisory committees for all major fisheries (as recommended by the Ecologically Sustainable Development Working Group on Fisheries) and identification of means by which indigenous communities can participate in the

management of local fisheries and marine environments in which they have a traditional interest;

- measures to improve economic development and employment opportunities for indigenous communities in fisheries and mariculture ventures. Options include the reservation of a proportion of fishing or other licences for indigenous communities, the purchase of such licences on behalf of indigenous communities by the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, and the establishment of fishing

zones adjacent to land owned or controlled by indigenous people in which communities could operate their own commercial enterprises, participate in joint ventures, or license access by other marine resource users;

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374 Conclusions and recommendations

- measures to improve relations between indigenous communities, fisheries agency staff and commercial fishers, including cross-cultural awareness programs for agency staff and the organisation of local and regional workshops to discuss issues of mutual interest and concern.

19.54. Improved educational and training facilities for indigenous people are

necessary to ensure that those wishing to take part in commercial fishing ventures are

able to do so effectively.

R.24 The Inquiry recommends that

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission evaluate the experience of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in supporting indigenous fisheries in the Pacific Islands, with a view to determining options for improving education and training among Australia's indigenous fishing communities;

this evaluation include assessment of the potential education value of the experience gained by relatively successful indigenous organisations such as the Tiwi Land Council on Bathurst and Melville Islands and Yirrkala Business Enterprises Pty Ltd in north-east Arnhem Land;

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission provide financial assistance and management training to indigenous people, to facilitate their participation in the commercial fishing (including mariculture) industry.

Cultural heritage

19.55. Information about cultural heritage generally—that is, for both indigenous and

non-indigenous people—is an important component of the information needed for

integrated management of the resources of the coastal zone, and it is essential for

ensuring that heritage values are adequately protected. At present, state heritage

bodies, the Australian Heritage Commission, and some museums, universities and

other bodies collect, store and generally facilitate the gathering of heritage information.

Some indigenous communities have also compiled and hold detailed records relating to

their sacred sites and other areas of cultural significance.

19.56. Issues connected with the ownership and control of cultural property require

resolution at intergovernmental level. Progress towards finalising an agreement

between governments on cultural heritage protection is slow and the categories

covered by the current draft agreement are very limited.

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Conclusions and recommendations 375

R.25 The Inquiry recommends that

the Australian Aboriginal Affairs Council, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, speedily adopt a national policy on ownership of and access rights to indigenous cultural property, including places, objects and information.

19.57. It is essential that the recording of sites—both those that have value as

material evidence of original occupation and those that embody the sacred and secular

traditions of contemporary indigenous people—occurs in as many indigenous

communities as possible, to ensure that other users of coastal zone resources take

account of the presence and significance of such sites and traditions. Existing agencies

have insufficient resources to carry out this task in a comprehensive and coordinated

fashion. Moreover, indigenous people believe that the process and the information

should be controlled by local communities. The Inquiry agrees with this.

R.26 The Inquiry recommends that

the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Australian Heritage Commission and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, review the role of Commonwealth programs and legislation

in securing a national approach to recording and protecting indigenous cultural heritage;

the review be conducted with a view to establishing a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Council to provide funds and advice to local indigenous communities so that they can record and protect cultural heritage sites and information and to coordinate the activities of existing

government agencies administering programs of this kind;

the review be conducted with a view to extending to other states provisions in existing Commonwealth heritage protection legislation that relate only to Victoria;

the review examine the option of this Heritage Council playing a central role in helping local communities to implement natural resource management initiatives.

19.10 IMPROVING REGIONAL AND LOCAL MANAGEMENT

19.58. More effective and efficient management mechanisms, including the

preparation and implementation of strategies for the management and use of coastal

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376 Conclusions and recommendations

zone resources, are key components of the National Coastal Action Program. Local

authorities and some government agencies have key roles to play in the Program.

Management expertise

19.59. It is especially important that all employees of local government authorities in

the coastal zone are fully aware of the objectives and principles of the National Coastal

Action Program so they can fully participate in the Program.

R.27 The Inquiry recommends that

local governments in the coastal zone, with the assistance of the National Coastal Management Agency, ensure that all of their staff are fully aware of the implications of the National Coastal Action Program that relate to their areas of responsibility.

19.60. The expertise currently available to many local government authorities is not

adequate to meet the increasing demands of coastal zone resource management,

including the need to prepare strategies. Steps are being taken to overcome some of

these deficiencies, but further action is necessary to enable local government

authorities to play their full part in the National Coastal Action Program. Particular

attention should be directed to defining the required competencies of staff and ensuring

their capacity to participate in multidisciplinary approaches to management

R.28 The Inquiry recommends that

local governments define the range of competencies and expertise needed for the tasks associated with integrated management of resources and make full use of the range of relevant programs of assistance offered by the Commonwealth and state governments, the Australian Local Government Training Board and local government associations.

19.61. To facilitate implementation of the National Coastal Action Program,

Commonwealth, state and local governments should enter into partnerships that

include arrangements based on priority needs, to provide the human and other

resources necessary for integrated and strategic coastal zone management.

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Conclusions and recommendations 377

R.29 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Management Agency ensure that the required expertise is available to achieve the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program by the provision of funds and assistance from Commonwealth and state agencies to local authorities and regional

organisations to develop the required expertise: Commonwealth Government assistance be provided through existing programs such as the Local Government Development Program and the National Urban Development Program.

Tertiary education

19.62. To meet the demands of government agencies, particularly local government

authorities, for the expertise required for integrated coastal zone management,

universities and TAPE colleges will become increasingly important as providers of

training and expertise for coastal resource management. Expansion of courses will be

necessary, particularly of courses that focus on integrated and strategic approaches to

resource management

R.30 The Inquiry recommends that

universities and TAPE colleges review courses dealing with resource management and related issues, to ensure that integrated and strategic approaches to resource management, including coastal management issues, are offered as part of these courses;

universities, TAPE colleges and local government associations in each state establish forums for continuing consultation about courses relevant to coastal management;

the Australian Research Council allocate funds for the establishment of key centres for teaching and research related to coastal resource management as part of the forthcoming round of grants to these centres. The centres should be established to ensure coverage of the full range of Australian coastal environments;

the Australian Research Council allocate funds for the establishment of a key centre where the natural resource management practices of Australia's indigenous people can be researched and documented and where users of both traditional and contemporary management techniques can exchange

information and provide advice on the way in which these techniques can be integrated.

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378 Conclusions and recommendations

Integration of local government activities

19.63. Integration of the activities and administration of local authorities is very

important for improving local coastal zone management; the Integrated Local Area

Planning program is playing a significant role in this regard.

R.31 The Inquiry recommends that

funding for the Integrated Local Area Planning program be extended to support more local authorities in the coastal zone.

Local resource management strategies

19.64. The current coverage of local and regional coastal plans and strategies is

incomplete and the strategies' effectiveness in contributing to management objectives is

variable. Local authorities' land use planning mechanisms tend to be inflexible and pay

little heed to the wider context of resource management. The agreed coastal zone

objectives and principles must be reflected in effective management action.

R.32 The Inquiry recommends that

local governments in the coastal zone develop resource management strategies, assisted by advisory groups comprising representatives of local communities and industries and relevant state and Commonwealth

agencies;

the application of land use planning mechanisms be more flexible, take a holistic view incorporating economic, ecological and social considerations, and be directed specifically at achieving the long-term objectives of the resource management strategy adopted for each area.

19.65. To implement integrated and strategic management approaches, local

governments must ensure that they have appropriate administrative structures and

expertise and that the provision of infrastructure and services meets the requirements

of local and regional coastal strategies.

R.33 The Inquiry recommends that

local authorities in the coastal zone review their administrative arrangements to ensure they are capable of developing and implementing coastal zone strategies;

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Conclusions and recommendations 379

the provision of infrastructure and services within local authorities' jurisdiction take place in accordance with agreed local coastal strategies and be subjected to the same assessment and approval processes as those required for other developments and conservation proposals.

Regional resource management strategies

19.66. Many coastal zone management issues extend beyond the boundaries of

individual local authorities, and they extend to marine as well as land-based resources.

As a consequence, a regional approach to coastal zone management is also necessary,

fully supported by local, state and Commonwealth governments. The 'tyranny of small

decisions' must be overcome, and state, local and Commonwealth government

management activities must be integrated at regional levels.

R.34 The Inquiry recommends that

regional coastal zone strategies be developed, principal responsibility for their promotion and implementation resting with state governments;

the regional strategies be developed by groups comprising representatives of regional communities and industries, local authorities, and relevant state and Commonwealth government agencies.

Regional boundaries

19.67. Most state governments have already defined regional boundaries for the

purpose of preparing regional strategies and for other purposes, including the provision

of services. As far as practicable, biophysical, social and administrative systems should

form the basis for regional coastal strategies. Marine areas should be included in

regional boundaries to ensure that land-based activities that affect marine resources are

taken into account.

R.35 The Inquiry recommends that

all states review existing regional boundaries, in consultation with local governments, to ensure that they provide a sound basis for implementing coastal resource management on a regional basis, incorporating both land and marine resources.

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380 Conclusions and recommendations

Funding

19.68. Commonwealth, state and local governments should jointly provide financial

support and management training for the development of local and regional strategies.

Governments should also consider providing funding for experienced facilitators to

help local councils develop their own strategies and participate in the development of

regional strategies. It will take a considerable time for all areas in the coastal zone to

be included in the regional and local management arrangements as proposed by the

Inquiry. Those regions and local areas that are under the greatest management stress

should therefore be given priority in the provision of assistance to achieve these

outcomes.

R.36 The Inquiry recommends that

funding for the preparation of coastal management strategies be allocated to local government areas and regions in the coastal zone that are experiencing the greatest management stress;

priority funding areas be identified following consultation between local government associations, state coastal coordinating committees and the National Coastal Management Agency. Priority should be determined on the basis of the significance of the management problems being experienced in an area, including the degree of urbanisation, the potential for declining water quality, and a high number of competing demands for resource uses;

funds for the development of local and regional strategies be provided by all spheres of government The shares to be determined by agreement between governments;

the process of strategy preparation meet the criteria proposed by the Inquiry for effective local and regional coastal zone strategies.

Implementation

19.69. Implementing coastal zone strategies is primarily a matter for state, local and

Commonwealth governments, which need to act to ensure that the objectives of the

strategies are achieved. This may require state governments to amend legislation so

that decisions about resource uses (including resource uses by state and local

government agencies) are in accordance with the strategies. An alternative is to

develop arrangements whereby the agreed implementation actions are endorsed by

governments, with an undertaking that government agencies will act in accordance with the strategies.

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Conclusions and recommendations 381

R.37 The Inquiry recommends that

provision of funds to assist in the preparation of strategies be conditional on agreements being reached to ensure that strategies are implemented when finalised.

19.11 APPROVAL SYSTEMS AND IMPACT ASSESSMENT

19.70. The current reforms of state and local government development approvals

processes will help to achieve greater integration of these processes and thus reduce

some of the inefficiencies that exist. But even when these reforms are fully effective

there will still be considerable scope for greater integration of the processes. Reform is

necessary to increase the effectiveness of referral processes, to extend the application

of approval processes to all land-based and marine resources, and to include proposals

for conservation as well as development proposals in the processes.

R.38 The Inquiry recommends that

it is important that each state develop a single, unified assessment and approvals system to deal with all development and conservation proposals in the coastal zone, including proposals affecting marine resources.

19.71. It is of paramount importance that consideration of resource uses in the

coastal zone be based on thorough analyses of the impacts of proposals. The integrity

of assessment and evaluation processes will be assured only if rigorous and transparent

procedures are adopted; environmental and other impact assessments will then be

subject to detailed scrutiny by the agencies responsible and be available for public

comment before decisions are made.

R.39 The Inquiry recommends that

state and Commonwealth governments adopt stringent guidelines for the conduct of environmental and other impact assessments of development proposals, including rigorous and transparent procedures for their

evaluation and the setting of timetables for their compilation.

19.72. To ensure that all impacts of major development proposals are taken into

account, their social, cultural and economic effects need to be assessed before

decisions are made that affect the uses of coastal zone resources. It will usually be

appropriate for these impacts to be assessed separately from environmental impacts.

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382 Conclusions and recommendations

R.40 The Inquiry recommends that

development approval processes include assessment of the ecological, economic, social and cultural effects of major proposals, including their effects on Australia's indigenous communities.

19.73. There are many cases in which the cumulative impacts of developments in the

coastal zone have had serious long term consequences for the environment

Governments need to ensure that the cumulative impacts of development are taken

fully into account before approving development proposals.

R.41 The Inquiry recommends that

the potential ecological, economic, social and cultural impacts of development proposals, including potential cumulative impacts, be evaluated on a broader scale than the immediate development site;

the National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating committees evaluate the role that strategic environmental assessment procedures can play in assessing cumulative impacts of development proposals.

19.12 ECONOMIC AND FINANCIAL INSTRUMENTS

19.74. Greater use of economic and financial instruments can help reduce

over-exploitation of coastal zone resources and ensure that future resource uses meet

the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. Correctly applied, such

instruments enable the recovery of costs associated with resource uses, encouraging

more efficient uses of those resources and providing incentives to minimise the cost of

complying with standards for the use of resources.

Water quality instruments

19.75. Improving the management of water and wastes that are discharged into rivers

and other water bodies is one of the most important challenges facing coastal zone

managers. Inefficient uses of water must be discouraged and the use of more efficient

waste disposal mechanisms must be encouraged.

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Conclusions and recommendations 383

R.42 The Inquiry recommends that

state governments require all authorities responsible for the supply of water and the disposal of water and other wastes to take urgent steps to introduce charges that reflect the costs of supplying these services.

19.76. The use of emission permit trading should be extended to encourage

reductions in the discharge of wastes, particularly into river systems and the ocean.

R.43 The Inquiry recommends that

state governments take urgent steps to facilitate the use of tradeable permit systems designed to encourage resource users to meet water quality criteria.

User charges

19.77. The general principle of user-pays should not be limited to water and waste

disposal: it should be adopted for all resource use activities in the coastal zone,

although there will be circumstances in which modifications will be necessary in the

interests of equity and efficiency. The application of user charges (such as national

park fees, camping fees and car parking charges) designed to cover the costs of

management and provision of facilities in the coastal zone should be extended.

R.44 The Inquiry recommends that

all government agencies responsible for coastal zone resources review existing charges with a view to recovering costs from users;

charges be applied to limit resource uses in areas where those uses have adverse environmental consequences;

concessional charges or exemptions be applied to lower income groups to ensure that they continue to have access to such areas.

Developer contributions

19.78. As a general principle, developers should contribute to the cost of extensions

to physical and social infrastructure necessary to meet demands arising from the

development, and they should contribute to the continuing cost of monitoring and

managing environmental impacts arising from the development

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384 Conclusions and recommendations

R.45 The Inquiry recommends that

developer contributions be required to ensure that the full, identifiable social, ecological and economic costs arising from new developments in the coastal zone are met by the developers and thus included in the calculations of financial and economic returns before investment is

undertaken;

the identification and funding by governments of costs associated with social or community service obligations be undertaken on a case-by-case basis;

the proceeds of developer contributions be distributed to agencies that meet the costs associated with each development.

Performance bonds

19.79. Relevant agencies in all spheres of government must have funds available to

remedy environmental damage arising from development that fails to comply with

approved conditions, and to provide incentives for improved environmental

performance generally.

R.46 The Inquiry recommends that

the use of performance bonds be extended to all new development projects in the coastal zone, unless equally effective alternative enforcement measures can be demonstrated to exist.

Levies

19.80. In recent years some governments have introduced specific levies to help

finance resource management Such levies have the potential to generate considerable

revenue to assist in funding the National Coastal Action Program, but the community

must be able to have confidence that the levies are fair and necessary and are applied

only to the use for which they were introduced.

R.47 The Inquiry recommends that

specific levies be used to help finance coastal zone management, provided that the measures are shown to be necessary for resource management purposes, that the revenue generated is set aside for these purposes, and that arrangements are fully transparent to the community.

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Conclusions and recommendations 385

Accommodation tax

19.81. Another funding option is an accommodation tax on visitors to the coastal

zone. The administrative costs associated with implementing such a tax would

probably be minimal because of existing tax collection arrangements, and revenue

could potentially be allocated to areas of greatest need or importance.

R.48 The Inquiry recommends that

state governments introduce a tax on accommodation charges in the coastal zone;

state governments levy the tax throughout the coastal zone within their jurisdiction using existing tax collection arrangements;

state governments distribute the revenue obtained to state agencies and local government authorities on a competitive basis, such agencies and authorities being required to submit expenditure proposals according to criteria designed to achieve agreed coastal zone management objectives, particularly those related to resources used for tourism purposes.

Potential benefits of economic instruments

19.82. As part of the National Coastal Action Program, there is a need for increasing

awareness among government agencies and the general public of the potential benefits

of economic instruments.

R.49 The Inquiry recommends that

the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Energy and state coastal coordinating committees and other relevant agencies, initiate pilot programs in which specific economic and financial instruments appropriate

to coastal zone management are further researched, designed, implemented and promoted.

Environmental impacts of coastal industries

19.83. Recent Industry Commission reports on various industries operating in the

coastal zone have raised questions about the undesirable environmental impacts of

those industries but have not considered them in detail. These matters should be

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386 Conclusions and recommendations

further investigated to ensure that the consequences of current policies are fully

understood.

R.50 The Inquiry recommends that

the Bureau of Resource Sciences, the Bureau of Industry Economics and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics examine the following matters:

- the environmental implications of government policies and programs pertaining to industries operating in the coastal zone;

- the means of ensuring that such implications are taken into account when government policies and programs are developed;

- impediments in current economic and industry policies and programs to the attainment of the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program;

- ways in which current economic and industry policies and programs can be modified, so that they are consistent with attainment of the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program.

19.13 RESEARCH AND INFORMATION

Information systems

19.84. Information systems for coastal zone management should be developed at

local and regional levels, where they can be designed to best meet the needs of coastal

resource managers. In order that this 'cellular' approach can contribute to an effective

and efficient national network of marine and coastal data providers and users, there

must be effective national coordination of matters such as setting standards for data

collection and transfer, establishing national directories of data sets, and setting

priorities for new national data sets.

19.85. The Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee can play an important

coordinating role in the Commonwealth sphere; this can help provide the basis for

progressive improvements in coordination between all spheres of government. The

National Resources Information Centre, which operates the National Directoiy of

Australian Resources, and the Environmental Resources Information Network, which

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Conclusions and recommendations 387

is developing the National Marine Information System, can also play important

coordinating roles.

R.51 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee establish a sub-group on coastal and marine data to develop standards and enhance collaboration for the collection, distribution and use of data by relevant Commonwealth agencies;

the Natural Resources Information Centre be given additional funding to establish a comprehensive national directory of marine and coastal data sets;

the Environmental Resource Information Network receive additional funding to enable more rapid development of a distribution network for coastal and marine data sets as part of the National Marine Information System;

the National Coastal Management Agency provide financial assistance and advice to local and state governments to undertake coastal resource inventories, such assistance to be conditional on agreed standards for data collection and transfer.

Information costs

19.86. The pricing of information transfers between governments should not be such

that it impedes access and discourages well-informed decision making about the uses

of coastal resources.

R.52 The Inquiry recommends that

coastal resource information held by government agencies be available to other government agencies for the cost of transferring the information, as proposed by the Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council in its Draft National Policy on the Transfer of Land Related Data;

policies related to the financial structure of government agencies be based on this principle, so that the flow of information required for achieving the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program is not constrained by charges made by government agencies holding that information.

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388 Conclusions and recommendations

Information access

19.87. Coastal zone managers at the local level need better access to information and

enhanced skills and capacities for using that information.

R.53 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government continue to support the Local Government Environmental Information Exchange Scheme recently established by the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories

and provide funding so that the Scheme can continue to support environmental resource officers attached to local government associations;

in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories and the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services, the National Coastal Management Agency consider ways of providing assistance to local authorities to make better use of the information available for coastal zone management; such assistance to include specialist advice on gaining access to and using information, dissemination of knowledge about 'best practice' information systems, and the holding of regional workshops to discuss these and related matters;

in consultation with information users, the National Resources Information Centre and the Environmental Resources Information Network take further steps to develop coordinated services oriented to the needs of coastal resource managers, including state and local governments, industry, the research community and relevant community groups.

19.88. The Marine and Coastal Community Network can play an important role in the

implementation of the National Coastal Action Program by providing community

groups, industry and government with information about various community-based

programs (including the proposed Coastcare initiative), by publicising successful

involvement processes, effective education projects and 'best practice' methods, and by

facilitating communication between groups with interests in the coastal zone. If the

Network is to perform these functions fully in all parts of the coastal zone, it will need

additional funding for the provision of more regional coordinators and associated

communications infrastructure.

R.54 The Inquiry recommends that

funding of the Marine and Coastal Community Network be increased to ensure that it is fully effective in facilitating community involvement in all regions of the coastal zone during the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program.

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Conclusions and recommendations 389

19.89. The requirements for research in the priority areas identified by the Inquiry

need to be reviewed in greater depth, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses

of current knowledge for coastal zone management in particular regions, the objectives

of the National Coastal Action Program, the identified needs of coastal resource

managers, and the adequacy of arrangements for coordination between research

agencies.

Research priorities

19.90. The Australian Science and Technology Council, which has a mandate to

provide information and advice on science and technology matters related to the

enhancement of national well-being, and which has had considerable recent experience

in reviewing research needs in fields such as northern Australia, environmental

research, and the contribution of the social sciences and humanities to research, is an

appropriate body to undertake this review.

R.55 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government provide funding to the Australian Science and Technology Council to review the research priorities proposed by the Inquiry and examine ways of achieving better coordination of research efforts in these priority areas and improved communication between

researchers and management agencies;

the following matters be reviewed:

- coordination arrangements for research funding and priority setting, to ensure that adequate research is undertaken in priority areas and that consultation with coastal resource managers is established and maintained;

- the adequacy or otherwise of existing arrangements for collecting baseline data, undertaking inventories and conducting long-term monitoring for the purposes of coastal resource management;

- the need for establishment of a system for periodic review of coastal research priorities, including monitoring of expenditures and the effectiveness of research.

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390 Conclusions and recommendations

19.14 SURVEILLANCE AND QUARANTINE

Surveillance

19.91. The great length of Australia's coastline, other physical constraints, and limited

resources available to government agencies mean that it will never be possible to

ensure the absolute effectiveness of national surveillance and enforcement programs.

But the issues and risks involved are of vital importance to Australia, from both an

environmental perspective and an economic perspective, and it is essential that

effective and efficient surveillance activities continue.

19.92. For a number of reasons, including its role as a border crossing and its relative

isolation, there is a need for a large number of Commonwealth and Queensland

government authorities to be represented in Torres Strait. The officers representing

these authorities are mostly based on Thursday Island, which serves as a regional

administrative and service centre, and there is a high degree of cooperation and

coordination between the officers. The Inquiry has heard considerable and persuasive

argument in support of the establishment of a higher level government presence in the

north of the Torres Strait region, which faces special resource management problems.

R.56 The Inquiry recommends that

the Commonwealth Government establish a base facility on Saibai Island for use by officers of the Commonwealth representing immigration, quarantine and customs interests in the area. This facility should be staffed continuously, possibly by one or two officials holding delegated powers to represent more than one of those interests;

members of local indigenous communities be trained and employed as part­ time quarantine monitoring and reporting staff, and that the employment of quarantine assistants on Yorke, Saibai, Badu and Damley Islands be continued.

19.93. Although increasing concern about the need for enhancing Coastwatch's

capacity in relation to surveillance of night-time movements is yet to be reflected in the

policy determinations of the Coastwatch client agencies, the Inquiry has received

convincing evidence of the need to enhance night-time surveillance capability,

particularly in Torres Strait. A night-time surveillance capability is also essential for

proper protection against illegal fishing operations in important conservation zones in

the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. A sufficiently resourced effort is needed to

counter this problem, rather than just a continuation of monitoring activities.

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Conclusions and recommendations 391

R.57 The Inquiry recommends that

the night-time civil surveillance and interception capabilities of agencies with enforcement responsibilities in northern coastal areas be increased, including as a high priority the equipping of Coastwatch with night-vision capacity appropriate for use in the Torres Strait region and in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park;

adequate funding be allocated for the provision of aircraft with advanced detection capabilities and for their use in support of enforcement action in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Quarantine issues

19.94. The threat of introduction to Australia of serious diseases and pests that are

present in South East Asia and Papua New Guinea, and the potentially very great

environmental and economic costs that would be incurred should those diseases and

pests become established here, require that Australia's quarantine strategy be reviewed

frequently. Frequent review and consideration of objectives and approaches are

fundamental to the application of a strategic approach to these issues.

R.58 The Inquiry recommends that

consistent with the recommendations of the 1988 Lindsay Committee report, Australia's quarantine strategy be subject to a major external review in 1994;

the review focus mainly on the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, with particular emphasis on the adequacy of resources available for effective quarantine measures in northern Australia and include consideration of the adequacy of current measures to minimise the risk of

introduction of pests and diseases through illegal immigration and through the movement of people in the Torres Strait Protected Zone.

19.95. At present, limited support is provided by the Department of Defence to civil

surveillance activities in northern Australia. The Inquiry was advised that there are

resources available to the Department of Defence in northern Australia, particularly in

the Torres Strait area, which could be used to further supplement civil surveillance

resources without detriment to their own responsibilities.

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392 Conclusions and recommendations

19.96. In relation to the question of Defence support,

R.59 The Inquiry recommends that

the Department of Defence and Coastwatch review their current coordination and support arrangements to determine ways in which the Defence Forces, particularly the Australian Army, could provide greater

support to civil surveillance and possibly civil enforcement 'tastings', particularly in remote regions of northern Australia, including Cape York and Torres Strait.

Ballast water

19.97. There is an urgent need for further research into the potential effects of exotic

pests and diseases introduced to Australian waters through ballast water discharges,

into strategies for the management and possible eradication of such introduced pests

and diseases, and into ways of preventing the introduction of other pests and diseases.

This research should be closely coordinated with the research being undertaken by

other affected countries.

R.60 The Inquiry recommends that

the arrangements that have been established to manage the current research program into the management and possible eradication of exotic marine pests and diseases introduced through ballast water discharge and into ways of preventing the introduction of other pests and diseases be maintained and that funding be provided by the Commonwealth to ensure continuation of the research program until it has achieved its objectives.

19.98. Effective arrangements for handling ballast water can be established only if a

set of national guidelines is adopted by all relevant authorities.

R.61 The Inquiry recommends that

the domestic guidelines for handling ballast water drafted by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service be adopted by all Australian governments having responsibility for shipping and ports administration.

Enforcement of fisheries regulations

19.99. Although enforcement of fishing regulations in remote areas is difficult

because of the limited resources available to fisheries authorities, breaches of

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Conclusions and recommendations 393

regulations are a cause of great concern to many people and organisations. These

include indigenous people who live in these areas and have particular interests in the

management of local fisheries; fishing management authorities; resource managers such

as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; and commercial and recreational

fishing organisations. The potential for conflicts arising from failure to enforce existing

laws and regulations is very great. Action is required by governments to remedy the

situation.

R.62 The Inquiry recommends that

the Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture conduct an urgent review of options for dealing with breaches of fisheries regulations in all state and Commonwealth waters;

this review be undertaken in conjunction with Commonwealth and state fisheries authorities, the National Fishing Industry Council, the Australian Recreational and Sport Fishing Confederation, and representatives of

indigenous communities.

19.15 RELATIONSHIP TO OTHER NATIONAL STRATEGIES

19.100. Implementation of the National Coastal Action Program should be integrated

with the implementation of other strategies, programs and initiatives affecting the

resources of the coastal zone.

R.63 The Inquiry recommends that

as existing national strategies, programs and other initiatives that affect the use of resources in the coastal zone are further developed and implemented, the agencies concerned ensure that these strategies, programs and initiatives are consistent with the objectives and principles

for coastal zone management agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments;

monitoring of the implementation and impacts of other strategies and programs be carried out by the National Coastal Management Agency in coordination with the agencies responsible for those strategies and in conjunction with state coastal coordinating committees and the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee.

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394 Conclusions and recommendations

19.16 FUNDING

19.101. The Inquiry estimates that implementation of the National Coastal Action

Program will require expenditure of approximately $23 million each year for the first

three years of the Program. All spheres of government should share in the provision of

resources according to their responsibilities and financial capacities. Existing

Commonwealth programs may be able to provide funding for some components of the

Program; however, higher levels of recurrent Commonwealth expenditure will be

necessary to raise national levels of expenditure on coastal zone management

R.64 The Inquiry recommends that

all spheres of government provide adequate funds to ensure that the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program are achieved;

each sphere of government review its allocation of resources for coastal zone management in light of the objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program in time for adjustments to be included in budgetary allocations starting in 1994-95;

the Commonwealth Government review existing programs relevant to the Program and increase its overall level of expenditure to ensure that the components of the National Coastal Action Program recommended by the Inquiry are implemented in 1994-95.

19.102. Implementation of the National Coastal Action Program will require

agreement between governments concerning funding of expenditures, including

funding of the National Coastal Management Agency and programs forming part of the

National Coastal Action Program, and Commonwealth legislation.

R.65 The Inquiry recommends that

the proposed Coastal Resource Management Act provide for agreements between the Commonwealth and state governments in relation to the funding of the National Coastal Action Program, including funding for the National Coastal Management Agency and other parts of the Program;

such agreements should include provision for funding according to well-defined criteria and provision for ongoing evaluation of outcomes;

expenditures on the National Coastal Action Program by each sphere of government be conditional on programs and policies being designed and implemented in accordance with objectives agreed by the Council of Australian Governments and incorporated in the proposed Coastal Resource Management Act.

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Conclusions and recommendations 395

19.103. To enable it to effectively monitor expenditure on management of coastal

zone resources, the National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal

coordinating committees will need to obtain accounting data from many local

government authorities and government agencies in a standardised format.

R.66 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Management Agency, in conjunction with state coastal coordinating committees, local government associations and Commonwealth agencies, develop a standardised accounting format to assist in monitoring expenditures on coastal zone management, particularly

expenditures on clearly identifiable and important aspects of management.

19.104. An important element of the monitoring that should be undertaken by the

National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating committees is the

design and use of performance indicators related to expenditure from funds devoted to

coastal management purposes.

R.67 The Inquiry recommends that

the National Coastal Management Agency, in coordination with state coastal coordinating committees, local government associations and Commonwealth government agencies, develop indicators that can be used to monitor the use and effectiveness of funds spent as part of the National Coastal Action Program.

19.17 IMPLEMENTATION

19.105. To ensure that the National Coastal Action Program is implemented without

undue delay, it is essential that governments agree to implement relevant aspects of the

Program according to the Inquiry’s proposed implementation agenda.

R.68 The Inquiry recommends that

governments adopt the agenda for implementing the National Coastal Action Program;

19.106. The Program must be carried out in an effective and efficient manner and it is essential that an effective monitoring and evaluation program be put in place.

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396 Conclusions and recommendations

R.69 The Inquiry recommends that

implementation of the National Coastal Action Program be monitored and evaluated by the National Coastal Management Agency. The Agency should report annually to the Council of Australian Governments and its report should be publicly available.

RAC Coastal Zone Inquiry Final Report 1993

APPENDIX A BUILDING, TOURISM, MARICULTURE AND COASTAL ZONE MANAGEMENT

A.01. This appendix examines in some detail the three activities specifically

mentioned in the Inquiry's terms of reference: building, tourism and mariculture. It

provides a brief description of the contribution made by each sector to the Australian

economy, together with current resource use and management issues.

A.02. Numerous other industries such as commercial fishing, mineral exploration,

mining, manufacturing, transport and other service industries also make significant

calls on coastal zone resources. This appendix does not provide an analysis of these

industries; rather, it deals with building, tourism and mariculture as examples of the

management problems that arise through coastal zone resource use.

A.03. Section A. 1 examines a number of important matters stemming from building

activity in the coastal zone, including urbanisation. Section A.2 examines some aspects

of industrial development in coastal areas. The tourism industry is discussed in Section

A.3, and Section A.4 examines the mariculture industry.

A .l BUILDING AND URBANISATION

A.04. The coastal zone is the focus for much of Australia's building activity. This

activity takes many forms: residential development and subdivision; commercial and

industrial development; construction of roads and other infrastructure (such as water

and sewerage services); development of recreation facilities and public amenities;

tourist developments such as marinas and hotels; coastal protection works; and so on.

The extent of this development has grown rapidly in the coastal zone in the last two

decades.

A.05. The building industry Australia-wide contributes approximately 14 per cent to

gross domestic product and employs approximately 8 per cent of the workforce

(AUBRCC 1991). It consists of a variety of types of businesses, ranging from

individual operators to large national construction companies. It is a volatile industry

in which levels of activity fluctuate widely as part of the cyclical fluctuations in the

Australian economy.

A.06. As a consequence of rapid population growth in many coastal cities and towns

there has been a significant expansion of urban development into areas that were

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400 Appendix A

formerly dominated by rural activities. This urban expansion can be classified into two

main categories. One consists of the spread of new residential and associated

commercial areas around the perimeter of established towns and cities. These

developments are typically suburban in character and frequently made up of 'standard'

residential buildings. In many cases such developments are occupied by people

wishing to live permanently in the area; in some cases, they serve mainly as holiday

centres. The other category of urban expansion is the development of larger lots for

semi-rural uses, mainly in the hinterlands of coastal cities and towns. This type of

development is associated with a wide range of uses, from predominantly residential

activities on larger-than-normal lots to 'hobby farm' activities on lots of up to 20 or

more hectares.

Resource use issues

A.07. Urbanisation has profound effects on many important coastal zone resources.

It can result in the pollution of coastal waters by stormwater run-off and effluent

disposal, degradation of beaches and other natural environments from improper or

excessive use, a reduction in the area of bushland and wetlands, and habitat depletion.

A.08. Many of these impacts arise from urban lifestyles. When many urban

settlements were originally established, very little consideration was given to the

impact that urban living would have on the surrounding environment. Consequently,

many urban stormwater and sewerage systems discharge direcdy into coastal rivers and

waters, little thought having been given to the effects of such discharges on the quality

of the receiving waters. In addition, many areas surrounding population centres have

become over-exploited as people pursue recreation activities. Together these aspects

of population growth and urbanisation have had serious effects on many natural

resources (see Chapter 2).

A.09. Another source of impacts has been the development of new urban areas. In

most cases such developments have caused resources to be transferred from one use to

another; for example, from remnant bushland to residential estates. In some cases

conservation objectives have been ignored during development processes, resulting in

loss of habitats and overall environmental quality. New urban developments that are

poorly managed can also spread undesirable impacts on resources associated with

existing urban settlements.

A. 10. Rural residential and hobby farm developments can exacerbate the problems o f

urban sprawl. The low density o f these developments means that a proportionally

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larger area of land is converted to urban uses by a smaller number of people when

compared with similar development in urban areas. If this type of development is

poorly managed the potential impacts on remnant ecosystems and other resource uses

can be significant

A. 11. An associated impact arises when this type of land use occurs adjacent to

expanding urban areas and occupies land that could otherwise accommodate the

growth of more conventional types of urban settlements. These quasi-urban forms of

land use can place stress on the provision of services and infrastructure. Lower density

usually means high unit costs of providing and maintaining services and facilities such

as roads, water supply and education; unless those responsible for these developments

pay the incremental costs of supplying these services, there will be a decline in the

levels of services provided to the population of the area. In addition, the people that

occupy developments of this kind often have high expectations (based on previous

urban experiences) about the level of services that should be provided. Such

expectations are often converted into demands on local governments and other service

providers to supply additional facilities.

Management issues

A. 12. Various conservation groups pointed to shortcomings in planning processes as a

major cause of problems arising from urbanisation, including lack of long-term

planning; inflexible planning mechanisms that cannot accommodate changes in demand

for housing, employment, transport and community services; ad hoc development of

housing and infrastructure without proper consideration of impacts on coastal

environments; a lack of consistent goals and effective coordination; inadequate

planning schemes to control undesirable forms of development such as ribbon

development; little consideration for heritage and cultural values (including the values

of indigenous people); lack of uniformity in criteria for requiring environmental impact

assessments; and little consideration for cumulative effects of development (see, for

example, Trinity Bay and Inlet Society, Submission 300; Shire of Alberton,

Submission 269; Victorian National Parks Association, Submission 274; Queensland

Conservation Council, Submission 298; Australian Conservation Foundation,

Submission 310).

A. 13. Major management difficulties in coastal management arise from the

accumulated impacts of numerous uncoordinated development decisions—the

so-called tyranny of small decisions. Examples are the impacts associated with

over-clearing of land and over-fishing, and loss of water quality as a result of

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non-point-source pollutants entering waterways from land adjoining rivers. In the case

of urban development, an example of the way in which the impacts of small decisions

accumulate to create a significant impact can be found in the pattern of growth

associated with many small coastal towns: each additional subdivision may not of itself

appear to be significant, but the impacts of all subdivisions over a longer period result

not only in loss of amenity but also in loss in the quality of vital resources such as

water.

A. 14. The following are among the many management difficulties arising from the

impacts of development in existing urban areas:

• inadequate management of the day-to-day use of many recreational areas, including

foreshores and estuaries, resulting in degradation of these areas;

• the ad hoc nature of arrangements used to deal with the impacts of natural hazards

such as storms and shoreline erosion, including response strategies that affect

natural processes and ecosystems;

• inadequate arrangements to reduce the quantity of pollutants entering river,

estuarine, marine and groundwater systems to levels commensurate with their

assimilative capacities;

• the inadequacy of monitoring the quality of resources in areas significantly affected

by urban development, including monitoring of water quality, habitat change,

species diversity, recreational and commercial use levels, and natural processes.

This means that the impact of development cannot be assessed with any degree of

accuracy.

Current management initiatives

A. 15. There are some national initiatives designed to improve the management of

existing urban areas and so reduce the areas' impacts on the environment The

majority of Australian urban areas are located in the coastal zone, so these initiatives

can have important effects on the management of coastal land. Among the initiatives

are the National Housing Strategy, discussed in Chapter 16, and programs such as

Building Better Cities, Integrated Local Area Planning, and the Australian Model Code

for Residential Development, discussed elsewhere in this report.

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A. 16. Reforms to the management of urban growth and development being promoted

nationally are largely directed at state and local governments, which, through the use

of planning and building regulations, have direct control over the urban development

process. The basis of the development control systems is similar in all states but the

details vary. The case studies conducted by the Inquiry in collaboration with the states

provide a description of the major elements of these systems in each state.

A. 17. In general, planning schemes are used to allocate particular areas or zones to

broad classes of land use, such as residential, industrial or public open space. Schemes

generally specify the types of development that may be permitted in each area or zone

and a process for determining whether a particular development can be approved.

Most planning instruments provide for the amendment of schemes so that land can be

converted from one category to another, provided that the proposed 'rezoning'

complies with planning principles. Once planning approval has been sought for a

development, a building or development approval is usually required before any

construction can begin.

A. 18. Although planning schemes have the potential to take account of a broad range

of objectives in their preparation, they tend to be 'development facilitation' documents,

paying little regard to broader issues of environmental or resource management.

A. 19. Existing planning processes are generally confined to controlling budding and

subdivision at the design or pre-development stage. They offer very few ways of

monitoring and managing impacts arising from particular developments. Because of

this, management of the consequences of urban development is heavily dependent on

the quality of the building and subdivision process and on the rigour of the processes

by which amendments are made to the original plans.

A.20. Decision makers are frequently unable to identify the broader, diffuse

consequences of their decisions, whereas the benefits of development are readily

identifiable. Prospects of increased local economic activity and growth offered by land

developers can thus be very influential.

A.21. State government planning agencies throughout Australia have recognised

these concerns and are taking action to resolve some of the difficulties. The most

common response has been the use of planning studies to identify areas of land capable

of accommodating urban expansion and to guide the provision of infrastructure to

support this expansion. The plans are sometimes incorporated in broader

multi-objective regional planning exercises.

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A .2 COASTAL INDUSTRIAL DEVELOPMENT

A.22. Most of Australia's manufacturing industry is located in the coastal zone,

primarily because of the need for access to suitable ports for exporting to overseas and

local markets. Development of manufacturing and associated activities usually

requires substantial investment in building and construction activities and can lead to

significant increases in development in the areas affected.

A.23. The Inquiry commissioned case studies of developments at Kwinana in Western

Australia, Gladstone in Queensland and Western Port in Victoria (AGC Woodward-

Clyde 1993) to provide information about the implications of industrial development

for resource management in non-metropolitan coastal areas. The studies identified the

major resource uses associated with industrial development and the management

problems that have arisen in these three areas.

Resource use and management issues

A.24. The following were the main resource use problems identified in the case

studies of industrial development at Kwinana, Gladstone and Western Port:

• the use of land with deepwater port frontage by industries not requiring a port

location, making land unavailable for industries requiring port access and facilities;

• the encroachment of non-industrial and incompatible land uses on port and

industrial areas, thus reducing the amount of suitable land available for future

industrial development. In Gladstone, for example, this has led to the need to

release additional land further inland, to be connected to the coast by 'infrastructure

corridors';

• inappropriate siting of industrial plants in relation to residential areas;

• insufficient industrial land to accommodate further industrial development. In

Gladstone, for example, insufficient land was given as one reason for a major

steel-works operator (China Steel) locating elsewhere; •

• the visual impact of industrial development, especially for those living in adjacent

residential areas;

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• the environmental impacts of industrial development, including the impact of air

and water emissions on water quality, marine biota, the health of local residents

and sensitive foreshore areas, and the possibility of oil and other industrial spills;

• conflict with local communities about environmental impacts of air emissions,

health hazards and recreational access to coastal resources;

• the complicated nature of the approvals process for industrial development and the

length of time involved in processing approvals;

• the inconsistent application of environmental impact assessment procedures, some

major developments having gone ahead without any assessment at all while others

were subjected to rigorous assessment procedures.

A.25. Some of these outcomes were a consequence of the desire of state

governments to encourage developments. They actively encouraged industries to

locate in specific locations, often by providing financial and other incentives, including

exemptions from some approvals processes.

Current management initiatives

A.26. A number of initiatives have sought to tackle many of the problems arising

from the development of secondary industries in coastal areas. For example, the

Western Australian Government has a program to identify suitable sites within each

region of the State.

A.27. Of the three study areas, Western Port is the only area in which industrial

development proceeded, from the beginning, in accordance with a strategic plan.

Substantial areas were set aside for industrial development, port requirements and

adequate buffer zones between the industrial and residential areas. But Western Port

now has considerably more industrial land than is at present needed and there is

concern that the current study of port and industrial land allocations will result in

industrial land being rezoned for other uses, leading to insufficient land being available

in the future.

A.28. A number of strategic industrial development studies have been carried out by

state government agencies, reflecting the view that deepwater ports and associated

industrial estates are areas of state significance. In most cases, local government

by-laws do not apply to these areas or have been suspended to facilitate state

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government involvement. Two recent draft studies, the Gladstone Industrial Land Use

Study (AGC Woodward-Clyde 1993) and 'Towards Optimising Land Use in Kwinana'

(Dames & Moore 1993), recommend that state-level management structures be

established for ports and industrial estates. In addition, the Queensland Department of

the Premier, Economic and Trade Development is considering using powers under the

State Development and Public Works Organisation Act 1971 to establish a

management committee to implement the recommendations of the Gladstone Industrial

Land Use Study, with a management plan to replace local government planning

regulations.

A.29. A number of other initiatives are being used to assist in the management of

future developments. Responding to the high priority state governments have assigned

to port and industrial development, port authorities have adopted a proactive approach

to facilitating industrial development. For example, the Gladstone Port Authority has

developed a 50-year strategic plan for the port and expects to spend $400 million to

upgrade port facilities between 1992 and 2002.

A.30. Regional industrial land use strategies are also being used. An example is the

Western Port Bay Strategy, released in 1992. The Strategy was prepared under the

broad policy framework established by the Government's Coastal Policy for Victoria

(1988). Its main purpose is to give effect to the general directions established by the

Policy for all areas of coastal development. The Strategy deals with such issues as

water quality, wetlands, planning controls, coastal settlement, and port and industrial

development; it is an important attempt to integrate all resource demands, including

environmental protection and conservation, into a single strategic approach for the

future development of a coastal area.

A. 31. Governments are becoming increasingly concerned about the environmental

impact of coastal industrial development. For example, the Queensland Department of

Environment and Heritage, in conjunction with the Gladstone Port Authority, is

currently conducting the Curtis Coast Study, a major study of the coastline in the

Gladstone region. The main objective of the Study is to identify strategies for

maintaining and enhancing the natural and recreational values of the area while

realising the area's potential for industrial development. It is anticipated that, through

the application of zoning controls and management directions, an environmental

framework will be established within which future development can occur.

A.32. In September 1993 the Western Australian Environmental Protection Authority

completed a progress report on a four-year study identifying the environmental impact

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of waste discharged into the Indian Ocean. This study may lead to the establishment of

new standards for industrial discharges to the marine environment.

A.33. In Western Port, the Victorian Environment Protection Authority administers

the statutory State Environment Protection Policy, 'The Waters of Western Port Bay1 .

This Policy has a primary objective of protecting the beneficial uses of the region's

water by, among other things, establishing water quality objectives.

A.34. Some mechanisms have been introduced for achieving greater integration of the

activities of all major coastal resource users, including heavy industry. In this context,

an interesting model is the Western Port Regional Planning and Coordination

Committee, comprising representatives of state and local authorities, industry, and

community and environmental groups. The Committee provides to the Minister for

Planning and Development advice on matters of regional significance. Other

integrating mechanisms commonly used are steering committees to oversee specific

projects and interdepartmental committees to assist in the preparation of regional

strategies and land use studies.

A.35. The involvement of local communities is usually an important component of

land use planning investigations and strategies. For example, the draft Gladstone

Industrial Land Use Study has used a number of techniques such as community

surveys, public meetings and public exhibitions of documentation to secure the

involvement of the local community.

A.36. Another public participation mechanism receiving increasing support is the use

of advisory committees to enable interest groups to have early input into project

proposals and to review documentation throughout the course of the approvals

process. Such a committee has been established for a joint Shell-Mobil project in

Western Port. The role of the committee is to provide advice on environmental

documentation.

A.3 TOURISM

A.37. In the last decade tourism has emerged as one of Australia's most significant

growth industries. In 1990-91 the tourism industry contributed around 5.4 per cent to

Australia's gross domestic product and directly and indirectly accounted for

approximately 450 000 jobs. The industry is expected to grow significantly in future.

Since many major tourist destinations are located in the coastal zone, expansion of

tourist facilities is expected to place increasing demand on coastal zone resources.

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A.38. Although the state capitals are major tourist attractions, tourism is a

decentralised industry capable of diversifying and adding value in many parts of

Australia. As pointed out in Chapter 2, its economic and social significance is growing

rapidly in many parts of the coastal zone. It is generally labour intensive and provides

employment opportunities for many types of skills. Although a considerable number of

large corporations are now involved in the tourist industry, small businesses

predominate. This is because there are relatively few barriers to the entry of new

businesses that can provide the goods and services used directly and indirectly by the

industry.

A. 39. The natural resources of the coastal zone are particularly important for the

future of the industry. In particular, the natural beauty of the coastal environment, its

cultural heritage, the numerous attractions now located in the zone, and the increasing

availability of support facilities and infrastructure will play important roles in the

growth of the industry.

A.40. The industry's growth will also be affected by government policies and

programs, particularly those connected with the traditional public sector role of

providing social and economic infrastructure and community services. Many tourism

projects may fail to achieve their full potential if these services and infrastructure are

not provided efficiently (Grey et al. 1991); at the same time, governments are

becoming increasingly concerned to ensure that tourist activities do not adversely

affect the natural resources on which so many of them depend and that are critical to

conservation objectives.

Resource use and management issues

A.41. Tourism has impacts beyond its direct economic and employment benefits: it

also has important social and resource effects. The social impacts are not well

documented. They are, however, often associated with undesirable impacts arising

from tourism developments such as loss of visual amenity, destruction of wetlands,

reduced water quality, the effects on popular beaches of seasonal fluctuations in visitor

numbers, dune damage from four-wheel-drive vehicles, and damage to islands, reefs

and other resources as a consequence of increases in visitor numbers and activities.

A.42. Resource use conflicts generated by tourism development and tourism activities

include disputes that arise between local communities and local authorities about

proposed developments and between visitors and local communities about the use of

local resources. Resort proposals in Queensland and northern New South Wales in

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Appendix A 409

recent years are examples of projects that have attracted fierce opposition from local environmental groups.

A.43. Among the key management issues identified by Inquiry participants are

ineffective and inadequate management of tourism developments, fragmentation of

management mechanisms, difficulties experienced by local government in providing

infrastructure support, and insufficient involvement of community groups, including

indigenous groups, in management processes.

Current management initiatives

A.44. Because of concerns about conflicts that have arisen in dealing with tourism

development, governments have begun to take a major part in developing strategic

approaches to the management of the industry.

A.45. At the national level, two recent initiatives aim to provide a framework for

development of the tourism sector. One is the National Strategy for Ecologically

Sustainable Development (1992), which seeks to establish a framework for developing

and managing the tourism industry in such a way as to conserve both natural resources

and built heritage assets and minimise negative environmental, social and cultural

impacts. The second initiative, the National Tourism Strategy, is discussed in

Chapter 16.

A.46. A 'package' of regional tourism initiatives worth $42 million over four years

was announced by the Prime Minister in February 1993 and included in the 1993-94

Commonwealth Budget. The package is aimed at encouraging the growth of tourism

in regional and rural areas by, among other things, exploiting opportunities in emerging

markets such as rural tourism and backpacking. One part of the package, the Regional

Tourism Development Program, is particularly relevant to regional coastal zone

management; it is discussed in Appendix B.

A.47. Strategic approaches to tourism are also increasingly being used within regional

and local areas to guide tourism development. Examples are the tourism strategy

developed for the North West Cape region of Western Australia and the Trinity Inlet

Management Program in north Queensland (see Box A.l).

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Box A.l Strategic approaches to tourism development

North West Cape, Western Australia A study was commissioned to assess the types of developments that may be feasible in the North West Cape region and the constraints on and potential adverse impacts of these developments. The study aimed to provide developers with information to facilitate future development and realise the tourism potential of the area.

The study was commissioned and funded jointly by the Western Australian and Commonwealth Governments. It included the investigation and assessment of potential sites for tourism development; consideration of the economic, social and environmental impacts of tourism development; an examination of the accessibility, seasonality and infrastructure needs of development; and an assessment of the tourism carrying capacity of the area.

The study incorporated a number of the essential characteristics of strategic management:

• It was based on a clear definition of 'ends’; that is, the development of a tourism sector in the North West Cape area.

• It catered for multiple objectives.

• It identified the values and attitudes of key stakeholders and provided a means of building local commitment. Discussions were held with tourism operators, other industry representatives, community groups, local government, state and federal government agencies, various research institutions, and others.

• It recognised constraints on development; for example, several issues specifically relating to site selection were considered, including the carrying capacity of individual sites and the region as a whole, access to the region and mobility through it, and the capacity to increase seat numbers on aircraft.

• It focused on implementation, examining a number of strategies for implementation and using a task force approach.

• It provided for review and evaluation by the task force.

• It advocated the provision of sufficient finance and expertise to develop and implement the strategy.

Trinity Inlet, Queensland The Trinity Inlet Management Program in the Cairns area adopted a strategic approach to planning for the future development of the tourism industry. Preparation of the plan involved several state

government agencies and local government, who signed a management agreement to proceed with plan preparation and implementation. There was also extensive public participation: public comment was sought, a consultative committee was established, and a community survey was conducted to determine broad community views._______________________________________________________

A.4 MARICULTURE

A.48. As discussed in Chapter 2, with the exception of oyster and pearl production,

the Australian mariculture industry has grown substantially in recent years, mainly

because of the growth in finfish and prawn farming. Although these segments of the

industry are still in their infancy, they have the potential to develop stronger domestic

markets and, in the longer term, become an important and valuable export industry.

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A.49. In 1990-91, the last year for which data are available, the gross value of

maricultural production was about $172 million (RAC 1993m, p. 61). Australia's share

of world production of these products will depend to a large extent on the containment

of costs, marketing campaigns directed at substituting aquaculture products for other

products on the domestic market, and the successful development of overseas markets (Treadwell et al. 1992, p. 4).

A.50. The growth in demand for maricultural products is attributable to a number of

factors, among them growing consumption of seafood as an alternative to meat, the

high quality of the products, and declining catches from wild fisheries.

A.51. The major competitive strength of the mariculture industry is the high quality of

its products; the maintenance of a clean, disease-free production environment is critical

to its existence and growth. The industry has a number of important attributes:

• It relieves the harvesting pressure on wild fish populations, many of which are

over-exploited.

• It requires effective monitoring of water quality in the areas where it operates,

because of the economic incentive to maintain water quality.

• It is a form of food production that is highly efficient in terms of spatial

requirements and the conservation of nutrient and energy resources.

• In many cases, it provides a source of income and employment for decentralised

communities.

A.52. The mariculture industry has great potential to exploit its natural advantages

but realisation of this potential is dependent on a number of factors, such as the

availability of suitable sites that provide clean water and the presence of supporting

infrastructure (including suppliers of feed and broodstock, manufacturers of equipment

and providers of services). But the interests of other coastal users must be taken into

account when consideration is given to development applications. There is a degree of

community opposition to the use of coastal resources for mariculture, primarily

because of its environmental and aesthetic impacts and the restriction it places on

access to coastal resources for activities such as recreational boating and fishing.

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