South Australian Coast
The South Australian branch of ACS has focused its attention on running state coastal conferences and regional workshops. The ACS SA has run successful South Australian State Coastal biennial conferences in Adelaide in 2013, 2015, 2017 and 2019 but because of COVID the next state conference has been postponed until 2024.
In 2016, the southeast town of Robe hosted the first ACS SA regional coastal workshop. There are plans to hold another ACS regional coastal workshop in Marion Bay on Yorke Peninsula, November 3-4, 2022.
Coastal Governance in SA
South Australia has the oldest piece of dedicated coastal legislation in Australia, the Coast Protection Act 1972. Over the last 50 years, a number of attempts to review this legislation have failed and consequently, its focus remains on ‘protection’ rather than sustainable coastal management.
In 2021 the ACS made a detailed submission to the SA Parliament’s Environment and Resources Development Committee (ERDC) Inquiry into the Coast Protection Board and Legislation. The government response to the final ERDC report just prior to the 2022 SA state election basically provides support for all of the eleven recommendations in the ERDC’s final report. Given the legislation is now 50 years old, the ACS has asked the new SA Government about its timeline for the implementation of the recommendations from the ERDC Coastal Inquiry.
There are several other pieces of state government legislation that relate either directly to the coast and marine management or influence the way the coastal zone is governed. Multiple SA government agencies are responsible for administering this legislation. A summary of relevant legislation, regulations, agencies, and policies relating to the management of the South Australian coast is shown below.
The Coast Protection Act provides the head powers for the Coast Protection Board (CPB), the lead authority for coastal management in South Australia, which manages the state’s coastline and administers the Act. In setting up the CPB in 1972, the state government established a supporting agency, currently situated within the Department of Environment and Water (DEW). The CPB, supported by the agency, maintains a specific interest in coastal development, essentially with a focus on protecting planned or existing developments from coastal hazards. It has its own suite of coastal policies and certain powers of direction over development applications referred to it pursuant to the Planning, Development and Infrastructure Act 2016.
Natural Resource Management
South Australia used to have eight natural resource management (NRM) regions, under the 2005 NRM Act but this Act was repealed and replaced by the Landscapes Act 2019, administered by the State’s DEW. Under this new Act, there are now nine Landscape Regions (8 with coastlines) one of them being metropolitan (Green Adelaide). Regional Landscape Boards are statutory bodies with a mix of locally elected and government-appointed members and are subject to the direction of the environment minister. The emphasis of this program is directed toward primary productivity (and hence private interests), with significantly less emphasis on conservation than under the previous NRM Act.
Of South Australia’s 68 local government areas, 34 councils have coastlines. Local governments have ongoing relationships with the state’s Landscape Boards and the CPB. Some councils are actively progressing climate change and sea-level rise adaptation approaches individually, as regions, or in partnership with the state. In 2019 the coastal councils created the SA Coastal Councils Alliance to provide a collective local government voice on coastal matters. This is in addition to the 50 yr old Metropolitan Seaside Councils Committee (MSCC). The MSCC has recently completed a governance review. As a result of this review, a new governance framework has been recommended and it is proposed to appoint a Coastal Coordinator, based at the LGA, to progress this new framework. The Local Government Association of SA has been relatively active in terms of providing support to coastal councils for climate change adaptation.
Climate Change Adaptation
In SA adaptation to climate change at the coast is overseen by the Climate Change Branch in DEW in consultation with the CPB and the Premier’s Climate Change Council.
In line with South Australia’s adaptation framework, Prospering in Changing Climate: A Climate Change Adaptation Framework for South Australia (2012), the SA Government worked with Councils, Landscape Boards (formerly NRM Boards), Local Government Associations and Regional Development Australia to develop Regional Climate Change Adaptation Plans to support the development of locally relevant adaptation responses. Regional climate change adaptation plans were completed for all SA government regions by 2016. In 2019 the SA government released a Blue Carbon Strategy and in 2020 a Climate Change Action Plan 2021–2025.
Last updated: June 2022