Twenty-five years on: Where to with Australian Coastal Policy?

Prof. Marcus Haward1

1IMAS, University Of Tasmania, Sandy Bay, Australia


In 1994, following completion of a number of inquiries and initiatives I argued that Australian coastal policy was a ‘clear picture with a cluttered foreground. Almost twenty-five years on, how has the picture evolved?  We have greater understanding of vulnerabilities and threats, have experienced a number of attempts at national policy frameworks but with little current coordination or integration; key aspirations from the early 1990s from international (e.g. the 1993 Nordwijk Guidelines), and from domestic (e.g. the 1996 Coastal Action Program) initiatives. If anything, the picture is losing focus and the foreground (local and community action) has assumed greater significance. This paper explores current issues and challenges for Australian coastal policy.


Marcus Haward is a Professor, Oceans and Antarctic Governance, Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies (IMAS) at the University of Tasmania. Marcus has an extensive record of research and publication on marine resource management, oceans policy and  coastal zone governance.

About the Association

The Australian Coastal Society (ACS) was initiated at the Coast to Coast Conference in Tasmania in 2004. The idea was floated as a means for those interested in coastal matters to communicate between conferences and where possible take resolutions of the conference to appropriate levels of government.

The idea was discussed further at the Coast to Coast Conference in Melbourne in 2006 and it was agreed that Bruce Thom develop a constitution of a company limited by guarantee that would operate on a national basis.

This plan was accomplished and in 2008 at the Coast to Coast Conference in Darwin the constitution was ratified and an Executive appointed. The company received charitable status in 2011.

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