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.