Coastal adaptation or social adaptation? Creating a legacy beyond the coastal plan

Ms Fiona Chandler1, Ms Phebe Bicknall1

1Alluvium, Townsville, Australia


The value of genuine engagement with stakeholders continues to slowly grow and gain the respect and investment it needs. It is a core component of both the QCoast2100 Developing a Coastal Hazard Strategy: Minimum Standards and Guideline for Queensland Local Governments as well as the NSW Coastal Management Framework.

While always encouraged, the challenge of linking stakeholder engagement directly to the development of a document e.g. a coastal hazard adaptation plan is that the focus commonly gets stuck on talking about a plan and identifying what strategies we could do rather than talking about how the community and organisations can actively participate in a long term process of coastal adaptation or more importantly social adaptation to change.  Alluvium through its coastal projects in Queensland and NSW have been designing and implementing a range of participatory strategies that aim to create a long term legacy, focussing on the past, the present as well as the future.

This presentation aims to provoke discussion and new ideas to ensure that any investment in community and stakeholder engagement extends well beyond obtaining input into a plan. It will draw on the experiences and real examples from working with numerous local councils, technical experts, government agencies and the community.


Fiona has more than 20 years domestic and international experience in nautral resource management. She considers herself more as a facilitator of real conversation and is passionate about ensuring people including Traditional Owners are genuinely included as part of the planning and decision making process. Fiona has been leading the social dimensions of Alluvium’s coastal hazard adaptation planning in Queensland and New South Wales.