Making Traditional Owner coastal values, goals and aspirations count: Sharing coastal hazard adaptation planning experiences from the Northern Peninsula Area, Cape York

Fiona Chandler1, Michael Rosenthal1, Ross Pitt2, Marika Seden3

1Alluvium, Townsville, Queensland

2Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council, Bamaga, Queensland

3Queensland Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Cairns, Queensland


Reconciliation requires some important changes in the way we work with and consider Traditional Owners and other First Nations people. Traditional Owners are not simply ‘stakeholders’ – their connection to Land and Sea Country goes far beyond this, so when it comes to coastal management, we need a more thoughtful and inclusive process for engaging and integrating a broader set of values and aspirations into our coastal hazard adaptation planning.
While we are all on a steep learning curve, Alluvium Consulting has been working across Queensland seeking ways to improve this very dialogue and decision making process though the QCoast2100 Program. Specifically, we have been working with the Northern Peninsula Area Regional Council in Cape York and with the (then) Department of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships (DATSIP) to explore how we might do just this, while respecting and building on the Minimum Standards and Guidelines associated with the QCoast2100 program.
This presentation will cover some of our lessons and the subtle and not-so-subtle approaches to achieving improved planning and implementation pathways through more meaningful engagement; documenting Traditional Owner and First Nations values, goals and aspirations; applying a modified risk assessment approach; and building a strong foundation for on-going collaboration and long-term implementation of adaptation.


Fiona Chandler is a Natural Resource Management specialist and Principal Consultant with Alluvium based in Townsville. She has led much of Alluvium’s stakeholder engagement activities associated with the development of Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategies in Queensland and New South Wales.