The 29th NSW Coastal Conference

The SCCG team attended the 29th NSW Coastal Conference (31 May – 2 June) at Kingscliff NSW with this year’s theme being “Living with Uncertainty”.

The conference opened with two keynote speakers, Dr Pierre Wiart, Head of Climate and Risk Management from CoreLogic International and Dr Justine Bell-James, Associate Professor and Director of Higher Degree Research at the University of Queensland.

Dr Wiart presented on the coastal risk impact on the Australian property market and specifically the CoreLogic Methodology that was used to undertake this study.

Dr Bell presented on coastal wetland restoration law, including Blue Carbon restoration policy and barriers to wetland restoration. The notion of a “rolling covenant” concept was discussed as a potential solution to managing coastal wetland use with private landholders, where landholders could have a temporary right to use coastal wetlands until a defining trigger would stop the land use. This could set anticipation for landholders in an uncertain climate and if the established trigger, e.g. sea level rise, did not occur than landholders could continue to use their land without limitations.

There were short presentations throughout the conference on the themes of:

  • Holistic Coastal Management
  • Knowledge, Science & Uncertainty
  • Empowering People
  • Lessons from the Field
  • Policy, Decision Making & Funding

SCCG Executive Officer, Sarah Joyce, gave a presentation on “Cooperation is the key to manage Greater Sydney Harbour”.

The conference finished with presentations from two keynote speakers, Dr Will Glamore, Associate Research Professor, Water Research Laboratory and Sabyah White, environmental activist.

Dr Glamore gave an important reminder to the conference attendees that now is the time to act on reducing global emissions. He reminded attendees that we are in the UN decade on Ecosystem Restoration and emphasised that Blue Carbon was the way to move forward quickly on reducing emissions, as multinational companies become eager to invest in these carbon sequestration schemes. He also suggested that CMPs should have a longer-term focus than 10 years and that governments should be investing in 30-50 year plans.

Ms White who is a 14 year old environmental activist, was a subject in the environmental documentary called Girls for Future which went around the world and places like COP 26. Ms White gave an inspirational speech about the anxiety her and other children feel about inaction and slow action on climate change within Australia. She spoke about the need for more positive actions that give her generation hope for the future.

Prof Bruce Thom closed the conference with an announcement that Newcastle City Council would co-host the 30th NSW Coastal Conference and 16th National Coast to Coast conference in November 2023.