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Resource Assessment Commission, November 1993
ISBN 0 64429457
19.01 Australia's coastal zone is a priceless resource. It contains complex and diverse ecosystems that are subject to continual change caused by natural processes and the effects of human activities. There is a strong desire to preserve the zone, and to use it.
19.02 Eighty-six per cent of the nation's population resides in the zone; almost half of all population growth in Australia in the past 20 years has occurred in coastal zone areas outside capital cities. A high proportion of Australia's fast-growing tourism and recreational activities, all mariculture activity, almost all wild fishing activities (both commercial and other), and a high proportion of industrial activity take place in the zone. The challenge is to manage the pressures from increased resource uses while maintaining the quality of the zone's natural environment.
19.03 The principal source of population growth in non-metropolitan coastal areas is migration from metropolitan areas, rather than natural increase. Population growth has increased the intensity of use of many coastal resources, especially those associated with housing, leisure and recreation.
19.04 Many current uses of coastal zone resources have significant direct, indirect and cumulative impacts on the environment. Among the most important consequences of increased resource use are continuing degradation and loss of many coastal habitats (especially wetlands and fish-breeding areas), increased risks to endangered species, over-exploitation of many fisheries resources, introduction of exotic species into marine and terrestrial habitats, accelerated erosion and loss of coastal soils, and erosion of dune and beach systems. Of particular concern is the declining water quality in many rivers and streams, estuaries, wetlands and the ocean, caused by pollution from urban, agricultural, industrial and marine-based sources. More intensive uses of coastal resources are increasing the demands on the terrestrial and marine environments to absorb these impacts.
19.05 Evidence presented to the Inquiry shows that the coastal zone is suffering the environmental and social stresses of continuing urbanisation, which is occurring both on the fringe of metropolitan areas and in an increasing number of coastal regions outside capital cities. If no action is taken to change the way in which coastal resources are used, there is a very considerable risk that ecosystems will be destroyed, the recreational amenity of the coast will be degraded, and economic growth and employment opportunities will be lost; in short, the collective benefits provided by the coastal zone will cease to be available to Australians.
19.06 Although it is not possible to predict the rate at which development will occur in the coastal zone, a continuation of recent trends will place increasing pressure on resources in many parts of the zone, particularly those that are attractive for residential living, for meeting the growing demand for tourism opportunities, and for the further development of other industries, including mariculture.
19.07 Pressures will arise from further development of resources required for the expansion of agriculture, fisheries, minerals and manufacturing and from the provision of infrastructure, including transport, energy, telecommunications and other services. Coastal areas that will probably face the greatest pressure are those that have experienced the greatest growth in recent decades-south-east Queensland, coastal New South Wales, south-east Melbourne, and areas north and south of Perth.
19.08 The high percentage of the newly settled population in many coastal areas that is elderly or dependent on social security pensions suggests that demand for services to support their needs will increase.
19.09 Tourism and associated activities will probably continue to grow faster than most other activities in Australia and will probably grow faster in many coastal locations than elsewhere, specifically in the major international visitor destinations of Sydney, Brisbane, the Gold Coast, the Great Barrier Reef and north Queensland. This poses risks of environmental damage and consequent losses to the tourism industry if this growth is not managed properly.
19.10 Overall, building, construction and associated activities seem likely to continue to grow rapidly in many coastal areas, particularly to provide housing for further increases in population. Despite the possibility of some increase in residential densities, urban sprawl will continue in many areas unless policies are pursued to discourage or limit this type of development.
19.11 Further development of the mariculture industry will be largely dependent on domestic demand and will be accompanied by competition with other coastal zone users for some of the resources required for the industry's expansion.
19.12 The coastal zone faces a crisis that is slowly escalating-the steady spread of population into metropolitan fringes and new metropolitan settlements. The cost of providing services and infrastructure is high where the population is thinly spread. Ecologically sustainable development of the zone will require active management. The expected future patterns of population expansion mean that governments will experience increasing difficulty in managing the areas to which people are moving. There is an urgent need to rationalise the policies that determine settlement patterns.
19.13 Future growth and development will undoubtedly place serious pressure on coastal zone resources. Coastal zone managers need to develop the capacity to manage strategically if they are to achieve the long-term results they want, rather than be saddled with unintentional effects such as those that result from current systems of management. Growth and development require the application of carefully formulated strategic approaches.
19.14 Strategic approaches are essential because of the number of uncertainties that arise from natural processes, social changes, and the effects of growth in the population and in economic activity in the zone. Approaches to resource management must be sufficiently flexible to allow many possible outcomes to be taken into account when formulating management strategies. Techniques for formulating and developing strategic approaches that have been developed in the public and private sectors must be fully used.
19.15 Regulatory responsibility for management of coastal zone resources lies primarily with state and local governments. Although state governments have attempted to consolidate and update legislation, there remains a plethora of Acts affecting coastal zone management, mostly reflecting the traditional sectoral approach to such management.
19.16 There have been recent improvements in the level of coordination among the large number of institutions involved in coastal zone management but coordination and integration between institutions remain inadequate.
19.17 There are major shortcomings in the systems of management of Australia's coastal zone:
19.18 There are telling examples of past and present management failures in the coastal zone. Although governments have passed a considerable amount of legislation, use many regulatory mechanisms, and have reformed institutions and management mechanisms, current management arrangements do not adequately deal with the problems arising in the coastal zone.
19.19 The division of responsibilities among several agencies in each state is one of the systemic hindrances to more effective land management and therefore more effective management of the coastal zone. There is a strong need for state governments to integrate public and private land management systems.
19.20 State and local governments are responsible for 95 per cent of expenditure on coastal zone management and are under steady pressure to increase funding of coastal zone management. Pressures arising because of the imbalance between the taxing capacities and the expenditures of the three spheres of government are being exacerbated by the need to spend more on coastal zone management.
19.21 Governments rely principally on regulatory mechanisms to manage coastal zone activities. At present, economic instruments are insufficiently used by state or local governments for the management of coastal zone resources; there is considerable scope for their increased use to guide resource uses in the zone and to raise revenue for use in managing resources.
19.22 A national approach to the problems of Australia's coastal zone is essential for four main reasons: no single sphere of government can manage the zone alone; issues of national significance and of great public concern are involved; the socio-economic development of the coastal zone is of profound importance to the nation; and Australia has international obligations in the zone that necessitate coordination between the spheres of government.
19.23 Although the states may be able to manage the zone's resources independently, they cannot do this effectively and efficiently because they might pursue conflicting objectives and they might forgo the cost-reduction opportunities that will be afforded by participation in a national approach. A national approach will allow the Commonwealth to play an important role in facilitating and coordinating management while maintaining the primary role of state and local governments in managing resources within their jurisdictions.
19.24 A national approach will ensure that government agencies have common objectives for coastal zone management, thus minimising duplication and conflict. It will ensure more effective use of financial and human resources, by pooling experience, resources and knowledge. It will also provide a framework for national leadership and financial support and for the mobilisation of community and industry involvement throughout the coastal zone.
19.25 A successful national approach to the ecologically sustainable development of the coastal zone calls for wider use of strategic and integrated management approaches.
19.26 Rivalries between the spheres of government make achievement of a national approach to any issue a difficult task in a federated nation such as Australia. But it is a necessary task if Australia is to avoid the coastal management problems that beset other parts of the world such as the Mediterranean, the North Sea and parts of the United States.
19.27 Australia is one nation; it is not a loose configuration of states. It is bound by a national constitution that has as its joint aims the preservation of the rights of the states and the forging of one nation with common goals and aspirations. The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, and it is in the interests of the states, local government and the Commonwealth to act cooperatively to protect what is probably Australia's greatest asset-its coastal zone.
19.28 A concerted national effort is essential if the management of Australia's coastal zone resources is to improve and if Australians are to continue to enjoy the economic, social and environmental benefits provided by the coastal zone. A National Coastal Action Program, involving all governments and community and industry groups with responsibility for and interests in the management of coastal zone resources, is proposed.
19.29 The Action Program should contain
R.01 The Inquiry recommends that
the National Coastal Action Program for management of the resources of Australia's coastal zone be adopted by the Council of Australian Governments and implemented by the three spheres of government in consultation with community and industry groups that have responsibility for and interests in coastal zone management.
19.30 Common objectives and principles are key tools of the National Coastal Action Program and will help achieve integration of the management of coastal zone resources.
19.31 The objectives and principles proposed by the Inquiry have been negotiated with all major stakeholders and represent a consensus in the community. They provide a strong basis for developing national coastal zone objectives and principles to which all spheres of government can agree.
R.02 The Inquiry recommends that
the Council of Australian Governments agree to and adopt the national objectives and principles for coastal zone management proposed by the Inquiry.
19.32 If common objectives are to be achieved it will be necessary for all spheres of government to establish more detailed local and regional objectives that are consistent with the national objectives and that reflect each sphere's responsibilities in the coastal zone.
R.03 The Inquiry recommends that
all governments with coastal zone responsibilities develop local and regional coastal zone management objectives that are consistent with the agreed national objectives and that provide firm guidelines for integrated management of resources within each government's jurisdiction.
19.33 Criteria to be used in the management of particular resources in the coastal zone at a national level are being developed by a number of ministerial councils and government agencies. It is essential that these criteria be consistent with the objectives for resource use and management incorporated in the National Coastal Action Program.
R.04 The Inquiry recommends that
ministerial councils and government agencies preparing national criteria for management of resources in the coastal zone ensure that those criteria are consistent with the principles of the National Coastal Action Program.
19.34 Criteria should be developed by state and local governments to apply to the management of specific coastal zone resources.
R.05 The Inquiry recommends that
all spheres of government review existing criteria to ensure that they are consistent with the principles put forward in the National Coastal Action Program;
state, regional and local criteria consistent with the national principles be developed for specific uses of the resources of the coastal zone.
19.35 Creating a single coastal zone management agency or coastal zone management agencies in each sphere of government is not practical. Neither is assigning coastal zone responsibilities to a single sphere of government. What is needed is national cooperation and action.
19.36 Many forms of agreement could be used for implementing the proposed National Coastal Action Program. The Intergovernmental Agreement on the Environment is a significant agreement dealing with pressing environmental and related issues, but it would detract from the importance of coastal zone issues to include them in that Agreement. The importance of the coastal zone and the shared nature of management responsibilities between governments requires a separate agreement.
R.06 The Inquiry recommends that
an agreement between governments for implementing the National Coastal Action Program be endorsed by the Council of Australian Governments.
19.37 In addition to a cooperative agreement between governments for coastal zone management, the Commonwealth should take the lead in initiating and implementing national coastal zone objectives and principles and other components of the National Coastal Action Program. The Commonwealth should not, however, attempt to impose a uniform national coastal regulatory scheme. Rather, it should enact legislation to guide funding allocations by the Commonwealth to coastal zone management. The Act will incorporate the objectives and principles for coastal zone management agreed between Commonwealth, state and local governments.
R.07 The Inquiry recommends that
the Commonwealth enact a Coastal Resource Management Act, which, among other things, would provide that Commonwealth funding of coastal resource management activities-whether in the form of direct expenditure by Commonwealth agencies on coastal zone management or as grants to state and local governments for specific elements of coastal zone management-be confined to activities consistent with the objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program.
19.38 To facilitate the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program, it is necessary to develop administrative arrangements that will integrate the efforts of the three spheres of government and non-government bodies to achieve the agreed objectives.
R.08 The Inquiry recommends that
a National Coastal Management Agency be established, with a board representing the interests of Commonwealth, state and local governments and Australia's indigenous people, and a full-time secretariat;
an independent chairperson of outstanding stature and with exceptional leadership qualities be appointed. The chairperson would also be the Agency's chief executive officer;
that the Agency report to the Council of Australian Governments.
19.39 A national consultative group is necessary to provide professional and technical advice to the National Coastal Management Agency.
R.09 The Inquiry recommends that
a National Coastal Consultative Council be established, to advise the National Coastal Management Agency. The Council should include representatives selected from nominees of peak bodies, research institutions and other bodies with major interests in the management of coastal zone resources.
19.40 Most state governments already have committees to coordinate coastal zone management. At present, however, these committees do not have the responsibilities and resources necessary to carry out their functions in a manner that will enable the states to integrate their coastal management arrangements, as proposed in the National Coastal Action Program.
R.10 The Inquiry recommends that
all state governments review the composition and roles of their coastal coordinating committees in light of the characteristics proposed by the Inquiry, to ensure that the committees are in the best position to manage state participation in the National Coastal Action Program;
the review include arrangements for the coordination of local and regional groups participating in the development and implementation of strategies to implement the Program;
each state establish a coastal advisory committee comprising representatives of non-government groups;
all state governments review the existing distribution of coastal management functions between agencies, with a view to incorporating similar or complementary functions in single ministries.
19.41 Various reviews of local government organisational arrangements are under way and various types of committees currently assist local governments in managing coastal zone resources. In addition to these arrangements, it is necessary to ensure that the functional responsibilities within local government authorities be undertaken efficiently and effectively.
R.11 The Inquiry recommends that
all local authorities review existing arrangements for dealing with coastal zone management issues, using the models identified by the Integrated Local Area Planning approach.
19.42 The Commonwealth Government has established an interdepartmental committee to deal with its responsibilities in the coastal zone.
R.12 The Inquiry recommends that
the Commonwealth Government's interdepartmental committee dealing with coastal zone issues be established on a permanent basis and be named the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee;
the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories be the lead agency in coordinating the activities of this Committee.
19.43 Effective participation by community and industry groups is a critical component of the management of coastal zone resources; such participation can greatly augment the resources devoted to management by governments. Especially important is the provision of facilitation, extension and other services to support community involvement in activities such as dune stabilisation and rehabilitation, management and monitoring of the shoreline and near-shore marine environments, visitor management and education, construction of paths and walkways, wetlands management, and programs designed to minimise the impacts of urbanisation and associated development. Local and regional facilitators can assist in ensuring that this involvement is coordinated and maintains continuity and community enthusiasm.
R.13 The Inquiry recommends that
a Coastcare program be established by the Commonwealth Government to deal with the particular needs of coastal areas for soil conservation, maintenance of biodiversity, revegetation, and management and monitoring of the shoreline and near-shore environment;
the Coastcare program provide funds for the appointment of local and regional coastal community facilitators and extension services;
the Coastcare program be designed to extend and complement existing initiatives for community involvement in integrated catchment management.
19.44 Committees that help local authorities to manage the coastal zone can play a valuable role in supplementing the resources available to those authorities. Such committees are already formally established in Victoria and operate less formally in some other states. Extension of the committee system to deal with continuing management issues is dependent on state and local governments' views about the role the committees can play. Consultative committees are another important source of community involvement.
R.14 The Inquiry recommends that
local and state governments examine existing arrangements to ensure that community groups are provided with the opportunity to participate in the formulation of policies and programs relating to the management of coastal zone resources.
19.45 It is necessary to develop coordinated approaches to education about coastal issues. A considerable number of relevant initiatives are currently sponsored by the Commonwealth and state governments; it is essential that these be coordinated, not only to ensure that they are mutually reinforcing and that unnecessary duplication is avoided but also to avoid confusion about the purpose of the initiatives and the connections between them.
R.15 The Inquiry recommends that
the National Marine Education Program receive additional Commonwealth funding to provide educational materials on coastal zone management issues for community groups, user groups and schools;
the National Coastal Management Agency arrange for the production of educational materials explaining the objectives and implementation of the National Coastal Action Program;
the community education programs conducted by the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation, the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and other relevant agencies be extended to include projects to increase understanding in the general community of the importance of land and sea in indigenous culture and to increase understanding in both the general community and indigenous communities of traditional and modern approaches to resource management;
the National Coastal Management Agency ensure that there is close liaison between the Coastcare program, the Marine and Coastal Community Network, the National Marine Education Program and the education units of other major national initiatives relevant to natural resource and indigenous issues.
19.46 There is considerable scope for industry to become more closely involved in coastal zone resource management. Companies and individuals should be encouraged to support projects designed to improve the quality of resources in areas of the coastal zone in which they operate. The Commonwealth Government can provide an important incentive for companies and individuals by allowing expenditure on such projects to be deductible from income assessed for tax purposes.
R.16 The Inquiry recommends that
the Commonwealth Government ensure that company and individual contributions towards the cost of projects designed to improve the quality of resources in the coastal zone be an allowable deduction from income assessed for tax purposes.
19.47 Considerable conflict, including situations of undue harassment (as have arisen in some cases), will be avoided if governments and indigenous people can negotiate an agreement that recognises the importance of hunting, fishing and gathering in many indigenous people's diets and cultures across Australia.
R.17 The Inquiry recommends that
the Council of Australian Governments, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, initiate a process whereby traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights are recognised by governments and amendments are made to laws and regulations to incorporate this recognition and provide mechanisms for resolving disputes;
in the interim, governments ensure that there are no unreasonable prosecutions relating to these matters under existing laws and regulations.
19.48 In this regard, the Inquiry deplores governments' lack of action in response to the recommendations of previous inquiries, in particular the Law Reform Commission's 1986 inquiry into the recognition of Aboriginal customary laws.
R.18 The Inquiry recommends that
in the event of failure during 1994 to negotiate satisfactory nationwide arrangements for traditional hunting, fishing and gathering rights, the Commonwealth enact legislation to establish national criteria for such rights;
the legislation be based on the principles, priorities and definitions recommended by the Law Reform Commission in its 1986 report on customary laws and be agreed through negotiations with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations.
19.49 There is considerable variation across Australia in the extent of involvement of indigenous people in the management of conservation areas such as national parks, marine parks and World Heritage areas. In view of the importance of land and coastal waters in indigenous society, there is scope for much greater involvement in the management of these areas.
R.19 The Inquiry recommends that
the Australian and New Zealand Environment and Conservation Council, in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, establish criteria for the participation of indigenous people in the management of conservation areas, including national parks, marine parks and World Heritage areas;
the criteria include provision for indigenous people's representation on relevant authorities and boards of management or equivalent bodies, and for the establishment of indigenous consultative committees to advise these bodies on issues that affect them;
the Commonwealth take the initiative in this process by amending the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority Act 1975, in accordance with this recommendation and the recommendation of the 1993 Whitehouse report that the Authority be authorised to enter into formal management agreements with indigenous communities.
19.50 The Inquiry notes the important contribution that some indigenous communities make to coastal zone management. Steps should be taken to ensure that more indigenous communities participate effectively in the National Coastal Action Program.
R.20 The Inquiry recommends that
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, in conjunction with state resource management agencies,
19.51 As with local communities in general, the interests of indigenous communities need to be taken into account at an early stage in policy making relevant to coastal zone resource use.
R.21 The Inquiry recommends that
state and Commonwealth natural resource management agencies establish units to provide advice on indigenous interests as part of policy-making mechanisms and consult with representatives of indigenous organisations and peak industry bodies in establishing these units;
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission ensure that land councils and other indigenous organisations in the coastal zone have sufficient resources to carry out their responsibilities effectively when administering procedures for development proposals.
19.52 There is a need to improve communication and understanding between indigenous people and particular industries. The Inquiry commends the constructive work of the Mining Committee of the Council for Aboriginal Reconciliation.
R.22 The Inquiry recommends that
the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet provide full support for the Committee's proposed Joint Council on Aboriginal Land and Mining.
19.53 Although many uncertainties remain about the long-term impact of the High Court's decision on native title, further exploration of the nature of customary marine tenure systems and traditional fishing practices is necessary if indigenous interests in fisheries management are to be recognised. Measures are also required to encourage self-reliance and the economic development of marine resources among indigenous coastal communities.
R.23 The Inquiry recommends that
the proposed Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture, in conjunction with the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission and representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, prepare an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Fisheries Strategy.
the key elements of the Strategy be as follows:
19.54 Improved educational and training facilities for indigenous people are necessary to ensure that those wishing to take part in commercial fishing ventures are able to do so effectively.
R.24 The Inquiry recommends that
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission evaluate the experience of the Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research in supporting indigenous fisheries in the Pacific Islands, with a view to determining options for improving education and training among Australia's indigenous fishing communities;
this evaluation include assessment of the potential education value of the experience gained by relatively successful indigenous organisations such as the Tiwi Land Council on Bathurst and Melville Islands and Yirrkala Business Enterprises Pty Ltd in north-east Arnhem Land;
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission provide financial assistance and management training to indigenous people, to facilitate their participation in the commercial fishing (including mariculture) industry.
19.55 Information about cultural heritage generally-that is, for both indigenous and non-indigenous people-is an important component of the information needed for integrated management of the resources of the coastal zone, and it is essential for ensuring that heritage values are adequately protected. At present, state heritage bodies, the Australian Heritage Commission, and some museums, universities and other bodies collect, store and generally facilitate the gathering of heritage information. Some indigenous communities have also compiled and hold detailed records relating to their sacred sites and other areas of cultural significance.
19.56 Issues connected with the ownership and control of cultural property require resolution at intergovernmental level. Progress towards finalising an agreement between governments on cultural heritage protection is slow and the categories covered by the current draft agreement are very limited.
R.25 The Inquiry recommends that
the Australian Aboriginal Affairs Council, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, speedily adopt a national policy on ownership of and access rights to indigenous cultural property, including places, objects and information.
19.57 It is essential that the recording of sites-both those that have value as material evidence of original occupation and those that embody the sacred and secular traditions of contemporary indigenous people-occurs in as many indigenous communities as possible, to ensure that other users of coastal zone resources take account of the presence and significance of such sites and traditions. Existing agencies have insufficient resources to carry out this task in a comprehensive and coordinated fashion. Moreover, indigenous people believe that the process and the information should be controlled by local communities. The Inquiry agrees with this.
R.26 The Inquiry recommends that
the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Commission, the Australian Heritage Commission and the Australian Nature Conservation Agency, in conjunction with representatives of land councils and other indigenous organisations, review the role of Commonwealth programs and legislation in securing a national approach to recording and protecting indigenous cultural heritage;
the review be conducted with a view to establishing a national Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Heritage Council to provide funds and advice to local indigenous communities so that they can record and protect cultural heritage sites and information and to coordinate the activities of existing government agencies administering programs of this kind;
the review be conducted with a view to extending to other states provisions in existing Commonwealth heritage protection legislation that relate only to Victoria;
the review examine the option of this Heritage Council playing a central role in helping local communities to implement natural resource management initiatives.
19.58 More effective and efficient management mechanisms, including the preparation and implementation of strategies for the management and use of coastal zone resources, are key components of the National Coastal Action Program. Local authorities and some government agencies have key roles to play in the Program.
19.59 It is especially important that all employees of local government authorities in the coastal zone are fully aware of the objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program so they can fully participate in the Program.
R.27 The Inquiry recommends that
local governments in the coastal zone, with the assistance of the National Coastal Management Agency, ensure that all of their staff are fully aware of the implications of the National Coastal Action Program that relate to their areas of responsibility.
19.60 The expertise currently available to many local government authorities is not adequate to meet the increasing demands of coastal zone resource management, including the need to prepare strategies. Steps are being taken to overcome some of these deficiencies, but further action is necessary to enable local government authorities to play their full part in the National Coastal Action Program. Particular attention should be directed to defining the required competencies of staff and ensuring their capacity to participate in multidisciplinary approaches to management.
R.28 The Inquiry recommends that
local governments define the range of competencies and expertise needed for the tasks associated with integrated management of resources and make full use of the range of relevant programs of assistance offered by the Commonwealth and state governments, the Australian Local Government Training Board and local government associations.
19.61 To facilitate implementation of the National Coastal Action Program, Commonwealth, state and local governments should enter into partnerships that include arrangements based on priority needs, to provide the human and other resources necessary for integrated and strategic coastal zone management.
R.29 The Inquiry recommends that
the National Coastal Management Agency ensure that the required expertise is available to achieve the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program by the provision of funds and assistance from Commonwealth and state agencies to local authorities and regional organisations to develop the required expertise: Commonwealth Government assistance be provided through existing programs such as the Local Government Development Program and the National Urban Development Program.
19.62 To meet the demands of government agencies, particularly local government authorities, for the expertise required for integrated coastal zone management, universities and TAFE colleges will become increasingly important as providers of training and expertise for coastal resource management. Expansion of courses will be necessary, particularly of courses that focus on integrated and strategic approaches to resource management.
R.30 The Inquiry recommends that
universities and TAFE colleges review courses dealing with resource management and related issues, to ensure that integrated and strategic approaches to resource management, including coastal management issues, are offered as part of these courses;
universities, TAFE colleges and local government associations in each state establish forums for continuing consultation about courses relevant to coastal management;
the Australian Research Council allocate funds for the establishment of key centres for teaching and research related to coastal resource management as part of the forthcoming round of grants to these centres. The centres should be established to ensure coverage of the full range of Australian coastal environments;
the Australian Research Council allocate funds for the establishment of a key centre where the natural resource management practices of Australia's indigenous people can be researched and documented and where users of both traditional and contemporary management techniques can exchange information and provide advice on the way in which these techniques can be integrated.
19.63 Integration of the activities and administration of local authorities is very important for improving local coastal zone management; the Integrated Local Area Planning program is playing a significant role in this regard.
R.31 The Inquiry recommends that
funding for the Integrated Local Area Planning program be extended to support more local authorities in the coastal zone.
19.64 The current coverage of local and regional coastal plans and strategies is incomplete and the strategies' effectiveness in contributing to management objectives is variable. Local authorities' land use planning mechanisms tend to be inflexible and pay little heed to the wider context of resource management. The agreed coastal zone objectives and principles must be reflected in effective management action.
R.32 The Inquiry recommends that
local governments in the coastal zone develop resource management strategies, assisted by advisory groups comprising representatives of local communities and industries and relevant state and Commonwealth agencies;
the application of land use planning mechanisms be more flexible, take a holistic view incorporating economic, ecological and social considerations, and be directed specifically at achieving the long-term objectives of the resource management strategy adopted for each area.
19.65 To implement integrated and strategic management approaches, local governments must ensure that they have appropriate administrative structures and expertise and that the provision of infrastructure and services meets the requirements of local and regional coastal strategies.
R.33 The Inquiry recommends that
local authorities in the coastal zone review their administrative arrangements to ensure they are capable of developing and implementing coastal zone strategies;
the provision of infrastructure and services within local authorities' jurisdiction take place in accordance with agreed local coastal strategies and be subjected to the same assessment and approval processes as those required for other developments and conservation proposals.
19.66 Many coastal zone management issues extend beyond the boundaries of individual local authorities, and they extend to marine as well as land-based resources. As a consequence, a regional approach to coastal zone management is also necessary, fully supported by local, state and Commonwealth governments. The 'tyranny of small decisions' must be overcome, and state, local and Commonwealth government management activities must be integrated at regional levels.
R.34 The Inquiry recommends that
regional coastal zone strategies be developed, principal responsibility for their promotion and implementation resting with state governments;
the regional strategies be developed by groups comprising representatives of regional communities and industries, local authorities, and relevant state and Commonwealth government agencies.
19.67 Most state governments have already defined regional boundaries for the purpose of preparing regional strategies and for other purposes, including the provision of services. As far as practicable, biophysical, social and administrative systems should form the basis for regional coastal strategies. Marine areas should be included in regional boundaries to ensure that land-based activities that affect marine resources are taken into account.
R.35 The Inquiry recommends that
all states review existing regional boundaries, in consultation with local governments, to ensure that they provide a sound basis for implementing coastal resource management on a regional basis, incorporating both land and marine resources.
19.68 Commonwealth, state and local governments should jointly provide financial support and management training for the development of local and regional strategies. Governments should also consider providing funding for experienced facilitators to help local councils develop their own strategies and participate in the development of regional strategies. It will take a considerable time for all areas in the coastal zone to be included in the regional and local management arrangements as proposed by the Inquiry. Those regions and local areas that are under the greatest management stress should therefore be given priority in the provision of assistance to achieve these outcomes.
R.36 The Inquiry recommends that
funding for the preparation of coastal management strategies be allocated to local government areas and regions in the coastal zone that are experiencing the greatest management stress;
priority funding areas be identified following consultation between local government associations, state coastal coordinating committees and the National Coastal Management Agency. Priority should be determined on the basis of the significance of the management problems being experienced in an area, including the degree of urbanisation, the potential for declining water quality, and a high number of competing demands for resource uses;
funds for the development of local and regional strategies be provided by all spheres of government. The shares to be determined by agreement between governments;
the process of strategy preparation meet the criteria proposed by the Inquiry for effective local and regional coastal zone strategies.
19.69 Implementing coastal zone strategies is primarily a matter for state, local and Commonwealth governments, which need to act to ensure that the objectives of the strategies are achieved. This may require state governments to amend legislation so that decisions about resource uses (including resource uses by state and local government agencies) are in accordance with the strategies. An alternative is to develop arrangements whereby the agreed implementation actions are endorsed by governments, with an undertaking that government agencies will act in accordance with the strategies.
R.37 The Inquiry recommends that
provision of funds to assist in the preparation of strategies be conditional on agreements being reached to ensure that strategies are implemented when finalised.
19.70 The current reforms of state and local government development approvals processes will help to achieve greater integration of these processes and thus reduce some of the inefficiencies that exist. But even when these reforms are fully effective there will still be considerable scope for greater integration of the processes. Reform is necessary to increase the effectiveness of referral processes, to extend the application of approval processes to all land-based and marine resources, and to include proposals for conservation as well as development proposals in the processes.
R.38 The Inquiry recommends that
it is important that each state develop a single, unified assessment and approvals system to deal with all development and conservation proposals in the coastal zone, including proposals affecting marine resources.
19.71 It is of paramount importance that consideration of resource uses in the coastal zone be based on thorough analyses of the impacts of proposals. The integrity of assessment and evaluation processes will be assured only if rigorous and transparent procedures are adopted; environmental and other impact assessments will then be subject to detailed scrutiny by the agencies responsible and be available for public comment before decisions are made.
R.39 The Inquiry recommends that
state and Commonwealth governments adopt stringent guidelines for the conduct of environmental and other impact assessments of development proposals, including rigorous and transparent procedures for their evaluation and the setting of timetables for their compilation.
19.72 To ensure that all impacts of major development proposals are taken into account, their social, cultural and economic effects need to be assessed before decisions are made that affect the uses of coastal zone resources. It will usually be appropriate for these impacts to be assessed separately from environmental impacts.
R.40 The Inquiry recommends that
development approval processes include assessment of the ecological, economic, social and cultural effects of major proposals, including their effects on Australia's indigenous communities.
19.73 There are many cases in which the cumulative impacts of developments in the coastal zone have had serious long term consequences for the environment. Governments need to ensure that the cumulative impacts of development are taken fully into account before approving development proposals.
R.41 The Inquiry recommends that
the potential ecological, economic, social and cultural impacts of development proposals, including potential cumulative impacts, be evaluated on a broader scale than the immediate development site;
the National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating committees evaluate the role that strategic environmental assessment procedures can play in assessing cumulative impacts of development proposals.
19.74 Greater use of economic and financial instruments can help reduce
over-exploitation of coastal zone resources and ensure that future resource uses meet the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program. Correctly applied, such instruments enable the recovery of costs associated with resource uses, encouraging more efficient uses of those resources and providing incentives to minimise the cost of complying with standards for the use of resources.
19.75 Improving the management of water and wastes that are discharged into rivers and other water bodies is one of the most important challenges facing coastal zone managers. Inefficient uses of water must be discouraged and the use of more efficient waste disposal mechanisms must be encouraged.
R.42 The Inquiry recommends that
state governments require all authorities responsible for the supply of water and the disposal of water and other wastes to take urgent steps to introduce charges that reflect the costs of supplying these services.
19.76 The use of emission permit trading should be extended to encourage reductions in the discharge of wastes, particularly into river systems and the ocean.
R.43 The Inquiry recommends that
state governments take urgent steps to facilitate the use of tradeable permit systems designed to encourage resource users to meet water quality criteria.
19.77 The general principle of user-pays should not be limited to water and waste disposal: it should be adopted for all resource use activities in the coastal zone, although there will be circumstances in which modifications will be necessary in the interests of equity and efficiency. The application of user charges (such as national park fees, camping fees and car parking charges) designed to cover the costs of management and provision of facilities in the coastal zone should be extended.
R.44 The Inquiry recommends that
all government agencies responsible for coastal zone resources review existing charges with a view to recovering costs from users;
charges be applied to limit resource uses in areas where those uses have adverse environmental consequences;
concessional charges or exemptions be applied to lower income groups to ensure that they continue to have access to such areas.
19.78 As a general principle, developers should contribute to the cost of extensions to physical and social infrastructure necessary to meet demands arising from the development, and they should contribute to the continuing cost of monitoring and managing environmental impacts arising from the development.
R.45 The Inquiry recommends that
developer contributions be required to ensure that the full, identifiable social, ecological and economic costs arising from new developments in the coastal zone are met by the developers and thus included in the calculations of financial and economic returns before investment is undertaken;
the identification and funding by governments of costs associated with social or community service obligations be undertaken on a case-by-case basis;
the proceeds of developer contributions be distributed to agencies that meet the costs associated with each development.
19.79 Relevant agencies in all spheres of government must have funds available to remedy environmental damage arising from development that fails to comply with approved conditions, and to provide incentives for improved environmental performance generally.
R.46 The Inquiry recommends that
the use of performance bonds be extended to all new development projects in the coastal zone, unless equally effective alternative enforcement measures can be demonstrated to exist.
19.80 In recent years some governments have introduced specific levies to help finance resource management. Such levies have the potential to generate considerable revenue to assist in funding the National Coastal Action Program, but the community must be able to have confidence that the levies are fair and necessary and are applied only to the use for which they were introduced.
R.47 The Inquiry recommends that
specific levies be used to help finance coastal zone management, provided that the measures are shown to be necessary for resource management purposes, that the revenue generated is set aside for these purposes, and that arrangements are fully transparent to the community.
19.81 Another funding option is an accommodation tax on visitors to the coastal zone. The administrative costs associated with implementing such a tax would probably be minimal because of existing tax collection arrangements, and revenue could potentially be allocated to areas of greatest need or importance.
R.48 The Inquiry recommends that
state governments introduce a tax on accommodation charges in the coastal zone;
state governments levy the tax throughout the coastal zone within their jurisdiction using existing tax collection arrangements;
state governments distribute the revenue obtained to state agencies and local government authorities on a competitive basis, such agencies and authorities being required to submit expenditure proposals according to criteria designed to achieve agreed coastal zone management objectives, particularly those related to resources used for tourism purposes.
19.82 As part of the National Coastal Action Program, there is a need for increasing awareness among government agencies and the general public of the potential benefits of economic instruments.
R.49 The Inquiry recommends that
the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories, in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries and Energy and state coastal coordinating committees and other relevant agencies, initiate pilot programs in which specific economic and financial instruments appropriate to coastal zone management are further researched, designed, implemented and promoted.
19.83 Recent Industry Commission reports on various industries operating in the coastal zone have raised questions about the undesirable environmental impacts of those industries but have not considered them in detail. These matters should be further investigated to ensure that the consequences of current policies are fully understood.
R.50 The Inquiry recommends that
the Bureau of Resource Sciences, the Bureau of Industry Economics and the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics examine the following matters:
19.84 Information systems for coastal zone management should be developed at local and regional levels, where they can be designed to best meet the needs of coastal resource managers. In order that this 'cellular' approach can contribute to an effective and efficient national network of marine and coastal data providers and users, there must be effective national coordination of matters such as setting standards for data collection and transfer, establishing national directories of data sets, and setting priorities for new national data sets.
19.85 The Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee can play an important coordinating role in the Commonwealth sphere; this can help provide the basis for progressive improvements in coordination between all spheres of government. The National Resources Information Centre, which operates the National Directory of Australian Resources, and the Environmental Resources Information Network, which is developing the National Marine Information System, can also play important coordinating roles.
R.51 The Inquiry recommends that
the Commonwealth Spatial Data Committee establish a sub-group on coastal and marine data to develop standards and enhance collaboration for the collection, distribution and use of data by relevant Commonwealth agencies;
the Natural Resources Information Centre be given additional funding to establish a comprehensive national directory of marine and coastal data sets;
the Environmental Resource Information Network receive additional funding to enable more rapid development of a distribution network for coastal and marine data sets as part of the National Marine Information System;
the National Coastal Management Agency provide financial assistance and advice to local and state governments to undertake coastal resource inventories, such assistance to be conditional on agreed standards for data collection and transfer.
19.86 The pricing of information transfers between governments should not be such that it impedes access and discourages well-informed decision making about the uses of coastal resources.
R.52 The Inquiry recommends that
coastal resource information held by government agencies be available to other government agencies for the cost of transferring the information, as proposed by the Australian and New Zealand Land Information Council in its Draft National Policy on the Transfer of Land Related Data;
policies related to the financial structure of government agencies be based on this principle, so that the flow of information required for achieving the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program is not constrained by charges made by government agencies holding that information.
19.87 Coastal zone managers at the local level need better access to information and enhanced skills and capacities for using that information.
R.53 The Inquiry recommends that
the Commonwealth Government continue to support the Local Government Environmental Information Exchange Scheme recently established by the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories and provide funding so that the Scheme can continue to support environmental resource officers attached to local government associations;
in collaboration with the Department of the Environment, Sport and Territories and the Department of Health, Housing, Local Government and Community Services, the National Coastal Management Agency consider ways of providing assistance to local authorities to make better use of the information available for coastal zone management; such assistance to include specialist advice on gaining access to and using information, dissemination of knowledge about 'best practice' information systems, and the holding of regional workshops to discuss these and related matters;
in consultation with information users, the National Resources Information Centre and the Environmental Resources Information Network take further steps to develop coordinated services oriented to the needs of coastal resource managers, including state and local governments, industry, the research community and relevant community groups.
19.88 The Marine and Coastal Community Network can play an important role in the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program by providing community groups, industry and government with information about various community-based programs (including the proposed Coastcare initiative), by publicising successful involvement processes, effective education projects and 'best practice' methods, and by facilitating communication between groups with interests in the coastal zone. If the Network is to perform these functions fully in all parts of the coastal zone, it will need additional funding for the provision of more regional coordinators and associated communications infrastructure.
R.54 The Inquiry recommends that
funding of the Marine and Coastal Community Network be increased to ensure that it is fully effective in facilitating community involvement in all regions of the coastal zone during the implementation of the National Coastal Action Program.
19.89 The requirements for research in the priority areas identified by the Inquiry need to be reviewed in greater depth, taking into account the strengths and weaknesses of current knowledge for coastal zone management in particular regions, the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program, the identified needs of coastal resource managers, and the adequacy of arrangements for coordination between research agencies.
19.90 The Australian Science and Technology Council, which has a mandate to provide information and advice on science and technology matters related to the enhancement of national well-being, and which has had considerable recent experience in reviewing research needs in fields such as northern Australia, environmental research, and the contribution of the social sciences and humanities to research, is an appropriate body to undertake this review.
R.55 The Inquiry recommends that
the Commonwealth Government provide funding to the Australian Science and Technology Council to review the research priorities proposed by the Inquiry and examine ways of achieving better coordination of research efforts in these priority areas and improved communication between researchers and management agencies;
the following matters be reviewed:
19.91 The great length of Australia's coastline, other physical constraints, and limited resources available to government agencies mean that it will never be possible to ensure the absolute effectiveness of national surveillance and enforcement programs. But the issues and risks involved are of vital importance to Australia, from both an environmental perspective and an economic perspective, and it is essential that effective and efficient surveillance activities continue.
19.92 For a number of reasons, including its role as a border crossing and its relative isolation, there is a need for a large number of Commonwealth and Queensland government authorities to be represented in Torres Strait. The officers representing these authorities are mostly based on Thursday Island, which serves as a regional administrative and service centre, and there is a high degree of cooperation and coordination between the officers. The Inquiry has heard considerable and persuasive argument in support of the establishment of a higher level government presence in the north of the Torres Strait region, which faces special resource management problems.
R.56 The Inquiry recommends that
the Commonwealth Government establish a base facility on Saibai Island for use by officers of the Commonwealth representing immigration, quarantine and customs interests in the area. This facility should be staffed continuously, possibly by one or two officials holding delegated powers to represent more than one of those interests;
members of local indigenous communities be trained and employed as part-time quarantine monitoring and reporting staff, and that the employment of quarantine assistants on Yorke, Saibai, Badu and Darnley Islands be continued.
19.93 Although increasing concern about the need for enhancing Coastwatch's capacity in relation to surveillance of night-time movements is yet to be reflected in the policy determinations of the Coastwatch client agencies, the Inquiry has received convincing evidence of the need to enhance night-time surveillance capability, particularly in Torres Strait. A night-time surveillance capability is also essential for proper protection against illegal fishing operations in important conservation zones in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park. A sufficiently resourced effort is needed to counter this problem, rather than just a continuation of monitoring activities.
R.57 The Inquiry recommends that
the night-time civil surveillance and interception capabilities of agencies with enforcement responsibilities in northern coastal areas be increased, including as a high priority the equipping of Coastwatch with night-vision capacity appropriate for use in the Torres Strait region and in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park;
adequate funding be allocated for the provision of aircraft with advanced detection capabilities and for their use in support of enforcement action in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.
19.94 The threat of introduction to Australia of serious diseases and pests that are present in South East Asia and Papua New Guinea, and the potentially very great environmental and economic costs that would be incurred should those diseases and pests become established here, require that Australia's quarantine strategy be reviewed frequently. Frequent review and consideration of objectives and approaches are fundamental to the application of a strategic approach to these issues.
R.58 The Inquiry recommends that
consistent with the recommendations of the 1988 Lindsay Committee report, Australia's quarantine strategy be subject to a major external review in 1994;
the review focus mainly on the Northern Australia Quarantine Strategy, with particular emphasis on the adequacy of resources available for effective quarantine measures in northern Australia and include consideration of the adequacy of current measures to minimise the risk of introduction of pests and diseases through illegal immigration and through the movement of people in the Torres Strait Protected Zone.
19.95 At present, limited support is provided by the Department of Defence to civil surveillance activities in northern Australia. The Inquiry was advised that there are resources available to the Department of Defence in northern Australia, particularly in the Torres Strait area, which could be used to further supplement civil surveillance resources without detriment to their own responsibilities.
19.96 In relation to the question of Defence support,
R.59 The Inquiry recommends that
the Department of Defence and Coastwatch review their current coordination and support arrangements to determine ways in which the Defence Forces, particularly the Australian Army, could provide greater support to civil surveillance and possibly civil enforcement 'taskings', particularly in remote regions of northern Australia, including Cape York and Torres Strait.
19.97 There is an urgent need for further research into the potential effects of exotic pests and diseases introduced to Australian waters through ballast water discharges, into strategies for the management and possible eradication of such introduced pests and diseases, and into ways of preventing the introduction of other pests and diseases. This research should be closely coordinated with the research being undertaken by other affected countries.
R.60 The Inquiry recommends that
the arrangements that have been established to manage the current research program into the management and possible eradication of exotic marine pests and diseases introduced through ballast water discharge and into ways of preventing the introduction of other pests and diseases be maintained and that funding be provided by the Commonwealth to ensure continuation of the research program until it has achieved its objectives.
19.98 Effective arrangements for handling ballast water can be established only if a set of national guidelines is adopted by all relevant authorities.
R.61 The Inquiry recommends that
the domestic guidelines for handling ballast water drafted by the Australian Quarantine and Inspection Service be adopted by all Australian governments having responsibility for shipping and ports administration.
19.99 Although enforcement of fishing regulations in remote areas is difficult because of the limited resources available to fisheries authorities, breaches of regulations are a cause of great concern to many people and organisations. These include indigenous people who live in these areas and have particular interests in the management of local fisheries; fishing management authorities; resource managers such as the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority; and commercial and recreational fishing organisations. The potential for conflicts arising from failure to enforce existing laws and regulations is very great. Action is required by governments to remedy the situation.
R.62 The Inquiry recommends that
the Ministerial Council on Forestry, Fisheries and Aquaculture conduct an urgent review of options for dealing with breaches of fisheries regulations in all state and Commonwealth waters;
this review be undertaken in conjunction with Commonwealth and state fisheries authorities, the National Fishing Industry Council, the Australian Recreational and Sport Fishing Confederation, and representatives of indigenous communities.
19.100 Implementation of the National Coastal Action Program should be integrated with the implementation of other strategies, programs and initiatives affecting the resources of the coastal zone.
R.63 The Inquiry recommends that
as existing national strategies, programs and other initiatives that affect the use of resources in the coastal zone are further developed and implemented, the agencies concerned ensure that these strategies, programs and initiatives are consistent with the objectives and principles for coastal zone management agreed to by the Council of Australian Governments;
monitoring of the implementation and impacts of other strategies and programs be carried out by the National Coastal Management Agency in coordination with the agencies responsible for those strategies and in conjunction with state coastal coordinating committees and the Commonwealth Coastal Management Committee.
19.101 The Inquiry estimates that implementation of the National Coastal Action Program will require expenditure of approximately $23 million each year for the first three years of the Program. All spheres of government should share in the provision of resources according to their responsibilities and financial capacities. Existing Commonwealth programs may be able to provide funding for some components of the Program; however, higher levels of recurrent Commonwealth expenditure will be necessary to raise national levels of expenditure on coastal zone management.
R.64 The Inquiry recommends that
all spheres of government provide adequate funds to ensure that the objectives of the National Coastal Action Program are achieved;
each sphere of government review its allocation of resources for coastal zone management in light of the objectives and principles of the National Coastal Action Program in time for adjustments to be included in budgetary allocations starting in 1994-95;
the Commonwealth Government review existing programs relevant to the Program and increase its overall level of expenditure to ensure that the components of the National Coastal Action Program recommended
by the Inquiry are implemented in 1994-95.
19.102 Implementation of the National Coastal Action Program will require agreement between governments concerning funding of expenditures, including funding of the National Coastal Management Agency and programs forming part of the National Coastal Action Program, and Commonwealth legislation.
R.65 The Inquiry recommends that
the proposed Coastal Resource Management Act provide for agreements between the Commonwealth and state governments in relation to the funding of the National Coastal Action Program, including funding for the National Coastal Management Agency and other parts of the Program;
such agreements should include provision for funding according to
well-defined criteria and provision for ongoing evaluation of outcomes;
expenditures on the National Coastal Action Program by each sphere of government be conditional on programs and policies being designed and implemented in accordance with objectives agreed by the Council of Australian Governments and incorporated in the proposed Coastal Resource Management Act.
19.103 To enable it to effectively monitor expenditure on management of coastal zone resources, the National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating committees will need to obtain accounting data from many local government authorities and government agencies in a standardised format.
R.66 The Inquiry recommends that
the National Coastal Management Agency, in conjunction with state coastal coordinating committees, local government associations and Commonwealth agencies, develop a standardised accounting format to assist in monitoring expenditures on coastal zone management, particularly expenditures on clearly identifiable and important aspects of management.
19.104 An important element of the monitoring that should be undertaken by the National Coastal Management Agency and state coastal coordinating committees is the design and use of performance indicators related to expenditure from funds devoted to coastal management purposes.
R.67 The Inquiry recommends that
the National Coastal Management Agency, in coordination with state coastal coordinating committees, local government associations and Commonwealth government agencies, develop indicators that can be used to monitor the use and effectiveness of funds spent as part of the National Coastal Action Program.
19.105 To ensure that the National Coastal Action Program is implemented without undue delay, it is essential that governments agree to implement relevant aspects of the Program according to the Inquiry's proposed implementation agenda.
R.68 The Inquiry recommends that
governments adopt the agenda for implementing the National Coastal Action Program;
19.106 The Program must be carried out in an effective and efficient manner and it is essential that an effective monitoring and evaluation program be put in place.
R.69 The Inquiry recommends that
implementation of the National Coastal Action Program be monitored and evaluated by the National Coastal Management Agency. The Agency should report annually to the Council of Australian Governments and its report should be publicly available.