Australia's coasts and climate change

Australia is a predominantly coastal society. About 85 per cent of the population lives in the coastal region and it is of immense economic, social and environmental importance to the nation.

The Australian coast is a dynamic place and in the last 50,000 years humans have witnessed major changes in sea level, habitats and the shape of the shoreline from great storm events.

Over the last 6000 to 7000 years Australia's coasts have been relatively stable. Since 1788, settlements have been built along the coast in expectation that sea level would remain broadly unchanged.

But Australia's coasts are now changing. A new climate era, driven by global warming, will increase risks to settlements, industries, the delivery of services and natural ecosystems within Australia's coastal zone. It is important that these risks are understood.

The risks of sea level rise are not confined to the coast itself. Flooding may impact on areas some distance inland, for example along estuaries, rivers, lakes or lagoons.

The Australian Government is taking steps to support adaption to the impacts of climate change.

Videos exploring the risks facing coastal communities and Australia's coasts and what can be done to help prepare for the impacts of climate change have been produced.