13 Aug 2010

Updated Queensland Coastal Plan on the way

by Karen Trainor, Kathryn Pacey, Rachel Baird

Major policy issues including coastal hazards (some exacerbated by climate change), marine development and land use planning in the coastal region are addressed in the Plan.

An updated Coastal Plan and State Planning Policy on Coastal Protection is due for release in final format in late 2010. Major policy issues including coastal hazards (some exacerbated by climate change), marine development and land use planning in the coastal region are addressed in the Plan.


Around 200 submissions were made on the draft Queensland Coastal Plan by the time the extended public submission period closed on closed on 31 October 2009. A final version of the Coastal Plan is expected for release in late 2010. Until then the existing State and Regional Management Plans will remain in force.

A public review of the 2002 State Plan was due in 2009 under the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995. The review indicated that there were concerns about human impacts on the coastline and duplication and inconsistencies between the 48 policies under the Plan. The adverse impacts of climate change and dealing with coastal hazards (erosion, sea level rise and storm-tide inundation) were also flagged as major policy issues.

Coastal Plan 2002 deficiencies

The resultant draft Queensland Coastal Plan aims to address a number of the identified problems within the 2002 State Plan including:

  • a lack of integration with planning and other development assessment regimes
  • the relationship with other plans is complicated and confusing
  • little consideration given to climate change in decision-making
  • insufficient protection of biodiversity; and
  • uncertainty about where the plan applies.

Draft Coastal Plan 2009

The draft Plan consists of three Parts:

  • draft Queensland Coastal Plan Forward
  • draft State Policy on Coastal Management (draft Policy); and
  • drat State Planning Policy on Coastal Protection (draft SPP).

The draft Policy will provide guidance for maintenance, rehabilitation and protection by providing policy direction for communities as well as local and state government. The aim is to ensure decisions and management tools including coastal reserve management plans, shoreline erosion plans, parks and gardens strategies, grants and sponsorship programs; tenure allocations, lease conditions and local conservation project plans.

The draft SPP will address land-use planning and development assessment under the Sustainable Planning Act 2009 by seeking to ensure the objects of the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995 are considered.

A number of coastal issues are addressed in the draft SPP such as

  • the effects of coastal hazards on people and property;
  • preserving opportunities for maritime development; protecting areas of high ecological significance;
  • preserving scenic amenity and public access to the coast; and
  • informing urban settlement patterns in the coastal zone.

Provision for environmental offsets will be included in the Coastal Protection and Management Act 1995.

Mapping and removal of regional Plans

Missing from the 2002 Coastal Plan was any certainty as to how far the Plan extended. The definition of coastal zone will be amended to include coastal waters and land within 5 kilometres of the coast or below 10 metres Australian height Datum, whichever is furthest inland.

Draft maps covering the entire coastline have been prepared and incorporated into the draft Plan. Importantly a coastal management distrust has been mapped over all tidal waters and most adjacent land.

This electronic mapping has meant that regional coastal plans can be removed, thus streamlining management via the one State Coastal Policy.

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