21st Century reform in Australian coastal policy and legislation

Nick Harvey, Beverley Clarke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Recent coastal legislative and policy reform in Australia reflects the changing focus of coastal management studies in the international scientific literature indicating a move towards systems perspectives, cross-boundary management strategies and an integration of marine and terrestrial environments. Significant global and national reports on integrated coastal management and climate change set the stage for a 21st Century wave of coastal reform in Australia. Given the absence of Australian national coastal legislation or coastal policy the reforms were initiated by a number of state governments such as in New South Wales and Victoria where new pieces of state-based coastal legislation came into law in 2018. This paper examines new coastal legislation, policies, manuals, and government documents and the rationale and triggers behind these reforms. These are discussed in the context of Australian governance structures and the international coastal management literature. The paper concludes that the latest wave of coastal reform in Australia represents a non-uniform stateled push for a more integrated approach to coastal management including, adaptation to climate change, sustainable development, a systems-based approach to coastal processes and inclusion of both marine and terrestrial environments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)27-32
Number of pages6
JournalMarine Policy
Issue numberMay
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2019


  • Coastal policy
  • Climate change
  • Coastal management


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