Module 7


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Some Problems with the
Present Management of the Coast

The separation of responsibilities of the coastal zone between three levels of government and into separate compartments (eg. lands, forests and fisheries) results in decisions being made in one sector without consideration of the impact of the decision on other sectors. This is because:

  • Responsibilities for and jurisdiction over sections of the coast are frequently overlapping and contentious.

  • Over 1500 bodies from the three levels of government and over 900 regulatory systems are involved in some way with the regulation of land and building in the coastal zone.

  • Approval procedures are often complex and inefficient, and integration and co-ordination between governmental bodies and agencies is frequently poor.

  • Lack of 'strategic thinking' at all levels of government has lead to an accumulation of small decisions which, taken in isolation, are unobjectionable but, cumulatively, result in environmental and social problems.

  • Lack of long-term planning and fragmentation of planning responsibilities means that large scale and long-term environmental problems are not addressed.

  • The division of planning responsibilities along Local, State or Territory boundaries, rather than according to ecological or natural biophysical systems, hinders efforts to create effective conservation or buffer zones for marine organisms. Many marine organisms travel great distances during their juvenile (larval) stages, and others migrate as adults.

  • Many local authorities have limited access to expertise over the broad range of areas needed to effectively manage the coastal zone, including engineering, planning, environmental, health sciences and financial expertise.

  • Existing systems for approving developments focus on the particular development proposed, in isolation from broader ecological, social, cultural and economic considerations.

  • Many people feel that government authorities do not give sufficient weight to the principle of public participation.