An aerial view of the coast, including red cliffs, carparks, roads and the Onkaparinga rivermouth near South Port beach.

Published on 27 May 2024

National coastal conference headed to Onkaparinga

Climate change risks and the impacts of short-term rentals on coastal communities are among the key topics of a national coastal conference being held in the City of Onkaparinga from 29–31 May.

The 2024 Australian Coastal Councils Conference will bring together scientific experts, politicians and coastal local government leaders from across Australia to discuss practical ways to plan for and manage key coastal challenges.

The City of Onkaparinga will host the conference at the McLaren Vale Function Centre, and also launch the council’s new seven-year Coastal Adaptation Plan.

“This evidence-based plan, developed with extensive community engagement, identifies risks and proposes responses aligned with scientific research and community values’” said City of Onkaparinga Mayor Moira Were.

“But the plan also highlights the urgent need for a joint approach to coastal adaptation from all tiers of government.

“Councils alone cannot fund the full ranges of measures that are required now and into the future. The Australian coastline is a crucial social, economic, and environmental asset, and it’s facing increasing threats from extreme weather events, coastal erosion, and sea-level rise.

“Coastal councils are at the frontline of managing these risks but lack the necessary resources and national framework to address them effectively.

“The establishment of the Disaster Ready Fund by the Australian Government in 2022, providing up to $200 million annually for natural disaster resilience, is a welcome step, but it falls short of meeting the requirements for successful coastal adaptation on a national scale.”

In response, coastal councils are calling for the creation of a National Coastal Adaptation Fund and a National Coastal Adaptation Working Group.

Key highlights of the 2024 Australian Coastal Councils Conference will include:

  • Short-term Rentals in Urban and Coastal Communities – The release of interim findings of an important new study by the University of Sydney, which examines the impacts and proposed policy responses to the growth in short-term holiday properties in urban and coastal areas. The presentation will be made by the leader of the research team, Nicole Gurran, Professor Urban and Regional Planning at The University of Sydney.
  • The IPCC AR6 Sea-Level Rise Projections – A presentation on the latest sea-level rise projections by the International Panel on Climate Change, presented by Dr Kathleen McInnes, a leading expert on sea-level rise in CSIRO’s Climate Science Centre. Dr McInnes researches how climate change will affect severe weather and coastal extreme sea levels with a focus on Australia.
  • Building a Resilient Australia – A presentation by Kylie Macfarlane, Chief Operating Officer of the Insurance Council of Australia, on insurance affordability and availability in a changing climate.
  • Coastal Policy Forum – The forum will consider priority coastal policy issues for the management and sustainability of Australia’s coastal communities and coastal environment.

See the full conference program at the Australian Coastal Councils Association Inc. website