I rise to support this important and timely motion. I raised the issue of coastal erosion in my first speech when I called for a national strategy to address the coastal impacts of climate change. I witness these effects regularly in Corangamite. At Apollo Bay, over 30 metres of beach has been lost, and now the high tide is within a few metres of the Great Ocean Road. Toilets and camping grounds are under threat. At Anglesea, there is little beach left as the tide cuts into the dunes. This isn't just about recreation on the beach. The critically endangered hooded plover has been left with no breeding area. Erosion means the loss of infrastructure, recreation and habitat. Eventually it also means social disruption, a loss of business and a loss of jobs.
The Surf Coast, the Otways and the Great Ocean Road are more than a home to many of my constituents; tourism is a driver of the local coastal economy in Victoria. Great Ocean Road tourism income in 2017-18 was said to be worth over $1.2 billion. Over two million visitors come to the Surf Coast Shire alone each year, and over five million visit the whole stretch of the Great Ocean Road.
The five councils in my Corangamite care, and want to address these problems, but to properly map the coast—to engage the engineering expertise and develop a multimillion-dollar multiagency strategy—is well beyond their capacity. These councils, all with high-growth areas, simply can't find extra millions to also combat erosion caused by man-made climate change.
But we do have some voices calling for action. In early August, before the meeting of COAG, WA became the first state to release a state-wide report on coastal erosion. Premier Mark McGowan called on the Commonwealth to work with state and local governments to manage coastal erosion across the country. It appears from the COAG communique that the issue didn't even make it onto the agenda. I hope it will next time. The WA report is built on five broad goals: environment, community, economy, infrastructure and governance. Under each goal, the report provides the objectives and strategies that will build healthy coastlines in each of the 55 identified coastal zones. The estimated cost for managing the 55 WA locations is up to $110 million over the next five years, with extra funding required in the long term.
On the technical front, scientists from the University of New South Wales recently released a framework for guiding, building and managing coastal infrastructure. They say we need to totally rethink how we build on the coast. I know UNSW is not alone in doing research in this area. The point here is that no local government and no state government can do this on their own.
Climate change is global, but its effects are local. All levels of government have a responsibility to deal with those effects, including the federal government. The first step is to take real action on climate change, to keep global warming to 1.5 degrees or less, which will stop ice cap melt and the rise in sea levels. The government's commitment to reduce carbon emissions by 26 to 28 per cent by 2030 is a three-degrees strategy, not a below-two-degrees strategy. In any event, our coastlines cannot wait. We need real commitment right now to map our coastlines and to tackle coastal erosion nationally. We need to agree on new coastal planning and building standards. We need a new Commonwealth fund for climate adaptation activities. Remedial and adaptive activities have been defunded under successive coalition governments since 2014.
In Corangamite, during the election campaign, $1.5 million was committed at the last minute by this government to deal with restoration of coastal dunes and beach erosion from Queenscliff to Cape Otway. It will fund small projects, and I'm sure it will be used wisely by the Corangamite Catchment Management Authority, which is responsible for the funds. But it won't even begin to implement the required engineering solutions for the erosion, which is now threatening to undermine the Great Ocean Road itself, as well as many other parts of our beautiful coastline.
This year is the 100th anniversary of that great road, built by the returning soldiers and the unemployed after World War I. I call on the Morrison government to lead by example and invest in our coastline. I call on them to cooperate with all levels of government, researchers and other agencies to make sure that all of our nation's icons are here for the next hundred years.Share Tweet