Conference explores the future of Queensland’s coastline

Collaborative partnerships are needed to manage the coastline in an uncertain future.

What will Queensland’s coast look like in 50 years? That’s the big question posed by a coastal science and engineering conference held on the Gold Coast this week.

The 7th Queensland Coastal Conference, hosted by the Australian Coastal Society, will explore this future-focused theme over two days, 21-22 August, at Mantra Legends Surfers Paradise.

The conference comes hot on the heels of new research by Griffith University published in Nature Climate Change that has predicted risks to Australian and global coastlines due to projected wave climate changes, affecting wave height, period and direction.

Peta Leahy, Senior Researcher at the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, is the outgoing president of the Australian Coastal Society and co-chair of the conference organising panel.

She said that around 85% of Australia’s population lives on or near the coast, and like much of Queensland’s urbanised coastline, the Gold Coast is experiencing unprecedented development.

“It’s important that all levels of government, the private sector, industry, non-government organisations, and the community form collaborative partnerships to come up with better ways to manage and utilise the coast in the face of an uncertain future,” she said.

The Gold Coast is well placed to demonstrate this collaboration, Jemma Purandare, Outgoing Queensland Branch Chair of the Australian Coastal Society and PhD Candidate at Griffith University, added.

“Holding the Queensland Coastal Conference here this year gives us the opportunity to move those conversations forward,” she said.

Griffith University is a sponsor of the event, and several of its researchers and academics will present at the conference.

Dr Johanna Nalau, Adaptation Science Theme Leader at Griffith’s Cities Research Institute, will host a special workshop called Tearing Adaptation Apart.

It will bring coastal planning, policy and engineering professionals, from the private and public sector, together to address a gap in implementation of adaptation measures.

Dan Ware, Research Fellow at the Griffith Centre for Coastal Management, will share his perspective on what the Queensland coast will look like in 2069 with a panel including Mara Bun from Green Cross Australia and John Gunn from Earth Environmental.

The Queensland Government Department of Environment and Science and the City of Gold Coast are the gold and silver sponsors of the event.

Keynote speakers include Cameron Costello from the Quandamooka Yoolooburrabee Aboriginal Corporation (QYAC), Dr Kate Brooks from KAL Analysis and Greg Vann from Ethos Urban.