Our Cairns coast is, and will continue to be, vulnerable to changes from coastal erosion, storm tide inundation (cyclonic and non-cyclonic) and sea level rise. These impacts and their effect on our coastal values are expected to increase over time with climate change 1.
We have seen these changes in the past and know they will continue in the future. They can impact on the things we value about Cairns: its natural beauty, tropical lifestyle, sense of community and the many ways we use and enjoy the coast. They can also impact on our community’s infrastructure – our roads, services, and properties.
Natural areas as well as private and public infrastructure (such as homes, businesses, roads, drainage and amenities) are affected by these changes. Those areas and assets that are more exposed, sensitive and less able to adapt will be more vulnerable to future coastal hazard events.
Coastal adaptation is not a one-off operation and not all coastal hazards can be prevented. However, through a systematic process, the Our Cairns Coast project will develop implementation strategies to help minimise the projected effects. It is an important strategy to:
- protect and plan for coastal impacts to our community, property, environment and valued areas
- be prepared and take early action before impacts worsen
- give financial certainty to investment
- reduce recovery costs for Council and the community
- know what adaptation options will or won’t work – now and in the future
- understand when and where actions are required – not all areas will be similarly impacted and not all actions need to happen until certain trigger points or changes are observed
- integrate responses across Council and other stakeholders to respond with a coordinated approach
1. (CSIRO and Bureau of Meteorology, Climate Change in Australia website (www.climatechangeinaustralia.gov.au ), cited [17 December 2018] and CSIRO, (www.csiro.au/en/Research/OandA/Areas/Oceans-and-climate/Climate-change-information ), cited [17 December 2018].
- Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology and CSIRO State of the Climate 2018 report
- Queensland Government Coastal hazard technical guide
- Queensland Government Far North Queensland Climate Change Impact Summary