Disaster preparedness and climate change adaptation: a national conundrum

In December last year, the Australian Government released its response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry into natural disaster funding arrangements. The Government agreed that the Commission’s report significantly enhanced the discussion on the need for actions to ensure that funding for disaster mitigation, relief and recovery is “effective, sustainable and ultimately reduces the impact of disasters on communities”. Yet the response made no reference to likely impacts of climate change on Australian society. Read More

Sept-Iles: Managing a migrating foreland

Late May-early June is the 50th anniversary of several momentous events; the 1967 Aboriginal referendum, the Middle East 6 day war, and the release of the Beatles Sergeant Pepper album. For me it was entering the port town of Sept-Iles on the northern shore of the Gulf of St. Lawrence en route to 3 years of splendid “isolation” in the interior of Labrador Ungava. Read More

Achievements of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility

Last Wednesday, 17th May, I attended what we think will be the last meeting of supporters of NCCARF, the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility. The meeting was held in rooms overlooking the famous MCG in Melbourne and brought together the staff of NCCARF based at Griffith University with members of the various groups that had been involved in the operation of NCCARF in recent years including representatives of local, state and federal governments. I was present in my capacity as Chair of the Technical Reference Group (TRG). Read More

The Blue Mud Bay case – Aboriginal property rights in the Northern Territory

I have read that the Blue Mud Bay decision stands as one of the most significant affirmations of Indigenous legal rights in recent Australian history (Sean Brennan, 2008, in Indigenous Law Bulletin 27). The decision relates to Aboriginal property rights in the Northern Territory as applied to the intertidal zone, including river mouths and estuaries, along most of the NT coastline. Read More

Botany Bay Sands

Last week I again conducted my annual field trip for the Wentworth Group Master Class. I refer to this excursion as Cape to Cape from Cape Banks to Cape Solander. It encompasses the broad expanse of Botany Bay so named by Captain Cook and reflecting the incredible botanical finds of both Banks and Solander. Read More

Wave Energy Resource

The renewable energy debate has been heating up once again. States and Commonwealth governments have been trading initiatives over recent months in how best to secure supply of electricity to various markets. These problems are said to get worse as coal-fired power stations are retired and gas sources are directed to a large extent to overseas markets. Read More

Clustering of Storms

I read with interest the results of recent work by Ivan Haigh et al. on extreme sea level and storm surge events around the coast of the UK. Robert Nichols from University of Southampton, in comments on this work, noted that clustering of storms as occurred in 2013-14, is an important issue with large socio-economic impacts and insurance losses; “ knowledge of typical lengths of time between storm events will help determine how much time emergency response teams have to repair a flood [or coastal] defence before the following storm arrives”. Read More

The “Venice Effect”

On my recent excursion to Port Stephens, I drove along Marsh Road between Salt Ash and Bobs Farm. This road runs parallel to Tilligerry Creek and is bordered on the north side by a healthy stand of mangroves. The road serves as a dyke to prevent salt water from entering reclaimed farm land on the opposite side. Read More

Port Stephens Bioherms

Last week I was invited to give a talk at Salamander Bay on the geology and geomorphology of the Port Stephens area. It was part of a series involving community education sponsored by Port Stephens Council. One of the groups attending were members of the local Ocean and Coastal Care Initiative (OCCI), a community organisation with a passionate interest in the environmental health of their coast. Read More