ACS Chair to head the national Coasts and Climate Change Council

source: Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency : Media releases 2011.

The Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency, Greg Combet today announced the extension of the Coasts and Climate Change Council until December 2011, saying its principal focus would be on advising government to ensure progress on coastal adaptation.

“The Coasts and Climate Change Council will have a vital role in talking to wide range of experts, and feeding this valuable information into government policy,” Mr Combet said. “The extension of the Council’s term will enable it to support the Government, which is focused on co-ordinated and effective action along Australia’s vast coastline in preparing for climate change.”

It will also support the implementation of key recommendations agreed to in the November 2010 response to the House of Representatives report Managing our Coasts in a Changing Climate: the time to act is now. (Link below)

“Coupled with a carbon price and complementary measures such as energy efficiency, appropriate adaptation measures will ensure Australia is building resilient coastal communities to manage the impacts of climate change on our economy and lifestyle,” Mr Combet said.

The Government is concerned about several issues in coastal adaptation. These include:

  • the need for consistent coastal management practices;
  • legal issues around liability and property rights; and
  • whether current property development and planning practices are appropriate for the increased severity of storms and floods which scientists say can be expected with climate change.

The Minister also acknowledged the excellent work of the Council under the leadership of Professor Tim Flannery, now Chief Commissioner of the independent new Climate Commission.

The new head of the Coasts and Climate Change Council, Professor Bruce Thom AM, said the Council’s membership covering science, local government, planning, engineering and law made it well-placed to advise the Minister and the Government in action on climate change adaptation and ensure that work is done co-operatively in adapting to climate change.

Media contacts : Gia Hayne 0412 060 406 (Mr Combet)

DCCEE Media 02 6159 7070 or 0457 814 354 (Professor Thom)


The Council comprises:

  • Prof. Bruce Thom AM (Chair), Member, Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists; Emeritus Professor, University of Sydney;  President, The Australian Coastal Society
  • Ms Sam Mostyn, Former Group Executive, Culture & Reputation at Insurance Australia Group
  • Prof. Barbara Norman, Professor of Urban Planning, Faculty of Business and Government
  • University of Canberra
  • Mayor Paddi Creevey OAM, Mayor of Mandurah City
  • Mayor Lorraine Pyefinch, Mayor of Bundaberg Regional Council
  • Councillor Genia McCaffery, President ALGA
  • Dr Andrew McCowan, Director of Water Technology Pty Ltd
  • Mr Andrew Beatty, Partner, Baker & McKenzie Lawyers Sydney

Terms of Reference

  • Provide advice to the Minister and the Australian Government on the implications of coastal climate change for decision makers
  • Undertake professional stakeholder engagement activities to inform advice on national coastal climate change adaptation reform priorities
  • Raise awareness of coastal climate change adaptation issues