Councils overwhelmed by sea change shift – ABC News

Councils overwhelmed by sea change shift – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).

By Rachel Carbonell

Australia’s coastal councils are calling for a national plan to tackle the huge challenges posed by rapid population growth on the country’s east coast.

The National Sea Change Taskforce, a coalition of non-metropolitan coastal councils, says population growth in regional coastal areas is outstripping the national average.

It is predicting population growth in these areas will increase by 94 per cent, or more than 6 million people, over the next 40 years.

Taskforce executive director Alan Stokes says Australians love the beach so much that they are shifting to coastal areas in such vast numbers and local councils are overwhelmed by the influx.

“If you have a look at the ABS figures from 1997 to 2009 the population of these non-metro coastal areas increased by just under 2 million people,” he said.

“That was about an average of almost 160,000 people a year.”

He says growth in these areas is going to increase even further.

“The total population in coastal areas outside the capital cities will increase to around 13.2 million people by the year 2050,” he said.

“That’s a population increase which is equivalent to another 12 or 13 Gold Coasts around coastal Australia as a whole.”

The taskforce is currently holding a conference to discuss the issue on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria.

Mr Stokes says retiring baby boomers will play a big role in boosting the numbers of people moving to the beach.

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