When: Tuesday 13th November, 2:00pm – 3:30pm
Where: Theatre, Level 2 down the stairs to the right of the registration/foyer area
Much is known about the physical nature of coastal hazards in New South Wales (NSW) and management interventions available to mitigate their impacts. However, much less is known about social dimensions of communities and coastal users who are, or may be, affected by these hazards. This project aims to assess existing understanding and perceptions of coastal hazards by the NSW ‘coastal community’, specifically relating to inundation and erosion caused by coastal storms and sea level rise, by analysing sources of information and the level of trust regarding these sources.
A multi-tiered survey instrument was disseminated between November 2017 and April 2018 in order to gain information on a cross-section of the NSW coastal community. A total of 1065 survey responses were obtained from teachers (n=355); surf life saving club members (n=307), coastal accommodation visitors (n=237) and managers (n=61), indigenous communities (n=22), ‘frontline’ coastal residents (n=23), and coastal management professionals (n=60).
Results show that most NSW coastal users have a good understanding of coastal erosion and inundation, their associated consequences, and the various hard and soft solutions available to manage their impacts. However, some confusion exists regarding the future rate and impacts of sea level rise on the NSW coast and a significant number of respondents indicated they would still buy, and live in, a house at risk of coastal erosion and inundation.
This study highlights several important differences in perceptions and opinions of coastal hazards between coastal users and coastal management professionals in relation to different coastal environments and the best methods to communicate and educate the coastal community. The results from this study will be freely available through an online resource pack of information targeting various types of end users.
This project is funded by the NSW Department of Justice and supported by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Office of Environment and Heritage and Surf Life Saving New South Wales.
Anna Attard, Research Assistant and Masters Student, University of New South Wales