Planning for future coastal hazards

A strategy that sets out Council’s plans for responding to coastal hazards for the next 80 years is open for public consultation.

The draft Our Cairns Coast: Adapting for the Future strategy assesses the risk of sea level rise, storm tide inundation and erosion to Council, community and other assets over the short, medium and long term.

The draft strategy identifies 588 priority Council and community assets that could be at risk from storm tide inundation, sea level rise or erosion by the year 2100 if no action is taken to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change.

Council has also mapped the potential areas affected by coastal hazards by 2100 in key coastal locations based on the State government’s mandated 0.8m sea level rise, and outlines proposed actions to address these hazards.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning said that around three per cent of the region was currently affected by coastal hazards, but storm tide inundation and sea level rise, in particular, were predicted to have a worsening impact on our coastline and low-lying areas within 50 years.

“The Our Cairns Coast: Adapting for the Future strategy is an important plan for us to better understand our current and future coastal hazard risks, and how these hazards might impact our coastal environments, lifestyle and communities,” said Cr Manning.

“We need a good plan and strong decision-making processes in place around the protection and maintenance of our coast.

“There are many adaptation actions open to us from natural options like revegetation, to dune strengthening, through to engineered sea walls and levees.

Our preference, wherever we can, is to use natural options, as is the preference of the community, but there may come a point where this is not enough.”

As part of the strategy, new coastal hazard mapping has been developed for 14 localities from Ellis Beach in the north to Bramston Beach in the south, displaying predicted impacts over the next 80 years and proposed actions and priorities for each area.

“I know that the coastal hazard mapping will be of concern to some residents, but we need to bear in mind that this modelling is based on future scenarios many of which will not affect our region for decades to come,” Cr Manning said.

“This gives us the opportunity to plan early to take action to lessen these potential impacts and ensure the future resilience of our city.”

Cr Manning said the Cairns CBD had been identified at being at risk of future coastal hazards.

“Council is looking to strengthen our coastlines and defend our community assets in this area as they are critical for the future viability of our city,” he said.

“Our vision is to work together with the community and nature to adapt to a changing climate and be leaders in the management of coastal hazards.

The strategy was largely funded by the Queensland Government’s QCoast2100 Program.

The strategy and mapping will be publicly available on Council’s website as part of the consultation process.

The Our Cairns Coast strategy will be available for public consultation from until Sunday

31 August via the Have Your Say section on Council’s website (

Members of the community can provide written feedback or attend drop-in information sessions with detail to be provided on the Our Cairns Coast webpage.

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