Protecting Gold Coast waterways and lifestyle at centre of climate adaptation partnership

Minister for Transport and Main Roads The Honourable Mark Bailey

The Palaszczuk Government and City of Gold Coast will partner to plan and develop new technologies, infrastructure and environmental management practices under a new agreement aimed at tackling climate change.

The Gold Coast Waterways Authority (GCWA) and the City are collaborating on a project to manage coastal hazards including rising sea levels and extreme weather events to protect vital infrastructure including the Gold Coast Seaway, the Sand Bypass system and Wave Break Island.

Announcing the project today, Minister for Transport and Main Roads Mark Bailey and Mayor Tom Tate said it would be a great opportunity to make the Gold Coast a leader in climate change adaptation.

Minister Bailey said the plan will look at the social, environmental and economic impacts of climate change and consider a range of options for responding including developing new technology for monitoring changes, building new infrastructure or altering environmental management practices.

“With a natural capital value of $26 billion and over 6,000 direct and indirect jobs relying on our waterways you can see why they need to be at the heart of our strategy to respond and adapt to climate change,” Mr Bailey said.

“Protecting our environment and creating jobs in this space are key components of the Palaszczuk Government’s $4.5 billion transport and roads investment across the region, including on our waterways and projects like the $1 billion M1 upgrade from Varsity Lakes to Tugun.

“Our action on jobs and climate change is why Queensland is the place to be, and this agreement will help outline an infrastructure strategy to build on our $34 million being invested to upgrade and maintain our waterways on the Gold Coast as part of Queensland’s economic recovery plan.

Mr Bailey said the city relies on features like the Gold Coast Seaway, the Sand Bypass System and Wave Break Island to ensure ongoing and safe access to our waterways for recreational boaties and commercial operators.

“They also protect public open spaces including Doug Jennings Park at The Spit and foreshores along the Broadwater from hazards like storm surges and erosion.

“This project will consider how these assets are holding up against climate change impacts and what future infrastructure is needed to respond to the changing environment.”

A tender to undertake the project has been awarded to a group comprising of south-east Queensland firms NCEconomics and Alluvium Consulting.

Mayor Tom Tate said the plan will build on the work being done under the City’s Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS).

“Partnerships are vital in assessing challenges of this nature so I welcome the State Government’s interest in this project,” said Mayor Tate.

“As chair of our Local Disaster Management Group, I’m particularly interested in the outcomes as these will assist us in forward planning for how we prepare for, and tackle, natural events that may threaten our city’s coastline and infrastructure.”

GCWA Chair, Mara Bún, said the Gold Coast has a strong track record in leading the way with developing innovative responses to environmental challenges.

“The Gold Coast Seaway and world-first Sand Bypass System were developed and constructed in direct response to the need for more robust coastal protection systems.

“This still stands as one of Australia’s most significant engineering feats of the 1980s and was only possible because of direct support from the Queensland Government.

“It’s exciting to be working with the City on another project that recognises the need to future proof the waterways.

“The science tells us that doing nothing is not an option.

“I’m looking forward to seeing the solutions that the project team comes up to ensure locals and visitors continue to enjoy everything the Gold Coast has to offer now, and into the future.”

Ms Bún said the project will set a clear direction for the management and protection of the coastal inland waterways using science and evidence-based research.

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