Over the past six months, tourists and locals have been shocked to see Byron’s famous Main Beach literally disappearing. Satellite imagery and local knowledge has revealed what’s going on.
King tides and rising seas are an increasing and predictable threat, but adaptation plans to limit the damage to coastal property are still not managing the political obstacles.
Conflicts over coastal areas have largely been between development and preserving what makes these attractive places to live. Rising sea levels are now complicating our relationship with the coast.
We aren’t just jostling with each other for beach space. Scuttling, waddling, hopping or flying away from beachgoers all around Australia, wildlife struggles to survive the daily disturbances.
In many ways, the conflict we see on our beaches may be a small price to pay for the free and open access to our beaches, which Australians have long fought to preserve.
Many properties are at risk from rising sea levels, with owners and councils at odds over the costs of defending these. NSW law reform may lead to more forward-looking climate change adaptation.