United approach to highlight erosion fears

October 11, 2021 BY

Great Ocean Road communities are watching the coast crumble and a webinar series will bring agencies together with residents to discuss urgently needed solutions. Photo: PETER MARSHALL

GREAT Ocean Road communities, coastal agencies and professionals in geomorphology, marine and climate science will come together to discuss the impact and challenges of coastal erosion.

The Great Ocean Road Communities Network will host a series of four online webinars sessions to highlight local residents’ widespread, increasing concerns about rising sea levels and storm surges.

The network was established in 2020 to provide a united voice on shared interests and issues to the governments and agencies with responsibilities for the coast, the Great Ocean Road and its hinterland as well as the broader community.

GORCN chair Charlotte Allen said coastal erosion and cliff collapses were occurring with increasing frequency and severity along the Great Ocean Road.

“The threats to fragile ecosystems, beaches, the liveability of coastal settlements are increasing, and along with the significant risk to a sustainable future for local tourism, these changes are growing cause of local stress,” Ms Allen said.

“Discussions around risk, responsibility, social impacts and economic loss are becoming more frequent and intense.

“The solutions are complex; however while the stakes are high, responses by government agencies are only at an early stage of development.”

Ms Allen said community members will join with professionals with expertise in areas such as geomorphology, marine and climate science during the first three sessions this month.

She said the webinars would provide an opportunity to understand the social and legal implications of coastal erosion and “to share what is happening now along the coast, what the science is telling us, and the very real social and legal implications that we face”.

“During the last session, Victoria’s coastal agencies, the Great Ocean Road Coast and Parks Authority, DEWLP, Regional Roads Victoria, Surf Coast Shire, Colac Otway Shire, will respond to the issues and outline the short, medium and long-term plans for the road,” Ms Allen said.

“The moderators will be ex ABC reporter, Zoe Daniel, ABC Science Show presenter, Robyn Williams and well-known science broadcaster, Dr Gael Jennings.”

The four-part webinar series will be at 3pm on October 18, 19, and 21 and November 8, and are open to anyone in the community who registers via https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/177607146757

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