NEWS 7 May 2018 |

The Victorian Auditor-Generals Office (VAGO) report ‘Protecting Victoria’s Coastal Assets‘ recently tabled in the Victorian parliament reaffirms and highlights many of the issues around management of our coastal environments.

It highlights various problems: that existing oversight is poor; there is lack of resources; and a lack of skills and capacity in government agencies, especially in the environment department (DELWP).

The report concludes that:“overall natural and built assets on Victoria’s coastline are not being adequately protected”.

The report clearly recommends the need for adequate funding and further ‘timely action’ to really focus on our coast. It also clearly states that actions in the proposed new Marine and Coastal Bill (the legislation will be debated in the upper house as early as this week), will only go part of the way to addressing the longstanding issues.

It seems strange that after such a scathing report, particularly over the role of DELWP in coastal management, that the new legislative reforms essentially give the department greater control over producing coastal strategies and reduces community input and oversight. Further, there was no additional funding for coastal or marine work other than beach renourishment for Port Phillip Bay in the most recent budget.

While current systems have failed, it is clear that the current reforms are a missed opportunity to put Victoria ahead of the game.

VNPA will continue to push for improvements and strong marine and coastal policy from all parties at the next state election.

You can read more in-depth coverage of the Auditor-Generals report in the upcoming June Park Watch.