Byron Bay to host councils summit

Byron Bay will host a national conference of Australia’s coastal councils in March next year to consider the complex issues facing coastal communities, including sea level rise, the legal implications of climate change and ageing populations.

Chair of the National Sea Change Taskforce, Barry Sammels, said Byron Bay had been selected to host the event because of its relevance in terms of coastal hazards, development pressures and issues associated with climate change impacts.

Mr Sammels said in addition to expert presentations, delegates would have the opportunity of studying the issues first-hand in a local field tour.

He said delegates also would have the opportunity to make input into development of a coastal policy agenda for the next Federal election, which would help to achieve the sustainability of the Australian coastal zone and its communities.

Byron Mayor Cr Jan Barham said the conference would provide a key focus on the two major long-term issues facing Australia – ageing populations and climate change.

Cr Barham said Federal Treasurer Wayne Swan had recently identified these as the two most daunting challenges facing the nation, and coastal communities were at the forefront of having to deal with them.

She said Member for Richmond and the Federal Minister for Ageing, Justine Elliot, would be presenting a keynote address to delegates on the government’s policy agenda to address the needs of ageing communities.

“The conference will also consider the Rudd Government’s response to the George Report, Managing our Coastal Zone in a Changing Climate and will include detailed discussion on the Federal Government’s recently released report – Climate Change Risks to Australia’s Coasts,” she said.

The conference also will include the inaugural general meeting of the Australian Coastal Alliance, which is being formed to provide an effective interface between coastal stakeholders and coastal research providers.

Conference details are available at www.seachangetaskforce.org.au

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