Introducing the GWI Seminar Series
The Hon. Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Planning, discusses the future of NSW coastlines
The Hon. Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Planning, launched the GWI seminar series on Monday 17 October with a presentation focussing on coastal management reforms, followed by a Q&A session with the audience.
In his address at the UNSW Kensington Campus, Minister Stokes discussed the ongoing challenges of sustainably managing eroding coastal zones and their competing uses, and emphasised the importance of focusing not just on finding solutions to existing issues, but planning carefully to avoid similar mistakes in future.
Pragmatically, the best thing we can do is manage the legacy challenges left to us by previous generations, but also to learn from those situations and to learn not to do those same things again
The Hon. Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Planning
"Pragmatically, the best thing we can do is manage the legacy challenges left to us by previous generations, but also to learn from those situations and to learn not to do those same things again," said Minister Stokes.
"So that is why in terms of re-writing our state's coastal laws, we have sought to say we will manage our legacy issues, but in relation to future subdivision, future patterns of development, future allocation of property rights in land, we will have a much more precautionary approach in relation to coastal hazards like erosion, cliff instability and coastal inundation..."
The state government is currently working to deliver a new framework to better equip coastal communities to respond to these challenges, which have been affecting properties, ecosystems and communities in NSW since as early as the 1940s.
When asked by Professor Emma Johnston whether the State has enough data to enable decision making that incorporates aquatic biodiversity considerations, Minister Stokes encouraged researchers to access the $7 million recently made available by the Government for applied research, particularly in coastal management, to help inform and support rigorous decision-making.
Minister Stokes recognised the contribution of UNSW in regards to coastal management, and the significance of what the multi-disciplinary Global Water Institute has to offer.
"The work you do can be applied to help communities understand the challenges that we share, but can also help to empower political leaders to better explain to communities what those problems are, and how we might best go about resolving them," he said.
The new GWI Seminar Series has been established to give GWI members a regular opportunity to hear from a wide range of external water experts. Seminars are held on a monthly basis, connecting the GWI community on campus and providing opportunities to network with colleagues and partners across government and industry.
The next GWI seminar, to be held in late November, will be given by Dr Diana Day, recent UNSW Adjunct Professor appointee.