Getting coastal planning and management right has never been more important with the combined stresses of population growth, coastal development and resource exploitation and impact of climate change along the coastal areas. The multifaceted nature of the coastal resources and the human use of them present increasing challenges for coastal planners and managers during decision-making. The coast is a meeting zone between land and sea but institutions managing human use of these coastal zones are often fragmented. Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) has been considered a standard approach for coastal planning and governance worldwide. The concept of ICZM is based on the premise that its application would overcome the fragmentation of both sectoral approaches to planning across different levels of governments. However, achieving ICZM goals is often highly problematic because of the lack of policy clarity and political will, poor coordination among stakeholders and the diverse regulatory regimes that exist in coastal areas. Queensland’s coastal planning regime is going through a transition in a changing political era. Incorporation of climate change in the 2012 Queensland Coastal Plan (QCP) created an additional layer of complexity for land use planning and implementation that also needed direction. Using South East Queensland (SEQ) as a case study, this research examines the transition in Queensland’s coastal governance system focusing particularly on land use planning in the coastal zone and evaluates its performance against a set of internationally derived ICZM governance criteria. The research methods used in this study are document analysis and semi-structured interviews. Analysis of relevant legislation, plans and policies reveal the strengths and weaknesses of available coastal planning instruments. Key actors involved in the decision-making process expressed their views based on their experience, contributions and responsibilities in Queensland’s coastal planning system.
Submitted in the fulfilment of the requirements of the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, University of the Sunshine Coast, 2014.