HON ALISON XAMON (North Metropolitan) [10.01 pm]: I want to make some comments about an issue that has been mentioned in the media a fair bit lately—the erosion of our coastlines. This is particularly an issue for me, being a member for North Metropolitan Region, because a number of beaches in my region are under particular risk. I want to speak about an element of this discussion that keeps getting overlooked; that is, what will happen with our Bush Forever sites in coastal areas, particularly along the north metropolitan coastline? We are lucky to have a planning system such as Bush Forever in Western Australia and throughout the metropolitan area. It took a long time to include it in our planning policies and the metropolitan region scheme. As it is, I do not think that the protections we apply to our Bush Forever sites are anywhere near as strong as they need to be, and we continue to see our sites underfunded both in acquisition and ongoing management. Unfortunately, our Bush Forever sites are also seen as conveniently empty areas for potential roads, or perhaps a marina.

Nevertheless, a number of important Bush Forever sites in the metropolitan area have some decent protection. Unfortunately, the same sites are uniquely under threat from the anticipated impact of coastal erosion. In north metro, the bulk of the dune system north of Hillarys Boat Harbour is one of three Bush Forever sites that are all part of what is known as the Quindalup dune system, one of the rarest landforms in the metropolitan area. It exists in a fringe, along the shoreline, and largely has not been built on, mostly due to the fact that the dunes themselves are unstable, and also, sensibly, to ensure that we protect from damage those who have already invested in property and infrastructure. The recent coastal erosion hotspots report showed that the north metro region is facing some fairly immediate challenges, particularly at Port Beach—members may be aware of the problems happening there—but also at Floreat Beach, Mettams Pool, Watermans Bay Beach, the Marmion marine club seawall, Quinns Beach and the Two Rocks northern coast. It is a significant part of our northern metropolitan coastline. The focus of this report was on infrastructure and private property, but we see in the mapping of coastal hazards that our Bush Forever sites will also be at risk.

The City of Joondalup has also produced some pretty outstanding, but, frankly, very concerning maps of what the likely coastal erosion threats to the shoreline in the city will look like. Some sections are protected by a rocky shelf, but large sections, unfortunately, are not. The maps show that the likely risk of erosion over the next 45 years will look at wiping out a huge portion of Bush Forever sites in Burns Beach. Bush Forever site 325 will pretty much be gone from Mullaloo Beach all the way down to Hillarys Boat Harbour. We can see that by 2115 almost nothing will be left in these sections. The publicly available documents from the City of Wanneroo refer to a much larger scale but, unfortunately, the story remains the same. We are talking again about huge chunks of Bush Forever site 397 being simply gone.

It is important to note that these are risks rather than guaranteed predictions, but it tells us that we need to plan for this in the future. To some extent we are, but, once again, I am concerned that the Bush Forever sites are at risk of being ignored in these preparations. The land element of the Ocean Reef marina is proposed to be built on Bush Forever site 325 and, as I have already mentioned, a substantial portion of this is already at risk due to coastal erosion. Even though the site of the Ocean Reef marina is one of the few areas of Bush Forever land that is protected from erosion by a rocky shelf, it is nevertheless looking to have a significant portion taken for the marina. It is a much bigger portion than people may realise. The impact of coastal erosion on this site and all our coastal Bush Forever sites needs to be properly and thoroughly considered in the context of a future in which we already know the Quindalup dunes in the metropolitan area have been eroded into the sea. We need to be really mindful of this. Of course, I have to note that when we are looking at the issues of coastal erosion, we have to look at them in the context of climate change. The Climate Council report focused on the impacts on WA of climate change specifically and called out the frequency of coastal flooding and the risks of beach erosion as a serious threat. I, frankly, remain eternally disappointed that on the one hand, people recognise and are very concerned about potentially fundamental changes to the way our lifestyles are structured around the beach and we are prepared to spend millions of dollars to move piles of sand around to protect the lifestyle elements that many of us treasure and consider an important part of our lives, but on the other hand, we are still failing to address the fundamental causes of climate change.

I am obviously talking about the degree of carbon pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is an ongoing emergency. I am very comfortable using that language because I think that is exactly what it is and the risks to our way of life are many and far reaching. I notice that my colleague Hon Tim Clifford asked a question today of the Premier about what would happen specifically with the intersection between coastal erosion and climate change and got a very unimpressive answer. It is quite clear that in talking about how we will address the fundamentals that are causing some very, very serious risks for us, we will have to lift our game; we have a lot of work to do. I wanted to at least say this because a lot of people are talking about losing the beaches and about the threat to property. We need to recognise that we also have significant natural heritage that is under threat, and I think that is a huge issue.


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