Marine and Coastal Environments


    The Greens believe:

    1. There is an urgent need for ecologically sustainable management of South Australia's waters because our marine environment is under increased pressure from human activities, particularly the impacts of the climate crisis.

    2. The coordinated management and protection of the coastal zone, including estuarine, wetland and marine environments, is needed to encourage and promote orderly and balanced utilisation and conservation of the coastal region and its natural and man-made assets.

    3. The management of the South Australian coastal zone should be underpinned by a State Coastal Action Plan aligned with a National Coastal Action Plan that takes into account the physical, ecological, cultural, economic, spiritual, and heritage value of the coast.

    4. The recognition and involvement of First Nation Australians in coastal zone planning and management including estuary and wetland management and protection is essential.

    5. All development and policy decisions for the South Australian coast should be based on the principles of ecologically sustainable development, including the precautionary principle, and deliver high quality outcomes for the natural and human modified environments.

    6. The recognition and involvement of the public in coastal zone planning and management including estuary and wetland management and protection is essential.

    7. The impact of sea-level rise and other consequences of the climate crisis, such as increased storm frequency and intensity, must be recognised and incorporated into all decisions relating to coastal zone management.

    8. The loss of seagrass through natural and human actions is a contributor to the climate crisis through the loss of carbon-capture ability.

    9. The threats posed to coastal ecosystems by waste and discharges of all kinds, including industrial, agricultural and domestic land uses and practices, are extremely serious and threaten the integrity of coastal ecosystems.

    10. In Metropolitan Adelaide, the natural northward movement of sand results in erosion on southern beaches and a build-up of sand on northern beaches.  Maintaining sandy beaches along the coast requires interventions, which should be ecologically and socially sensitive.

    11. Dredging the sea floor can cause immense environmental harm and is too often a first resort to solve issues in relation to water flow or water depth.  Very often there are more sustainable alternatives that should be explored first.

    12. The Great Australian Bight is a world biodiversity hotspot and deserving of World Heritage Protection.

    The Greens will:

    1. Prohibit exploration and drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight.

    2. Support an application for World Heritage Listing for the Great Australian Bight.

    3. Eliminate effluent discharges to the marine environment by recycling all wastewater and manage drainage systems and catchments to minimise the entry of nutrient and non-nutrient pollutants into waterways.

    4. Develop a comprehensive threat abatement plan that details measures to prevent and mitigate the impact of marine plastics and other debris on marine life.

    5. Minimise agricultural run-off by supporting regenerative agricultural practices, water re-use, maintenance of healthy vegetation around waterways and reduction in agricultural chemical use.

    6. Increase public participation, through volunteer groups, school monitoring and other community-based programs, in coastal zone planning and the management and protection of coastal zones, estuaries and wetlands.

    7. Reduce the amount of plastic going into our oceans by expanding the prohibition on the sale and supply of single-use plastics.

    8. Work with the aquaculture industry, stakeholders and communities to reduce the environmental impact and improve the environmental sustainability of aquaculture.

    9. Expand and extend South Australia’s Marine Parks and Marine Sanctuary Zones.

    10. Support sand-management and beach replenishment programs based on the best available science and incorporating genuine community engagement.

    11. Ensure that in all situations, alternatives to dredging are explored to minimise the adverse impacts of disturbance to the sea floor.

    12. Support and expand seagrass restoration.

    13. Investigate alternative options for managing natural northward movement of sand from southern beaches to reduce need for expensive interventions and ensure that sand used for replenishment is of appropriate size and quality.

    14. Enact comprehensive systems to determine the viability of aquaculture premises as well as enforce higher standards for containment, discharge and production yield compared to feed requirements.

    15. Ensure the inclusion of climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies in all coastal management and development policies.

    16. Establish and resource a comprehensive Marine and Coastal Authority, to provide coordinated oversight for coastal and marine protection in South Australia, including:

               - ongoing public participation and stakeholder engagement;
               - enforcement of strict land-use and marine parks zoning; and
               - development and implementation of an appropriate shared-responsibility framework for the ongoing maintenance and protection of our marine and  coastal regions.

    17. Ensure that coastal lands in public ownership are maintained as public assets and managed effectively through co-operative arrangements under publicly agreed plans of management.

    18. Ensure that any development in coastal cities, towns and villages be underpinned by Ecologically Sustainable Development principles and takes into full account sea-level rise predictions and other factors associated with the climate crisis.

    19. Protect the visual amenity of the South Australian coast, including by prohibiting the building of high-rise and other inappropriate development adjacent to the shoreline.

    20. Require local councils and the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure to incorporate Water Sensitive Urban Design principles in all relevant planning instruments.

    (Marine and Coastal Environments Policy as amended by The Greens SA Policy and Campaigns Council September 2020)