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Sea Change Threatened by Coastal Development

By Ian Lowe

Coastal communities are battling to retain their natural assets in the face of increasing tourism and residential developments.

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A Victorian community group has come up with an innovative scheme to draw attention to the impact of population growth on endangered species. The Surf Coast Energy Group held a forum on the region’s future in Torquay during the State election campaign. I was one of the invited speakers, along with Melbourne University climate scientist Prof David Karoly and Victorian botanist Geoff Carr. The purpose of the forum was to focus discussion on planning issues that will determine the future of the Surf Coast region.

Other coastal communities that depend on tourism, like Noosa and Port Douglas in Queensland, have decided to limit residential development and cap tourist numbers to protect the long-term appeal of their natural assets. Some people in the Torquay–Anglesea corridor would like to see a similar approach.

To make local people aware of the impact of population growth on endangered wildlife, comedian Rod Quantock was at the forum to chair proceedings and launch a series of Endangered Species condoms. Each pack featured one of six local threatened species: the barking owl, the growling grass frog, the southern brown bandicoot, the Pacific gull, the hooded plover and the rufus bristle bird. It is a clever way to draw attention to an important message.

The principal causes of species loss are destruction of habitat and introduced species, both of which...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.