The beach at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Queensland, with lots of people on the sand and in the water

The beach at Burleigh Heads on the Gold Coast, Queensland.

Our resilient coastal Australia

The Wealth from Oceans Flagship is providing Australia's governments, industries and communities with the scientific knowledge, tools and approaches to make wise decisions about our uses of coastal environments.

  • 21 October 2009 | Updated 21 November 2013

Sea change

More than 85 per cent of Australians live within 50km of the coast, many in our capital cities that lie along the coast.

Some parts of Australia's coastline are already under threat from the often competing demands for the services our coastal assets provide.

Major challenges threatening some of our coastal assets and requiring careful management include:

  • rapid and continuing coastal population growth and urbanisation
  • catchment degradation
  • environmental impacts from industry
  • conflicting and incompatible resource use
  • climate change.

Through the Our Resilient Coastal Australia research theme, the Flagship will provide the:

  • systems to measure and predict the state of our coastal environments
  • science to enable marine planners to manage competing pressures that arise in major coastal developments
  • leading edge science and technologies to invigorate Australia’s ocean-based industries.

Integrated approach

The Flagship will achieve national impact by working with government, industry and the community to champion integrated catchment-coast-ocean solutions that balance sustainable resource use with ecosystem protection, to ensure Australia’s coasts are productive yet resilient to continuing and future pressures.

The Flagship's research aligns with a number of conventions and treaties that aim to protect coastal and marine assets.

Providing the research and development to meet these challenges will lead to:

  • significant improvement in the sustainable use of coastal resources
  • marine industries with a reduced ecological footprint
  • the capacity to better respond to future coastal environment challenges
  • the capacity to develop and grow ocean-based industries.

The Flagship is bringing together a diverse range of CSIRO’s capabilities to comprehensively address the significant challenges and opportunities now facing Australia’s coastal zone by:

  • providing better information on the structure, composition, dynamics and vulnerabilities of our coastal assets
  • quantifying links between catchment influences and the impacts on coastal environments
  • evaluating the cumulative effects of human impacts on coastal assets and distinguishing these from climate-related pressures and variability
  • delivering more effective methods for monitoring and assessing coastal environments
  • developing methods for valuing coastal environmental assets and derived ecosystem services
  • exploring opportunities for new ocean-based industries.


Flagship researchers work closely with management, conservation and other research agencies to achieve conservation and management gains supported by science.

Their work will significantly contribute to the national effort aimed at these priorities in the coastal and marine environment.

Nationally, the Flagship directly supports:

  • Australia's Oceans Policy
  • the National Cooperative Approach to Integrated Coastal Zone Management
  • the National Framework for Marine Research and Innovation.

The Flagship works closely with state governments to address regional development and deliver on regional strategies including the:

  • Great Barrier Reef Rescue Program
  • South East Queensland Healthy Waterways strategy
  • Western Australian regional priorities in Ningaloo Marine Park, the Kimberley and south-west Australia. 

Internationally, the Flagship's research aligns with a number of conventions and treaties that aim to protect coastal and marine assets including the:

  • Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage (the World Heritage Convention)
  • Convention on Biological Diversity
  • Convention for the Prevention of Marine Pollution from Land-Based Sources
  • Ramsar Convention on Wetlands
  • Convention on Migratory Species
  • regional bilateral migratory bird agreements: JAMBA (Japan-Australia Migratory Bird Agreement, CAMBA (China-Australia) and ROKAMBA (Republic of Korea-Australia).

Find out more about the Wealth from Oceans Flagship.