Coastal landscapes are dynamic, experiencing constant, and often rapid change. Erosion and storm tide events are natural processes that shape the coast over long timeframes. However, these events become coastal hazards when they impact on our communities.

Local governments in Queensland are taking a strategic approach to proactively manage the risk of coastal hazards, both now and into the future (to 2100). This process is intended to enable councils to better understand and prepare for potential risk to their communities, environment, cultural values, infrastructure, liveability and services, arising to due coastal hazards, and inform the development of appropriate systems to help avoid, manage and mitigate the impact of hazardous events.


Alluvium is a leading provider of the Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy (CHAS) work being delivered under the QCoast2100 program in Queensland.  We aim to set a new standard in leading practice coastal hazard assessments for the CHAS process, and to meaningfully engage stakeholders and the broader community in the process.

Project overview and outcomes

The Queensland Government, in partnership with the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ), is investing over $12M of funds to help coastal Councils and their communities plan and prepare for storm tide, coastal erosion and rising sea levels resulting from climate change.

The coastal hazard adaptation strategy (CHAS) is a process designed to assess the risk from the projected effects of climate change over the medium to long term; propose adaptation measures to mitigate these impacts; and establish an implementation program for the mitigation measures. A CHAS is the product of a series of studies that seek to:

  • Identify coastal hazard areas.
  • Understand vulnerabilities and risks to a range of assets.
  • Engage with the community to understand their preferred approach to adaptation.
  • Determine the costs, priorities and timeframes for their implementation.

This process provides each coastal Council with a long-term strategy for the future management of their coastal areas. The development of the strategy has a strong focus on understanding the needs of stakeholders and communities. It integrates technical assessments that incorporate increasing sea-levels and changing climate, robust economic assessment, and flexible and adaptable management and engineering options, to help increase the resilience of their coastal areas.

Our team has been supporting six Councils, including Douglas Shire Council who are now the first to complete their draft and final strategy and all supporting technical papers and communications and engagement activities and material for Phases 1 – 8.

We are also currently assisting Sunshine Coast Council (Phases 3 – 8), Burdekin Shire Council (Phases 1 – 8), Brisbane City Council for West Moreton Island (Phases 3 – 6), Gladstone Regional Council (Phases 1 & 2) and Gympie Regional Council (Phases 5 – 8).

Our team supporting Councils in their CHAS work include Alluvium, Jeremy Benn Pacific and Natural Capital Economics.

Our approach

Leading practice technical assessments: We ensure the latest research and best practice approaches to coastal hazard and risk assessments are the foundation of each project. This includes multiple planning horizons and event probabilities for erosion and storm tide hazard mapping, tailored risk assessments and detailed socio-economic assessments on adaptation options.

Knowledge sharing: The process of sharing knowledge on coastal risks to communities, stakeholders and businesses already living and working in the area critical to the success of the CHAS process. We use innovative and engaging approaches to help demonstrate coastal processes and mitigation options to the community.

Institutional capacity and governmental coordination: Building internal capacity is a key challenge and we work in a manner which allows Council staff and other stakeholders to gain additional knowledge on the coastal hazards within their LGA, and build partnerships within their council and their community.

Focus on funding and shifting from reconstruction to resilience: An interesting challenge has been getting councils and authorities to consider how past planning decisions can be taken forward and amended. The aim is to shift thinking, processes and decision-making from reactive reconstruction approaches in asset reinstatement, to more proactive management, with a greater focus on adapting and increasing resilience.

Coordination of disciplines and governance across stakeholders: We run a CHAS process which is highly inclusive of key stakeholders and we work hard to include traditional owners, residents, industry, the tourism sector, community groups, and utility owners. We bring all parties together and develop collaborative working arrangements from the start.

Environmental, cultural and social considerations: Many coastal hazard assessment type projects are focused on built assets. We think that intangible assets and values, such as ecosystems of estuaries and coastal wetlands, sites of cultural sensitivity and social implications, are all highly important considerations in understanding coastal hazard vulnerability. We always provide additional effort associated with assessment on the valuation of these intangible assets as part of our economic assessment work to create the full picture.

For more information:

Coastal science and engineering: Elisa Zavadil 0413 387 467

Coastal economics:  Jim Binney: 0407 032 552