ENTIRE Southern Australian Coastline, Inc. NSW, VIC, TAS, SA and WA
THREATS: OFFSHORE DRILLING, ECOSYSTEM THREATS, POLLUTED WATER
The Great Australian Bight is no place for risky deepwater drilling. Should an oil spill occur, the environmental and economic consequences would be dire, widespread and catastrophic! Most people will probably remember images of BP’s Deepwater Horizon explosion in the US. It was an environmental disaster, spewing millions of litres of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The proposed Equinor drill in the Bight is twice as deep as Deepwater, and in some of the most wild and treacherous waters in the world, making it extra risky.
Equinors own report, shows that an oil spill in the Bight would stretch as far as from Western Australia through to NSW beaches and completely encircle Tasmania. This is an unnecessary and unacceptable risk to our entire southern Australian coastline. To put our coastal communities, fisheries, all sea creatures and environments in danger, from experimental oil drilling…. It’s simply not worth the risk!
The National Offshore Petroleum Safety and Environmental Management Authority (NOPSEMA) was due to announce on Equinor’s application to drill in the Great Australian Bight, on November 14 2019. However, on November 8th, NOPSEMA issued a notice to Equinor requiring them to modify and resubmit their environment plan for proposed drilling in the Great Australian Bight. Equinor had 21 days to respond to NOPSEMA’s request to modify and resubmit its environment plan. They did.
On 18/12/2019 NOPSEMA released a media statement saying it has accepted Equinor’s environment plan for exploratory petroleum drilling in the Great Australian Bight, which represents the second of four approvals required before activity can commence.
Yet after 14 months of protests involving almost 100 coastal communities, in excess of 50,000 people actively paddling out in protest, over 31,000 submissions against; and more than 20 local councils officially opposed to drilling in the bight. NOPSEMA and EQUINOR seem to have completely ignored the Australian peoples concerns, the risks to our marine environment, indigenous cultural sites, coastal ecologies and communities. The community consultation by Equinor has been a complete sham as coastal communities who risk getting their beaches covered in black oil sludge have been ignored.
Equinor said when they first came to Australia that they would not proceed if they didn’t have the support of the Australian public, they still persist. More ACTION coming in 2020 so keep an eye out for this.
THE FARM – Shellharbour NSW
THREATS: Developments; Accessibility / Overcrowding
Disrupted environmental visual amenity to the farm NSR surfing
The Killalea State Park is a spectacular coastal Crown land reserve that is dedicated to public recreation amidst the increasing hustle and bustle of the rapidly growing Shellharbour City LGA... available for surfing, fishing, picnics, bushwalking, outdoor recreation activities and camping. Killalea State Park has two extremely popular and iconic surf beaches - Killalea Beach or 'The Farm' and Minnamurra Beach known as 'Mystics'. In 2007 the Save Killalea Alliance was formed to fight a $35 million development that would have seen 106 accommodation lodges built on the site the Killalea state park. In 2009, the two Surf-beaches inside Killalea State Park Reserve were dedicated National Surfing Reserve status with the vision of countering thoughtless development and saving these unique surf breaks and the surf culture that has been built around them due to the consistent wave quality and majestic natural environment for future generations. “We like it as it is; beautiful, unspoiled and affordable.”
In 2016, The NSW Government announced the NSW Crown Holiday Parks Trust would take over management of Killalea State Park in early 2017, replacing the local Killalea State Park Community Trust. Kiama MP Gareth Ward said that was the right time to make a transition to “full-time, professional management”
Forward to Friday 18th October 2019. Mr Ward then announced the NSW Government had awarded a $6.5 million grant to upgrade the Killalea reserve park, run by the Reflections Holiday Parks group which will also invest $4.4 million into the project. As well as 15 luxury eco-cabins, a 200-seat function centre, commercial kitchen, reception/shop and restaurant/cafe. The redevelopment would include 53 fully-serviced campsites, a new playground, walking trails and outdoor recreational equipment.
“Without extensive community consultation and an adherence to Crown, Killalea and National Surfing Reserve ethos along with the intention to ultimately benefit the greater good, the current development proposal is to be rejected” Chris Homer – Chair, Killalea National Surfing Reserve Committee / Surfrider SouthCoast Representative.
Surfrider Foundation objects to the use of this public space and reserve to be developed, and with a massive donation of public funds no less. A grant for what appears to be a commercial revenue raising enterprise?.. Changes to the landscape with a function centre and increased flow of traffic, new tourism and commercial interest will change the overall experience, especially the surfing and natural experiences, of a place supposed to be safeguarded by the reserves that are in place.
We can make it fail once more. Please sign and share the petition amongst like minded Illawarra locals and friends: http://chng.it/5PpqzSYJyq Alternatively, email MP Gareth Ward yourself to voice your displeasure at email@example.com
YAMBA - NSW
THREATS: Ecosystem Threats; Polluted Water
Disrupted environmental visual amenity to the farm NSR surfing
Yamba and the surrounding waterways and coastlines including Iluka and Angourie (a national surfing reserve) are an iconic stretch of coastline of pumping waves that are under threat from proposed dam and mining activities surrounding the Clarence River. There are many exploratory licences currently in place looking for minerals in the area and granted to function they would impose unacceptable risks to the health of local waterways. An ecological and economical disaster awaits should there be toxic run off pollution and also changes to natural water flow. Surfers, paddlers, fishermen/women, beach and ocean enthusiasts alike would feel and see the impacts firsthand.
"As surfers we are strongly connected to the areas where our rivers meet the sea. The Clarence River is under threat, as is the playground of world class waves at the end of it. Toxic copper mines do not belong near rivers and precious water sources and in these times of extreme drought, healthy water should be our highest priority. I’m proud to live in the Northern Rivers amongst such great communities. There is so much power in joining together to look after the things we love.” Dan Ross
Surfrider Foundation is rallying support behind the local surfers, community and Clarence Catchment Alliance to help protect and conserve this epic coastline. There is an old school petition that you can fill out as the initial call to action. 4,000 of the 10,000 signatures needed have been scribed so far, for the local MP to table it at parliament. It’s time to stand up for the mighty Clarence and the awesome coastline surrounding. Here’s the link to the petition: https://imgur.com/JeB5hid?fbclid=IwAR1xekeE-6eWqXXYZ52zhOGlR-YM8k_HnhhvCdJJjq6QDvyBefsrJPrxhk8 As future action is required, we will be there on the beach, online and in the halls of ‘authority’ to stand up for the coast. Check out this great video featuring Hayley Talbot, Dan Ross & Dave Rasta: https://vimeo.com/366183369
"We are burning right now (tragic NSW fires Nov 2019). Our valley is on fire and our homes and biodiversity are going up in smoke with no end in sight. The ridge line in the upper Clarence Catchment dubbed "Cobalt Ridge" due to its ore grades is currently alight. As we have always said, this is no place for open cut mining activity. There is no safe way to mine in the remote Clarence catchment. We are witnessing the fruition of the risks right now. If the mine was operational it would be burning. There is no way to prevent toxic tailings leaching into our river and ocean ecosystems on ridge lines so steeply angled into the river and its tributaries. Fires can't read the "reviews of environmental factors" (required to obtain a Production Licence) and they certainly don't care to follow them. Systems fail. We will not roll the dice on our home for the greed of a small few." Hayley Talbot.
GOOLAWAH – Crescent Head, NSW
(Backbeaches from Raceourse to Pt Plomer)
THREATS: Developments; Accessibility / Overcrowding
In January 2019, 300+ locals marched along Point Plomer Rd in protest of the decision made by Kempsey Shire Council, without consultation, to tar the remaining sections of unsealed road. The Kempsey Council plan to tar the remaining 6.2kms of dirt road leading to iconic and relatively secluded back beaches. Without community or indigenous consultation, with haste to get a grant from NSW government to complete it citing road safety concerns and maintenance costs. Tarring of the road was rejected in 2003 when the region’s rich heritage and significant Aboriginal sites were identified. Forward to 2019 where the proposal is back again, but local residents and Dunghutti elders say council has made the decision to tar with no consultation. Promises to respect local indigenous wishes seem to be forgotten after 16years. The issues for surfers relate to changing the entire surfing experience. Once this road is tarred there will no doubt be a large increase in visitors to this coast as access is made ‘easy’. There is already the situation where there is often over 100+ surfers at Crescent point, but you can then jump in your car and head down the country road and surf with a few of your mates. This is why Surfrider Foundation are stepping up to voice our concerns and support the community of Crescent Head. It’s obvious just how special a stretch of surfable coast this is in most conditions, and particularly the role of the dirt road in limiting the number of people surfing and using the area. It limits users to those that have the means and/or patience to deal with the corrugations and dust. We need to keep special places like this. There will be an increase in environmental impacts associated with the increased visitation, traffic and waste. As already there are periods of the year where the place is full. An increase in visitor numbers will only place more pressure on this biodiversity hot spot, this will particularly be the case with day visitors. Resealing the road will take away the very element that is appealing. Plus, will sealing the road, open opportunities up for further development?… well we’ve seen this happen in many other parts of the country.
Surfrider stands united with those opposed to sealing Plomer Rd and keeping the appeal of a mostly untouched environment for surfing and enjoying a magic part of our coastline. There is a march planned for December 29, 2019, heading from Crescent Head community hall to Big Hill, starting at 7:30am. Join us in demonstrating to Kempsey Council and all potential future developers that we must keep paradise as it is.
Martha Lavinia, King Is, TASMANIA
THREATS: POLLUTED WATER, VISUAL AMENITY & ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY
Martha Lavinia is a world class beach break on King Island in Bass Strait. Perfect A-frame waves are formed by swell wrapping around both sides of the island. Martha's has been voted one of the Top Surf breaks in Australia. The Tasmanian government earmarked potential grow zones for the Salmon Farming industry. The waters off King Island was one of those areas. Just around the corner from the world renowned Martha Lavinia surfbreak and adjacent to a State Reserve and international Ramsar site. Tassal has been granted a permit to undertake preliminary work with regard to establishing a salmon farm immediately east of Marthas (potentially 1 million fish in 22 sea pens). Tassal continues to monitor the conditions near Martha’s however no monitoring results have been reported for 2019.
Impacts of such a development include:
Potential impacts on the quality of the surfing waves due to structures within the farm impeding the strength and height of the swell. A salmon farm here would damage the iconic King Island brand which is reliant on a pristine environment particularly for its seafood, kelp harvesting, dairy & beef industries and tourism. Potential for the public to lose recreational access to coastal areas on the east side of the island. Pollution in the form of untreated waste (fish faeces) on the seabed which could wash up on the beaches. Risks to ecosystems, natural fisheries and kelp habitat due to waste and excess feed reducing dissolved oxygen level in the water. Disease and parasites from the salmon farm being introduced to the surrounding water. Acidity in the water may increase due to excess fish feed falling to the sea bed. Increase of marine debris from fish pen infrastructure, rope, pipe and nets. Seals may be attracted to the smorgasbord of fish which in turn could increase shark numbers. Risk to the vulnerable fairy tern and risk to other species that use the area such as the eastern curlew, black faced cormorant, white faced storm petrel, white bellied sea eagle, orange bellied parrot and long nosed fur seal. There is also a risk to the vulnerable humpback whale and endangered southern right whale which migrate through the permit area.
Surfrider Foundation’s online petition has surpassed 24,600 signatures. The local King Island petition has over 75% of the island community signed on. All petitions are to be presented to Parliament in 2020. The locals were also writing submissions to the Legislative Councils Inquiry into the fin fish industry.
Surfrider’s video ‘Save Martha Lavinia’ from our Feb 2018 trip can be viewed here:
https://vimeo.com/267774795. Patagonia's "Artifishal" and their new short doco "Saving Martha" was also screened nationally, based on the locals fight in July 2019.
Watch videos and read statements from the likes of Barton Lynch, Tom Carroll, Jamie O’Brien, Ross Clarke-Jones, Brendan Margieson, Derek Hynd, Sunny Garcia, Andrew Kidman, Pancho Sullivan, Toby Martin, Mikey Brennan, Stuart Gibson, Sean Davey and Nick Carroll. It’s quite clear that fish farms are "NOT WELCOME" on King Island! To support Surfrider in protecting this wave please follow our dedicated Save Martha Lavinia Beach facebook page to keep up to date on all events. Please also sign this Surfrider https://www.change.org/p/tasmanian-house-of-assembly-save-martha-lavinia-beach
Stockton Beach, NSW
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS
Stockton is a peninsula across the Hunter River, north of Newcastle. The southern end of Stockton Beach has long been a popular surfing destination, but in recent years progressive loss of sand, both from the beach and the near shore area, has had a dramatic impact on surf quality. Historically, surfers from more south facing beaches would come to Stockton to surf in southerly winds and large south swells, but loss of near shore sandbanks has meant that for a majority of the year the waves are reduced to a shore-dump.
Like any other exposed beach, Stockton Beach has suffered through many cycles of erosion and rebuilding, but since the development of the Port of Newcastle, which begun in 1818 with the Macquarie Pier, the sand supply into Stockton has been progressively cut off. Historically Stockton Beach recedes by more than 1m, and loses between 20,000 and 50,000m3 of sand annually. This figure represents an historical average, but recently the recession and sand loss have accelerated significantly. According to an Umwelt Consulting Report for the Newcastle Council (Shifting Sands of Stockton Beach, 2002) estimates put the figure between 1988 and 2000 at 5-6 times this rate.
The land at the northern end of the Mitchell St seawall has receded by more than 5m. This recent erosion has: begun uncovering garbage from a heritage council dump; the Childcare Centre has been demolished as it was at an immediate risk of falling into the ocean; taken away all sandy beach in front of the Mitchell St Seawall; uncovered World War 2 tank traps and a long since forgotten mine shaft which now represent a significant hazard for surfers; washed away the Surf Club access to the beach and rendered about 2km or beach essentially inaccessible to the public. Studies suggest that if nothing is done to put a stop to the erosion, the recession will continue until it reaches the river, making Stockton an island.
Since 2002 there have been at least 5 studies which look directly at the erosion of Stockton Beach. These reports all accept that the erosion of Stockton Beach is a direct result of the development and maintaining of the shipping channel into the Port of Newcastle. The erosion can be seen to be a man-made problem related to harbour construction. The erosion and recession has been demonstrated to be progressive rather than cyclic. This means that without intervention, the situation will continue to grow worse.
There have been multiple potential solutions offered to repair the damage to Stockton Beach. All of these solutions call for a large capital nourishment campaign in order to rebuild some of what has been lost. The sand requirement is in the vicinity if 500,000m3. This sand will likely come from a local source, be it offshore, terrestrial or estuarine in origin. The second stage of the solution will likely be some form of infrastructure with the goal of keeping the sand on the beach. Some of the potential solutions include: Offshore Rockwalls; Artificial Reefs; Groins; Sand Bypassing; and Artificial Headland.
For more information, or to find out how you can help, see the SAVE STOCKTON BEACH Facebook page.
South Newcastle, NSW
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS
South Newcastle beach was under threat from plans to build a skate park on the beach! Surfrider Foundation was approached by South Newcastle boardriders to help fight the preposterous proposal to place more than 800M3 on concrete in the coastal erosion/impact zone. Surfrider immediately enlisted ‘Southie’ as an endangered wave. We engaged our affiliates of Coastal Geomorphologists, engineers and the coastal management & surfing fraternities, to weigh in on the issue and together with the local surfers and rate payers we helped the City of Newcastle reconsider their design. They are currently re drafting plans to be released “within the next few months”. However, before we can endorse the project and remove from the Endangered Waves list, our team will have to see and study the engineering drawings.
The new indicative design can be viewed here:
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS, ACCESSIBILITY & OVERCROWDING, VISUAL AMENITY, ECO SYSTEM THREATS
Yaroomba is a small beachfront coastal community around 2 km south of Coolum Beach on the Sunshine Coast. A long beach leads from Point Arkwright south to the Maroochy River, 15 kms away. A serious of reefs refract swell into several punchy beach break peaks and a grinding right back into the point. An outside set of reefs also produce long lefts on the right day. Being a back beach Yaroomba is a summer saviour being clean in a northerly.
Yaroomba is the subject of a massive urban development on land just down from the point, with proposals of a 7 storey hotel with an added eight hundred residential units on site. Stage one of the proposal allows for a seven story beachfront hotel block with the next four stages varying in height from five to seven story's. The development would double the population of the area in one go. The Japanese developer Sekesui House was knocked back by council in a previous similar development in 2015. Since then following a massive promotion campaign by Sekesui and despite going completely against the 2014 town plan in relation to height and population density and a record of nearly 9300 written objections council has just given approval to the development by a 6 to 5 council vote.
The development will sit directly between scenic Mt Coolum and the ocean, from Pt Arwright and obviously the surfers view of the undeveloped area will all be impeded. With up to 600 extra car movements an hour and the population density going from 4.4 per hectare to nearly 48 per hectare. The local community is horrified by the development. With the added worry that, this stretch of beach is one of the last nesting spots on the Sunshine Coast for endangered turtles. The nesting site will be heavily impacted by the lights from the 7 story towers. With record nestings in the last couple of years on this stretch of beach, the fact turtles will not lay with high ambient light leaves significant concerns about the future of the turtle population.
With the highly controversial issue to be soon signed off by the developer several local residents groups are have taken the case to the Planning and Environment Court. With a long and expensive court case unfolding the local groups are united under Sunshine Coast Development Watch banner in the case.
For more information and to take action now head to www.saveyaroomba.com
Bells Beach, Surf Coast, VIC
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS, ACCESSIBILITY, OVERCROWDING
Photo courtesy of Darren Noyes-Brown Photography
Bells Beach is the world's first "Surfing Recreation Reserve" and enjoys global iconic status due to the majestic coastal beauty, ancient indigenous resonance and world class waves that feather on the horizon in corduroy lines and pump through the famous Bells Bowl.
On 3 November 1971 Bells was officially named "Bells Beach Surfing Recreation Reserve" to clearly define "recreational surfing" as the priority activity in the Reserve. Recreational surfing continues to be the primary activity at Bells and recreational surfers are far and away the most frequent users of the Reserve. The environmental values and indigenous heritage also continue to illuminate the heart and soul of Bells Beach and surrounds.
Unfortunately Bells Beach is on the endangered waves list due to serious threat from:
- Inappropriate forms of commercial tourism that is costly and fails to capture trade for local business
- Further development of infrastructure to accommodate commercial tourism and unsustainable levels of visitation within Bells Reserve
- Growing pressure for larger and more frequent events, along with permanent event infrastructure and clearing of natural vegetation to accommodate events within Bells Reserve
- Clearing of natural vegetation and installation of permanent infrastructure for irregular user groups
- “Rural Conservation Zone” amendments that now allow significant commercial development throughout the hinterland immediately surrounding Bells Reserve
- Massive local population growth without clear vision or management strategies in place
In addition, natural environmental processes exacerbated by climate change are already having a graphic impact on Bells Beach, as shown in the short video produced by the local Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast Branch which can be viewed here.
Surfrider Foundation Surf Coast Branch, Surfers Appreciating Natural Environment (SANE – the core environmental stewards of Bells Reserve since the 1980s – www.sanesurfers.org), Bells Beach Preservation Society (BBPS – www.savebellsbeach.com), and a number of concerned locals have been collaborating on a vision to create the Bells Beach Surf Sanctuary. The vision is being formed in consultation with the recognised Traditional Owners of Bells and in essence aims to:
Respect, protect and cultivate the environmental values, indigenous heritage and recreational surfing experience of Bells Beach now and for all future generations.
Achieving our vision will also serve to optimise the environmental, cultural, social, recreational and economic values of Bells and surrounds.
Double Island Point, QLD
THREATS: OVERCROWDING, ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY, POLLUTED WATER, VISUAL AMENITY
Double Island Point and the surrounding waves and beaches are under peak pressure from overuse. Over the last few decades and noticeably in the recent years, increasing recreational interest and ease of access with a heavily populated S/E QLD and more people owning 4x4's, has led to serious pressure and concerns about environmental damage & public health. Double Island is situated in between Noosa and Fraser Island, in the Cooloola Recreation Area of The Great Sandy National Park accessed only by 4x4.
With the influx of campers, tourists, day users and particularly over the peak periods, Double Island can see thousands of people driving the beaches and camping with no camp zone allocations or seasonal rotations, and no regulations or enforcement on camping toilets ("Campers should bring a portable toilet for hygiene reasons." - www.npsr.qld.gov.au).
On the busiest days, the point on both sides of the headland is reminiscent of a busy festival carpark rather than a pristine national park, and crew need to vie for position on the beach and in the water. Tonnes of rubbish is left all over the beaches and dunes, in addition to tide after tide of marine debris washing ashore. There are literally hundreds of makeshift toilets and holes behind the fore-dunes left to rot, and during heavy events, this all flushes out through the beach camp zone and onto the beach. The dunes are also in peril from careless, blatant and/or ignorant 4WDriving and camping all over them, then more recently, the fortifying pandanus are dying off due to the leaf hopper bug eating the trees away.
Surfrider Foundation implores the QLD Government to finalise and release "The Great Sandy Region Draft Management Plan", for stakeholder review and public view, to help make the changes needed to better manage the national park and save this special place from further environmental degradation. The local rangers do an exceptional job but there is a lack of resource and infrastructure to support them, to manage these issues, regardless of the revenue that's generated from both recreational and commercial permits.
Surfrider Foundation Sunshine Coast has been hosting beach clean up/ educational/ camping weekend events along the entire region since 2009. Now consistently gets 200-300 people everytime, cleaning up tonnes of rubbish, and engaging with the public on the beach and through the media channels, addressing, highlighting and acting these issues.
For further information, contact the Sunshine Coast branch and follow them on facebook.
North Narrabeen, NSW
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS, POLLUTED WATER, VISUAL AMENITY
North Narrabeen is a famous break threatened by an oversized man-made sand dune that is locking up the sand and disrupting the banks that make for North Narrabeen's famous barrelling left and the Alley channel rights. The dune also restricts the lagoon from flushing during dry periods, closing the estuary entrance for extended periods and reducing lagoon and surf water quality.
Surfrider Foundation Northern Beaches Branch and the local community are working hard to engage with local Government to ensure the surf and beach amenity, water quality and coastal ecosystems are returned to their former condition and protected for future generations. Surfrider has been calling for a management regime for the dune by relocating sand to South Narrabeen where it is needed. A nearby sewage outfall adds to the problems associated with lagoon outflow into the surf zone.
The Other Side (TOS) / The Spit, QLD
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS, ACCESSIBILITY & ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY
Since 2005 a number of proposals for the development of a cruise ship terminal have threatened the iconic beach break, The Other Side (TOS), and surrounding coastal environments at The Spit and South Stradbroke Island on Queensland's Gold Coast. This unique wave is what it is thanks to an offshore canyon, channeling in swells across the delta of the Nerang River mouth where they peak up, before exploding onto an inner bar that is kept topped up by the seaway sand bypass. It it the combination of all of these factors that turn on the show that is TOS and make it a wave that has to be surfed.
In 2013-15 the Queensland’s State Government considered a proposal for the development of an Integrated Resort including a Casino and Cruise Ship Terminal on Wave break island directly adjacent to TOS. The proposal would involve significant dredging through the Nerang River Delta to allow access to mega cruise ships. In addition to the dredging the project involves a massive land reclamation project, the intensification of development on coastal public land and restrictions on access to TOS from the Spit during cruise ship operations.
For TOS surfers the development of an integrated resort development will restrict access across the seaway and risks negative impacts on the wave as a result of changes to coastal processes from dredging. In 2005 the value of surfing at TOS was estimated at $20 million per year to the local economy.
In 2005 and again in 2015 a massive community protest led by the Save Our Spit Alliance forced the state government to put off their plans.
Proposals and blue print plans ranging from foreshore redevelopment to cruise ship terminals to casinos to sewage outfalls are all on the table along the last remaining 10% of accessible Gold Coast coastal foreshore and beach that has not already been heavily developed upon. It provides a unique and rewarding surfing and coastal experience for anyone, from beginners through to the most experienced surfers. These breaks come alive during the winter months and can host incredible world-class waves at intermittent times, providing an assortment of wave types including long barrelling waves on swells from the south, punchy overhead piping tubes and even the occasional head high shorebreak that can spit.
The value of this undeveloped and ecologically rich stretch of coastal forest, dunes, beach and surfing breaks is elevated by it being surrounded by intense urban high-density development, making it a critically valuable balancing factor in the overall coastal amenity of the region. Whilst this proposal exists it presents a real and significant threat to the surf breaks and surfing amenity in the area, particularly the Philip Park beach breaks and sand banks at the immediate site of the proposed development.
Organisations opposing and campaigning against this are Surfrider Foundation Australia; Save Our Spit Alliance, Gecko – Gold Coast & Hinterland Environment Council, Save Our Broadwater, Main Beach Association. We will ensure any current and future proposals are met with opposition.
Blacksmiths Beach, Newcastle NSW
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENT
The beach and surfing amenity are disappearing at Blacksmiths beach. Newcastle learn to surf and Surfrider Hunter crews are currently lobbying Council and State Government to look at options to restore the surf break, They are leading the awareness campaign in a fight to save the beach from turning into the ‘new Stockton’.
On 1st December 2018 at the Bring Blacksmiths Back community Rally, it was announced that Blacksmiths would join the Endangered Waves list. This campaign has only just begun…
In recent years as the surf consistency and quality has deteriorated. With human engineering of sand dunes and the breakwater extension and upgrade, the sand banks in the surf zone have disappeared. With the loss of the surf zone sand banks there are no waves for body surfing or surfboard riding at Blacksmiths Beach from the Breakwater to Awabakal Avenue, basically no waves along the entire beach.
Blacksmiths Beach is now devoid of waves, with only a dangerous shore dump, that gets even more dangerous as the swell gets bigger. Surfers young and old, local and from afar are rallying together to ask the question, what has happened to Blacksmiths Beach?
Kirra, Gold Coast, QLD
THREATS: POLLUTED WATER, ECOSYTSTEM THREATS
Surfrider Foundation Gold Coast played an intergeral part in the Bring Back Kirra campaign, and the wave has since returned. Yet there’s is a quietly ominous risk that is present at Kirra beach these days and is why Kirra has unfortunately returned to the E/W list...
In Oct 2017 Warning signs were placed at Kirra beach warning people not to swim or fish in the outlet a Kirra beach after water from Coolangatta Creek was found to be contaminated with Perfluorooctanesulfonic acid (PFAS), a group of manufactured chemicals, which is used in firefighting at most airports around the country, PFAS are very stable chemicals that do not easily break down and may persist in the environment. UNSW Associate Professor Robert Niven, an environmental engineer who studies PFAS contamination, told the ABC that the levels of contamination listed in the 2015 Airservices report about the Gold Coast airport expansion are “worryingly high”. The chemicals have remained in the soil and groundwater at some Australian airports and defence bases. In Qld, Toowoomba Regional Council filed the case with the Supreme Court in Brisbane, claiming the Commonwealth had been negligent in its management of the issue. Communities in Williamtown in NSW, Oakey in QLD and Katherine in the NT, amongst others have been affected also.
Andrew McKinnon, chairman of the Gold Coast World Surfing Reserve, feared the potential impact on the Gold Coast’s reputation. “It’s definitely not a good look for the Gold Coast, especially after securing the Global Wave Conference in 2020,”.
The Australian Government’s PFAS Expert Health Panel, in its report to the Federal Minister for Health, noted there is no current evidence to suggest an increase in overall health risk related to PFAS exposure. However, the Expert Panel also said health effects cannot be ruled out at this time.
For the unknown, for the research papers, statement, court cases and anecdotal evidence, Kirra remains on the Endangered Waves list. We reckon it’s best not to go surfing here surrounding rain events.
Endangered Waves (Saved for Now)
Capricorn Coast, QLD
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS, POLLUTED WATER, ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY
In 2010 Surfrider Foundation Capricorn Coast Branch representatives joined The Keppel and Fitzroy Delta Alliance (KAFDA) to lend their local resources and knowledge to assist in the prevention of 3 industrial developments, including 2 coal export terminals in the Fitzroy River Delta, Keppel Bay and North Curtis Island within the Great Barrier Reef World Heritage Area.
The proposed developments included extensive dredging and construction with the potential for signficant negative impacts on the social, environmental and economic fabric of the local area including potential impacts to much loved local surf break ‘The Big Dune’.
Surfrider Foundation representative’s sat on the board of KAFDA and played a supporting role in recruiting local, national and international support to oppose the development. Since the campaign's inception local Surfrider Foundation representatives have been involved in preparing submissions, speaking at community forums, lobbying local, state and federal politicians, attending rallies and concerts and mobilising the local community to take action as apart of the KAFDA.
After a number of years of pressure from KAFDA and other significant community groups and not-for profits, the proponents withdrew their development proposals. KAFDA and local Surfrider representatives are now looking at campaigning for specific legislative protection for the area to ensure any future proposals are unable to be made.
Ball Bay, Norfolk Island
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENT, VISUAL AMENITY, ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY
This magnificent bay is host to some of the best waves on Norfolk Island by way of it’s grinding right hand point break. A proposal to construct a jetty and break wall will forever destroy this wave. Home to an especially rare land crab and feeding ground for turtles, this high energy East Southeast facing bay is not the desirable site for most islanders as other less sensitive and more accessible sites have been identified.
The proposed jetty construction is now being considered at other sites on the Island as a result of surfers taking action and backing the local community to demand this jewel be left to turtles, surfers and land crabs while the much needed upgrade of port facilities are developed elsewhere.
Westernport Bay, VIC
THREATS: COASTAL DEV, POLLUTED WATER, ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY, CLIMATE CHANGE
Westernport Bay, unique in it’s geographical makeup is home to over a dozen classic surf breaks handling big south west winter swells on the Shoreham side, and offering south east protected summer waves towards Phillip Island. This unique area of surf coast is still largely untouched, offering a distinctive surfing experience increasingly hard to find in our modern coastal cities.
Over the years the Bay has been the target of a number of large industrial developments including a proposed Nuclear Power Plant Facility and a Super tanker oil proposal in the 1990’s. Once again, a new proposal is on the table which would transform the existing port into an international container port, increasing shipping traffic from under 100 a year to over 3000 annually. This increase in shipping traffic will significantly heighten the risk of oil spills, require substantial dredging and clearing of marine and coastal vegetation, which will undoubtedly impact on the dozens of surf breaks and the natural environment of this unique coastline.
The approval and assessment process has started, with the Victorian Government bypassing many environmental checks and balances by deciding to assess the development under the state’s Major Transport Projects Facilitation Act 2009. Normally this type of major development would also need approval under Federal environment laws because of the bay’s Ramsar wetlands and threatened species, but there is a danger that the Federal Government will hand over all assessment powers to the State under the new ‘one stop shop’ plans, therefore bypassing the need to assess the proposal against these Federal laws.
Westernport’s many breaks are all threatened by this proposed port expansion in Hastings, namely the potential dredging of the shipping channel and oil spills that would pollute the waves and beaches. The ecosystem threats include ecological and hydrological impacts from dredging, potential oil spills into the bay’s sensitive mangroves, saltmarshes and seagrass meadows, and the associated threats to the inhabiting penguin colonies and many threatened bird species. Other impacts include the introduction of invasive species, as well as marine debris and other pollution from the increase in container ships.
The impact of dredging on the surf breaks has not been considered in the Ports studies so far and the Surfrider Foundation are campaigning on this basis.
Local Victorian conservation groups are also campaigning hard to stop the port development, with the Victorian National Parks Association in collaboration with others, including Surfrider Foundation, commissioning a series of expert reports about the likely environmental impacts of this port expansion.
Tam O’Shanter Bay, TAS (Saved, for now)
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS, POLLUTED WATER, VISUAL AMENITY, ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY
Tam O’Shanter is endangered from toxic waste by proposed Gunns pulp mill. If Gunns Ltd is able to proceed with the construction and operation of its controversial Long Reach Kraft Pulp in Northern Tasmania, one of the biggest Pulp Mills in the world, it will have permission from both State and Federal Government to dump annually up to 50 billion litres of industrial waste directly into Bass Strait, just a few kilometres directly upwind from two of the North Coasts best left hand point breaks (see photo from PWW).
Surfrider Foundation Tasmania Branch waged a relentless scientific campaign over 8 years to have the risks to local beaches, waves and marine life fully identified and dealt with.
The pulp mill was rejected by the community and did not get the appropriate licenses. Surfrider Foundation maintains the line that in this day and age “the ocean is no longer a dumping ground for any company’s industrial waste” and will continue its campaign to have the Gunns Ltd pulp mill risks fully addressed and acknowledged.
Endangered Waves (Extinct)
Bastion Pt Mallacoota VIC
THREATS: COASTAL DEVELOPMENTS, VISUAL AMENITY & ECOSYSTEM INTEGRITY
Bastion Point is a remote right hand point break near the border of New South Wales in the far east of Victoria’s wilderness coast. The point is surrounded by Croajingolong National Park and is a stones throw from the sleepy coastal town of Mallacoota.
For over a generation now this wave and natural setting has been threatened by various boating access developments. A large number of organisations and individuals formed a Coalition (Save Bastion Point Campaign) in 2004 to fight the East Gippsland Shire Council’s proposal for a large scale breakwater and boat ramp development (known as Option 3b).
After 9 years of campaigning by the Coalition the fight was lost to preserve Bastion Point when construction of the beach road and breakwater began on 11 November 2013.
This is a story of vested interests, dodgy political decisions and a Council that blindly pushed ahead with a proposal despite overwhelming community opposition and an expert independent planning panel recommending against the development.
Surfrider Foundation supported the Save Bastion Point Campaign by raising the profile of this threatened wave through it's national membership base, including the development of a video highlighting community concern for the project.