Coastal Management

  • There are two common coastal hazards under the present climate:

    Coastal erosion:

    Erosion occurs when winds, waves and coastal currents act to shift sediments away from an area of the shore, often during a storm.  In most locations this is a short-term process and the shore gradually regains sediment.


    During a storm, low atmospheric pressure and onshore winds can cause storm surge and extreme wave heights along the coast.  When these coincide with high tide, inundation may result. 

    Coastal hazards can result in property damage, loss of life and/or environmental degradation.  The impacts are generally greatest where the shoreline has been modified and development for infrastructure or settlements. 


    As our climate changes, the impacts, locations and frequency of coastal erosion and inundation are also anticipated to change, particularly due to rising sea levels.

    Torres TideTorres figure 1


  • The QCoast2100 program, a joint initiative between the Local Government Association of Queensland (LGAQ) and the Queensland Government has been designed to assist Queensland coastal councils with funding and technical support to progress the preparation of plans and strategies to address climate change related coastal hazard risks.

    There is an eight-phase structure to the preparation of a Coastal Hazard Adaptation Strategy. The structure is designed to scope, identity and assess potential coastal hazards and develop a strategy and implementation plan to respond to the hazard. 

    Torres Shire Council has successfully applied for funding through the QCoast2100 program for phases 1-5.


    Torres image 3


  • The Council is undertaking the preparation of a CHAS to guide decision making across key areas of local government planning and operations including:

    •    Corporate and operational planning and financial planning 
    •    Land use planning and development assessment 
    •    Infrastructure planning and management including roads, stormwater and foreshores
    •    Asset management and planning including nature conservation, recreation, cultural heritage values and other public amenities
    •    Community planning 
    •    Emergency management 

  • The studies undertaken so far have determined that the focus of the CHAS is on the coastal settlements of Torres Shire, namely:

    •    Waibene (Thursday Island) – entire coastline
    •    Ngurupai (Horn Island) – Wasaga township and the coastline seaward (north) of the airport
    •    Muralug (Prince of Wales Island) – Front Beach (Community of Muralug), Country Women’s Beach and Collis Beach
    •    Gealug (Friday Island) – Pearl farm site on the south-eastern corner of the island, as well as three additional settlement areas on the norther and eastern coastlines
    •    Zuna (Entrance Island) – Two settlement areas along the north-western coastline

    Map of locations of interest for CHAS

    Torres map 2

  • Phase 1 – Plan for communication and engagement

    • Completion of the Stakeholder Communication and Engagement Strategy which identified:
      • the project reference group
      • key stakeholders
      • how Council will engage and keep the community involved and informed

    Status: Complete


    Phase 2 – Scope coastal hazard issues 

    • Completion of the Torres Shire Coastal Hazard Risk, Vulnerability and Adaptation Assessment which identified potential risks to the community, assets and values associated with coastal hazards, specifically:
      • temporary flooding of coastal areas due to storm tide
      • temporary loss of land due to coastal erosion
      • permanent loss of land due to coastal erosion and sea level rise
    • Planning horizons adopted for the CHAS are present climate, 2050, 2070 and 2100

    Status: Complete


    Phase 3 – Identify areas exposed to current and future coastal hazards

    • Engagement with the key stakeholders and the community
      • Inform about the project
      • Opportunities to be involved
      • Obtain views and feedback about what they value about the coast

    Status: Complete


    Phase 4 – Identify key assets potentially impacted

    • Undertake technical assessment to identify the key social, cultural, economic and environmental assets exposed to coastal hazards. The assessment considers storm tide, sea level rise and erosion hazard extents and inundation depths determined in Phase 3 of the CHAS for the present climate, as well as 2050 and 2100 future climates.

    Status: Complete


    Phase 5 – Undertake risk assessment of key assets

    • Undertake a Risk Assessment which describes the risk to assets potentially exposed to coastal hazards. Specifically, the analysis focuses on the development of a tailored risk assessment framework applied to key assets potentially exposed to coastal hazards for the present climate (i.e. short-term), and medium- to long-term (nominally years 2050 and 2100) projected future climates.

    Status: Complete


    Phase 6 – Identify potential adaptation options

    • Identification and documentation of potential adaptation options for considered at each location to treat the High or Extreme risks identified in Phase 5. This stage involves extensive community engagement to:
      • Provide an update on project
      • Share findings from technical work and consultation to date
      • Present and gain feedback on the adaptation options being considered
      • Identify the next steps involved in the Torres Shire CHAS

    Status: Underway


    Phase 7 – Appraise adaptation options

    • Undertake more detailed analysis of potential adaptation options using a range of social, environmental and economic criteria. This will support council’s decision-making when selecting the final preferred option or suite of options to respond to identified risks and meet the outcomes sought.

    Status: Upcoming


    Phase 8 – Strategy development, engagement, implementation and review

    • Collate and summarise all the findings of previous phases and to develop a final Strategy document. The Strategy provides the overarching strategic direction and framework for a coordinated and integrated ‘whole of council’ response to coastal hazard adaptation. It is an important means of guiding change, informing decision making and prioritising actions across the organisation to respond to current and future coastal hazard risks.

    Status: Upcoming