1370.0 - Measures of Australia's Progress, 2010  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/09/2010   
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The natural landscapes of Australia underpin both international and domestic tourism. In particular, the coastal zone is an environmental asset that is fundamentally important to the Australian lifestyle and the economy. The World Heritage status of some of Australia's coastal features can cultivate local and national pride and develop feelings of responsibility to maintain and protect the area. There may be increased tourism as a result of World Heritage status, and this can, in turn, increase employment in the local community. However, increased tourism can put increased pressure on the condition of these World Heritage areas, and this needs to be managed.

The land on Australia's coast is a valuable and limited resource, but there is continuing demand for additional residential and marina development. This is due to a fast growing population in the coastal zone, the strong tourism market, and the fact that much of Australia's trade is undertaken by shipping. Development in the coastal zone can adversely affect the coastal landscape through erosion, pollution and oil spills.

The greatest damage to Australian waters from oil spills is likely to occur near areas of high conservation (such as the Great Barrier Reef), although this depends on the size and location of the spill as well as the prevailing weather conditions at the time. Oil spills can harm seabirds, mammals, fish, and plant life, and can spoil beaches and coastal areas. The number, frequency, extent and volume of oil spills provide an indication of the intensity of this pressure on the environment and economy.

The following sections discuss Australia's coastal development, the number of maritime oil spills, and bycatch and illegal fishing.


  • Oceans and estuaries glossary
  • Oceans and estuaries references

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