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Erosion prone area

Key finding

Coastal erosion continues to impact the Queensland coast, with several major incidents at developed areas.

Coastal regions (information applies statewide, map locations are for reference only)

Coastal erosion is a natural feature of sandy and muddy coasts, caused by waves, tidal currents, channel migration and sediment supply changes. Queensland is particularly vulnerable to coastal erosion because of its extensive beaches and sandy landforms and exposure to extreme cyclones and storms.

Coastal ecosystems are well adapted to these dynamic changes on the coast: while extensive erosion can occur, dune rebuilding and plant recolonisation usually follow in time.

Human settlements close to the coast are at risk from sea erosion. This either sees erosion protection measures such as seawalls built or loss of the development.

Erosion vulnerability of the coast has been determined and mapped in all but the more remote areas. Development activity in erosion-prone areas is regulated to both minimise the risk to people and property and to preserve the natural coastal processes, landforms and vegetation which buffer communities from these impacts.

The impact of climate change on the coast, especially from rising sea levels, has been recognised. A sea level rise of 0.8m has been incorporated into the mapping of erosion prone areas.

Cyclone Debbie caused extensive erosion from Bowen to the Gold Coast in March 2017, threatening property and disrupting the tourism industry. The iconic Whitehaven Beach on Whitsunday Island was seriously impacted.

More information:

Indicator: Coastal hazards — erosion prone area

Analysis of land within the Erosion Prone Area, including projected climate change impacts to 2100, as per State Coastal Policy. Erosion is due to storm impact and long term trends of sediment loss and channel migration. Erosion prone area is current as at October 2016.

Download data from Queensland Government data

Last updated 12 February 2020