Problem framing for Australian coastal management

Carmen E. Elrick-Barr, Timothy F. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


How we define our problems determines the solutions; yet problem framing within coastal management is rarely critiqued. Consequently, opportunities for comprehensive policy response, vital in addressing the complex challenges impacting the coast, are missed. To address this gap, we develop and apply coastal sustainability paradigms to critique 48 institutional instruments contributing to coastal management in Australia. In doing so, we uncover similarities and differences in the framing of coastal sustainability within Australian coastal management. An anthropocentric framing dominates, particularly at the local scale, prioritising humans over the environment. However, differences exist between and within jurisdictions based on sector and recency of policy reform. We also find evidence of problem-solution coupling, with some States prioritising hazard management over coastal management, through legislative backing of select instruments and sectors. The findings provide those involved in the complex system of coastal governance with the information needed to consider how the chosen framing supports or impedes public engagement and cross-scale and cross-sector coordination.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)218-227
Number of pages10
JournalEnvironmental Science and Policy
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2022
Externally publishedYes


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