Brad Farmer calls for a Ministry for Coastal and Marine Resources
On Monday, while you and I kicked back and thanked our improbable head of state for the day off, Brad Farmer donned a bag of fruit for a special ceremony. The co-founder of Surfrider Australia and National Surfing Reserves got the call up from Lizzie to receive the Order of Australia medal.
So it's Bradley Farmer AO from now on, which looks like an Adults Only ratings classification but actually means Brad has provided, "Distinguished service of a high degree to Australia or to humanity at large".
He's been doing this stuff for four decades now and it's fantastic to see Brad get noticed.
Without even pausing to smile for the cameras, Brad immediately got on the front foot regarding his latest concern: the creation of a Federal Ministry for Coastal and Marine Resources.
It may surprise you to learn that, despite our population largely living on the coastal fringe, Australia is one of the few countries in the OECD that doesn't have an overarching framework to protect and administer its coast. Also, only four of our eight states and territories have any form of coastal policy, and those that exist are non-uniform and ad hoc which fragments decision-making across borders.
From the pulpit, medal gleaming around his neck, Brad bellowed:
“Coastal and marine resources are one of Australia’s greatest generators of income and pleasure for millions of us, and its sustainability hangs in the balance with impending commercial and foreign threats under a total lack of any national protective framework,” said Brad.
“Coastal tourism alone generates $103 billion for Australia every year. So why is it that other lesser or comparable Australian natural resources like fisheries, mining, agriculture, forests and water resources have dedicated Ministries, but not coastal and marine, when it is proven to be a potentially infinite resource, long after others may have been exhausted.”
“We are continuing to witness in Australia an incremental chipping away of our most iconic, precious, and sovereign resource – beaches, coastlines, and marine assets.”
Brad then urged Scott Morrison, who like his two Liberal Prime Ministerial predecessors, represents a coastal electorate, "to speak up for the coast".
To "future proof" coastal and ocean resources, Brad is advocating for both major parties and crossbenchers to support a Private Members Bill that introduces three key measures:
- A National Coastal and Marine Act
- A Federal Ministry for Coastal and Marine Resources
- A National Coastal and Marine Commission
Surfers are increasingly becoming aware how our amenity is contingent upon coastal processes, so any movement in this direction would protect and account for waves, and therefore be a welcome development.