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    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Palaszczuk Government funding research to save iconic Queensland beaches

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Friday, July 28, 2017

    Palaszczuk Government funding research to save iconic Queensland beaches

    The Palaszczuk Government is funding research to help save Queensland’s iconic beaches from extreme weather events.

    Innovation Minister Leeanne Enoch said the funding is part of the $9.85 million awarded to 53 researchers under the Advance Queensland Research Fellowship and PhD Scholarship programs.

    “In any given year, Queensland is exposed to a range of natural disasters including cyclones, dangerous storms and floods – especially in tropical environments,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Our beaches can become vulnerable to coastal erosion and tidal inundation, so it’s important we have sustainable coastal management solutions in place to preserve our precious coastal areas.

    “This project looks at how we build resilience and manage climate risk for Queensland beaches, particularly in extreme weather events.”

    Griffith University’s Centre for Coastal Management Research Manager Dr Darrell Strauss was awarded $300,000 over three years under the Advance Queensland Research Fellowship program. His research will be conducted on Gold Coast beaches in partnership with the City of Gold Coast.

    Ms Enoch said the Gold Coast’s combined tourism and surfing industries are worth an estimated $7.5 billion to the city annually and attract around 11.5 million visitors – a significant component of the regional economy.

    “This project has the potential to make a real difference by protecting our beaches now and into the future,” she said.

    “It will also help inform best practice strategies for other similar coastal regions such as northern New South Wales, and other sandy, wave-dominated urban coastlines throughout the world.”

    Dr Strauss is working to develop an efficient way to protect shorelines against beach erosion by pumping sand into nearshore zones.

    “The Queensland coast is exposed to a wide range of different wave heights and directions, so the beaches are constantly changing their shape,” Dr Strauss said.

    “Erosion events have always gained a lot of interest, however, measurements and understanding of recovery rates and impacts of artificial beach replenishments are still scarce.

    “During periods of increased storm activity, coastal areas are more likely to experience several storm events in a short amount of time, reducing the time for natural beach recovery between events.

    “This is when we see the biggest threat to coastal infrastructure through erosion of our natural barriers.

    “My research will focus on more efficient sand placement strategies to reduce operational costs and the frequency of repeated beach nourishment campaigns.”

    Dr Strauss began his PhD research in 2004, looking at how Gold Coast beaches respond to different wave events, and has since published 27 academic reports on coastal management, monitoring and engineering.

    “I’m working with state and local government, and coastal communities, to conduct research that supports sustainable coastal management solutions now and into the future,” he said.

    “There are many challenges ahead with ever increasing pressure on our precious coasts and an uncertain future climate.

    “Queensland is world famous for its beaches and they represent a major tourism and residential growth drawcard.

    “We have seen previously how major erosion events have impacted the region economically, so maintaining healthy beaches is of significant importance to the existence and growth of local industries.”

    Advance Queensland Research Fellowships supports original research that will have positive impacts on Queensland. The fellowship program will assist in attracting and keeping the best and brightest research minds in Queensland, and will build Queensland’s capacity to conduct innovative research and development.

    The Palaszczuk Government’s flagship $420 million Advance Queensland initiative is a comprehensive suite of programs designed to ensure Queensland’s capacity to adapt and thrive in a period of rapid change, and position the state as the place to turn great ideas into reality.

    For more information about the Advance Queensland Research Fellowships visit the Advance Queensland website.

    ENDS

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