The coastline around Inverloch, Venus Bay and Anderson Inlet is a beautiful and dynamic part of the landscape. Natural processes such as winds, waves, tides, currents and catchment flows move sand and sediments, reshaping the coastline. These processes sometimes impact on places we value, and the way we use the coast.

The coastline at and around Inverloch has experienced significant erosion in recent years. Public assets, values and infrastructure are now at risk of damage and loss.

To proactively plan for managing future changes to the coastline, we’re delivering the Cape to Cape Resilience Project. This project combines the latest science, technical assessments and community aspirations to develop a long-term plan to manage important places, assets and other values in the future.

The Inverloch Regional and Strategic Partnership

Many agencies are responsible for managing coastal and marine areas. A Regional and Strategic Partnership (RaSP) brings these agencies together to respond to key issues. The Inverloch RaSP is the first RaSP established under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018, and has ten partners – Traditional Owners, the Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation, and nine agencies with responsibility for managing coastal land, assets and infrastructure in the Inverloch region.

The Inverloch RaSP will work with the community to address ongoing and future coastal erosion and inundation impacts. This includes delivering the Cape to Cape Resilience Project.

Cape Paterson to Cape Liptrap - the study area

The study area for the Cape to Cape Resilience Project is between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap. The area of interest includes:

  • The open coast from Cape Paterson along the coastal cliffs adjacent towards Inverloch
  • The open foreshore and surf beach at Inverloch
  • The dynamic estuaries and tidal mudflats of Anderson Inlet
  • The open coast and dunes of Venus Bay south to Cape Liptrap
  • Inland from the coastline, allowing for assessment of estuary and groundwater impacts.

Once we better understand our hazards and potential at-risk areas along our coastline, we can identify different ways to manage these locations through adaptation.

Map of the Cape to Cape Resilience Project study area

Understanding coastal hazards

Various technical investigations will help inform the project including a regional Coastal Hazard Assessment. This assessment will look at the geological formation, historic and recent changes on the coast and model the potential impact of predicted future changes, including rising sea levels and changing wind and wave climates. Coastal hazards to be assessed will include erosion (sand loss) and inundation (flooding).  Possible impacts of changing coastal conditions on the surrounding catchments and groundwater systems will also be examined.

The outcomes of this assessment will help us to better understand some of the complex processes impacting our coastline and surrounding areas. It will identify areas and assets that may be vulnerable to coastal hazards and changing climate conditions in the future.  This knowledge will help to inform the development of possible management or adaptation responses.

What do we mean when we talk about adaptation?

Adaptation can be defined as ‘the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects’.

There are a range of actions that can be considered for mitigating coastal hazard risk and adapting to climate change. These may include actions associated with planning, capacity building, engineering, or other themes.

In considering options to mitigate coastal hazard risk, the Victorian Marine and Coastal Policy (2020) provides direction to respect natural coastal processes, apply an adaptation pathways approach, and to consider options in the following order:

OptionPolicy (2020)Adaptation planning considerations
Non-interventionAllow marine and coastal processes, and the hazards they may pose, to occur.Triggers (event, timing, other) would be identified for when additional action could commence.
AvoidLocate new uses, development and redevelopment away from areas that are or will be negatively impacted by coastal hazards.This option typically applies for all areas.
Nature-based methodsEnhancing or restoring natural features to mitigate coastal hazard risk.This may include dune nourishment, enabling landward migration of habitat, and potential hybrid nature-based approaches (e.g. living shorelines).
AccommodateStructures can be designed to reduce the exposure to, or decrease the impact of, coastal hazard risk, thus ‘accommodating’ the risk.This may include movable infrastructure (e.g. life-saving towers, stairs/ramps) flood resilient building design, resilient materials.
RetreatExisting structures, assets or uses may be decommissioned or relocated away from areas that are, or will be, negatively impacted by coastal hazards.This may apply locally or more broadly as part of the adaptation planning process.
ProtectExisting physical barriers are enhanced, or new ones constructed, to mitigate the impact of coastal hazards. Protect is an option of last resort; it is often expensive, its benefits tend to be very localised, and it frequently transfers the problem to nearby areas.This may include seawalls or other physical barriers/structures or interventions (groynes, breakwaters) that are likely to have significant impact on natural coastal processes.

Adaptation actions are not mutually exclusive, and often a suite of measures is required to effectively manage coastal hazard risk.

A pathways approach enables a range of actions to be identified, and their relative sequence, timing, and triggers for implementation from present day to longer-term (2100). The feasibility of actions may change over time, as conditions change, and adaptation pathways are regularly reviewed.

The Cape to Cape Region Coastal Hazard Assessment will help us to identify the range of suitable adaptation options for Inverloch, to inform our resilience and adaptation pathways planning.

Listening to the community

A Stakeholder Reference Group has been established to support the Cape to Cape Resilience Project, bringing together people from our community, with a range of interest areas and backgrounds. This group will bring local knowledge and some community perspectives to the project and help to share project information with our broader community.

In addition to the Stakeholder Reference Group, we want to hear your views as well.

How to participate

Community consultation is a key input to the Cape to Cape Resilience Project. Stakeholder and community engagement will be happening throughout the project and will be tailored to align with and inform key elements of the technical work.

Email capetocape.project@delwp.vic.gov.au to receive regular progress updates and notifications of public meetings.

Community Values Study

From late July to early September 2021, we invited people who live in or visit Inverloch, Venus Bay and nearby communities to share their local coastal values and experiences of coastal hazards, such as erosion.

You can find the full details of this engagement in our Community Values Study, or a snapshot of the findings below:

Values and Experiences Survey (Snapshot) October 2021

Community Values Study December 2021

Stage 2 engagement will focus on risk and vulnerability, and will commence in the coming months.

Frequently Asked Questions

The Cape to Cape Resilience Project is a coastal hazard adaptation project, overseen by the Inverloch RaSP. The project includes:

  • New research through a Coastal Hazard Assessment
  • Extensive community engagement
  • A coastal risk and vulnerability assessment, and
  • Coastal resilience planning.

In response to erosion currently being experienced along the Inverloch foreshore, coastal hazard adaptation options will initially focus on the 5 km of coastline from Flat Rocks to Screw Creek.

Working with the RaSP agencies, the project team will consider a range of adaptation options for this stretch of coastline. Development of possible options will be informed by the Inverloch Coastal Hazard Assessment, risk assessments, and community values and adaptation preferences.

Using tailored objectives and criteria, we will shortlist options to examine further. Criteria will include community values, environmental impacts, costs, performance and effectiveness, and amenity (including impacts on access and aesthetics). Importantly, the order of consideration for options must also align with the directions for managing coastal hazard risk as outlined in the Victorian Marine and Coastal Policy (2020).

A detailed analysis for the shortlisted options will draw on modelling, economics, and strategic planning to determine actions for Flat Rocks to Screw Creek, and also inform adaptation planning for the broader Cape to Cape coastline and communities.

Computer models will be used to test the performance and suitability of different adaptation options (interventions) under different scenarios. Up to five adaptation interventions will be modelled to determine how effective they are in mitigating hazard risk and to consider potential impacts on surrounding areas.

We will assess options for both present-day and future conditions to ensure they are appropriate in now, and how long they will be effective for in the future. Short, medium and long term actions can then be included in the adaptation planning process.

While we plan, develop and design adaptation solutions, the Inverloch Coastal Protection Interagency Working Group continue to actively monitor the coastline to determine if further short-term, rapid response / management measures are required.

The project provides many different and exciting opportunities for the community and stakeholders to be involved.

Using range of in-person and online activities and events, we will be looking to share key information from the project. We are also keen to gather your insights into what you value about the coast from Cape Paterson to Cape Liptrap, and your perspectives on adaptation and resilience.

We will be providing regular updates and factsheets to keep you informed about the project.

The study area for the Cape to Cape Resilience Project is between Cape Paterson and Cape Liptrap on the Bass Coast, Gippsland.

The area of interest includes:

  • The open coast from Cape Paterson along the coastal cliffs adjacent towards Inverloch
  • The open foreshore and surf beach at Inverloch
  • The dynamic estuaries and tidal mudflats of Anderson Inlet
  • The open coast and dunes of Venus Bay south to Cape Liptrap
  • Inland from the coastline, allowing for assessment of estuary and groundwater impacts.

There will be a range of project outputs, including:

  • The Inverloch Region Coastal Hazard Assessment (CHA)
  • A Community Values Study
  • Coastal risk and vulnerability assessment
  • The Cape to Cape Coastal Resilience Plan

The expected outcomes of the Cape to Cape Resilience Project include:

  • Identification of coastal hazards from Cape Paterson to Cape Liptrap and the extent of potential impact
  • Inundation, erosion and groundwater data and hazard mapping for the region
  • Stakeholders have up-to-date information to inform planning decisions and management of assets
  • Community values influence the direction of the research, management strategies and resilience planning.
  • Community understanding of local coastal hazards and management strategies

Natural coastal processes like wind, waves, tides and currents work to shift sediment and shape the coastline. When these processes negatively impact on use of the coast, they become coastal hazards. These impacts could be environmental, social, cultural or economic impacts. Coastal hazards include coastal erosion and inundation.

The Coastal Hazard Assessment will consider:

  • Wind and wave conditions
  • Sediment transport
  • Coastal erosion,
  • Permanent and temporary inundation (coastal and flooding), and
  • Changes in groundwater
  • Multiple sea level rise scenarios for storm and rainfall impacts will be modelled. Proposed scenarios are 0.2 m, 0.5 m, 0.8 m, 1.1 m and 1.4 m of sea level rise.

This new research will:

  • Assess present day conditions,
  • Calibrate models against historic events, and
  • Predict conditions for the future.

We’ll also look at different magnitudes of coastal storm events and potential changes in wind and wave direction.

Water Technology will undertake the Coastal Hazard Assessment and technical investigations.

The South Gippsland Conservation Society has been working on the Inverloch Coastal Resilience Project (ICRP) since 2018. The project aims to analyse the extent of coastline recession at Inverloch, the factors contributing to the changes, the ecological, geomorphological, Aboriginal cultural heritage and economic values. In August 2019 the first significant output of this project was produced:  the Inverloch Coastal Resilience Project Report (August 2019). The SGCS is continuing to work in collaboration with the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program, DELWP, Bass Coast Shire Council and Parks Victoria for its project. More information about the ICRP and project reports can be found here: www.sgcs.org.au.

The Inverloch coast is also the subject of various research activities through the Victorian Coastal Monitoring Program (VCMP).

The Cape to Cape Resilience Project will build on this work. One of the first tasks of the project is to review this previous work and understand where there are knowledge gaps.

The Inverloch Coastal Protection Interagency Working Group actively monitor the coastline and the condition of recent coastal protection works. If further short-term protection is necessary, the working group will decide together and seek funding for implementation.

Resilience is the capacity of systems to cope with or ‘bounce back’ following a hazardous event or disturbance. This includes social, economic and environmental systems. Resilience means responding or reorganising to maintain essential functions, identities and structures, while maintaining the capacity to adapt and transform.

Adaptation is defined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as ‘the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects’. The definition differentiates between human and natural systems. In human systems, adaptation seeks to moderate or avoid harm or exploit beneficial opportunities. In some natural systems, human intervention may facilitate adjustment.

Regional and Strategic Partnerships (RaSP) are a new tool under the Marine and Coastal Act 2018. RaSPs bring stakeholders together on regionally significant issues. The Inverloch RaSP is the first created under the new Act, gazetted on 6 August 2020.

The RaSP brings together Traditional Owners and nine agencies. They each have a role in managing coastal and foreshore values, assets and infrastructure around Inverloch. They commit to working together to respond to coastal hazards facing the Inverloch community now and into the future.

Find out more about the Marine and Coastal Act 2018.

The Inverloch RaSP has representatives from the following agencies and entities:

  • Bunurong Land Council Aboriginal Corporation (BLCAC)
  • Bass Coast Shire Council (BCSC)
  • Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) (lead agency)
  • Department of Transport (DOT)
  • Gippsland Ports
  • Heritage Victoria
  • Parks Victoria (PV)
  • South Gippsland Shire Council (SGSC)
  • South Gippsland Water (SGW); and
  • West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority (WGCMA).

The Stakeholder Reference Group (SRG) is an independent group that will support the Cape to Cape Resilience Project. The group includes invited stakeholders and community members selected through expressions of interest. The SRG will ensure representation of community views and needs. They will assist two-way information flow and communication between DELWP, the RaSP and the community.

Alluvium Consulting will facilitate SRG meetings. For a list of the SRG members please see the May 2021 project update.

The Inverloch Coastal Protection Interagency Working Group is separate to the RaSP. The Interagency Working Group consists of representatives from:

  • DELWP
  • Bass Coast Shire Council
  • Parks Victoria
  • Regional Roads Victoria
  • West Gippsland Catchment Management Authority

The group focuses on addressing current erosion at Inverloch and developing a short-term erosion control plan for key areas around Inverloch. The RaSP will focus on longer-term adaptation over the wider Cape Paterson to Cape Liptrap coastal area.

Page last updated: 11/01/22