Re-designing communications in coastal management – an innovative new approach using Tweed Sand Bypassing as a case study

Ms Catherine Kerr1

1Nsw Department Of Industry, Ballina, Australia


Tweed Sand Bypassing is a long term coastal management solution located on the border of NSW and Queensland. The two objectives of the Project are to restore and maintain the natural coastal sand drift to the southern Gold Coast beaches; and to establish and maintain a safe, navigable entrance to the Tweed River.

The Project has been in operation for almost 15 years and during this time has implemented a wide range of communication strategies to inform and educate the various stakeholder groups about the work that the Project does. To determine how effective implemented strategies had been, a community consultation and engagement assessment was carried out. The results found that while basic communication and information exchange has worked – engagement and trust building hasn’t. This result was clearly evident through the ongoing confusion, mistrust and misinterpretation about the Project’s impact, management and main responsibilities among stakeholder communities.

An innovative communications strategy was developed with the overall vision of recognising and supporting the ongoing operation of the Project, promoting the Tweed Sand Bypassing identity and targeting a younger demographic. Several marketing techniques were used to re-brand the Project. These involved creating a visual identity, a promotional magazine, Instagram account, smart phone application, and a booth at the 2017 Quiksilver Pro. This paper presents a case study of how contemporary marketing and promotional techniques can be successfully applied to the field of coastal management to educate, change perceptions and promote the integral environmental management work of the public sector.


Catherine Kerr is a coastal management specialist who works in the fields of coastal management, climate change adaptation and science communication. She is passionate about geographic education in Australia and is a qualified high school teacher.

About the Association

The Australian Coastal Society (ACS) was initiated at the Coast to Coast Conference in Tasmania in 2004. The idea was floated as a means for those interested in coastal matters to communicate between conferences and where possible take resolutions of the conference to appropriate levels of government.

The idea was discussed further at the Coast to Coast Conference in Melbourne in 2006 and it was agreed that Bruce Thom develop a constitution of a company limited by guarantee that would operate on a national basis.

This plan was accomplished and in 2008 at the Coast to Coast Conference in Darwin the constitution was ratified and an Executive appointed. The company received charitable status in 2011.

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