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Beach Usage Research
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Beach Usage Research

CeRDI was commissioned by the Barwon Coast Committee of Management to undertake research to understand and inform a range of complex coastal usage and environmental management issues that were being experienced across the Barwon coast. The research provides an evidence base about the social, seasonal and culture issues that influence how different community groups use and identify with the coastal environment throughout the year.


CeRDI undertook research with beach users and the wider community to gauge their knowledge, attitudes, and behaviours in relation to coastal management issues such as dog control, beach use and the local ecosystems across three beaches on the Barwon coast. CeRDI worked with community members and coastal management staff across the Barwon coast to gain insights around their perceptions of key issues and priorities and to provide the opportunity for the development of community informed response strategies.

This research was designed to include various data collection methods to ensure broad stakeholder involvement and rich data retrieval. Online surveys were employed to capture baseline data from the community which elicited over 1,600 responses. Additional input from coastal management staff, community groups and individuals was collected during a series of focus groups conducted in April 2018. At these focus groups participants contributed to discussions about coastal management issues, enabling the researchers to map the key coastal management issues for the region.

A detailed report on the study findings has been prepared and released. The report will help to inform and guide the development of future planning on this issue.

This study also provides the basis for a three-year PhD research study to address the findings of the current study and to build new insights into coastal management and coastal environments. The successful applicant for the scholarship is Elissa Ashton-Smith who commenced her studies in February 2019. An important goal of the PhD study is to further explore key costal issues and develop, with community, a range of community driven management responses.

The PhD is being completed under the supervision of Dr Angela Murphy, Dr Birgita Hansen, and Assoc Prof Helen Thompson.

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