Coasts are a zone of concentrated biodiversity and productivity Australian coastal vegetation, such as mangroves, saltmarsh and seagrass, is a globally important carbon sink. Protection and restoration of these habitats can help Australia mitigate carbon dioxide emissions, as well as provide protection against storm surges and extreme weather events that are predicted to increase with climate change. Our coasts are under pressure Impacts of many pressures on Australia’s coastal environment appear to be worsening, meaning that current management actions are insufficient. However, pressures associated with nutrient pollution and flow regimes appear to be lessening in response to management actions. Migratory shorebirds are severely threatened, primarily due to overseas habitat destruction. Recently compiled data show that the populations of 12 out of 19 migratory coastal shorebird species have been declining nationally for several decades. Invasive species are an ongoing and pervasive threat to coastal ecosystems, especially islands, though the risks of incursion are reduced by improving biosecurity practices. Climate change, particularly sea level rise, will have profound impacts on our coasts With more frequent and severe extreme weather events, impacts of climate-related pressures on the coastal environment are fast outweighing impacts of population and industry, and are expected to worsen in the future. With sea level rises causing salt water to encroach onto the land, habitats and infrastructure are lost, and the impact of coastal storms increases. Coastal adaptation to climate change is in its infancy, far behind that needed to adequately prepare for future climate change. Restoration and conservation of coastal ecosystems (e.g. mangroves, saltmarsh, and shellfish reefs) can offer physical protection from extreme weather events and erosion, with additional benefits of enhanced biodiversity, and ecosystem function and services. Consistent and coordinated management approaches, involving Traditional Custodians, are needed to protect our coasts There is a general absence of national coastal management in Australia. Management is currently fragmented across all levels of government – mainly implemented by local councils with some guidance from the states. There are ongoing calls for more consistent and coordinated approaches to coastal management across all levels of government. Australia has a large network of coastal marine protected areas; however, the levels and effectiveness of protection are inadequate. Indigenous leadership is often omitted from national science planning and may continue to be missing without a national Indigenous scientific body. The absence of a national Indigenous peak body that can actively contribute to high-level plans creates a serious and significant gap. The peak body should be built on state and regional frameworks already in place, given some regions already have well-developed processes in place. The recognition of Indigenous knowledge, and the frameworks and methodologies associated with Indigenous ontologies enables wider restoration, conservation and resource management, and increased empowerment for communities; this is in line with many international frameworks (e.g. United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples). Building environmental management with cultural integrity needs long-term commitment in shared decision-making and relationship building with Traditional Custodians. Acknowledging, investing in and embracing co-design and co-management will help to remove hierarchies, address power imbalances, and set up relationships and partnerships for managing and regulating the environment and caring for Country.