Barwon Coast Beach Use Research Report - Share our Shores

In November 2017 Barwon Coast launched the Share Our Shores Program. As part of this program we engaged Federation University Australia to undertake a social research project focusing on community views and experiences in relation to various management issues within the Barwon Coast coastal reserve. The final report of this study is called "Barwon Coast Coastal Management and Beach Usage Research Report".

Report Documents Now Available

A number of documents in relation to this study are now available for download from this webpage:

Hard copies of the final report are available for viewing at:

  • The Barwon Coast Office, Ewing Blyth Drive, Barwon Heads
  • Riverview Family Caravan Park, Barwon Heads- Ocean Grove Rd, Ocean Grove
  • City of Greater Geelong Customer Service Centre, Corner of Presidents Avenue and The Parade, Ocean Grove

Printed copies of the final report can be provided at a cost of $5 (to cover printing costs) from the Barwon Coast Office.

Why we commissioned this report

Barwon Coast has a charter to protect and enhance the natural environment, and provide opportunities for the community to enjoy the Barwon coastline. This includes the responsibility on behalf of the Victorian Department of Environment Land Water and Planning to set strategic direction for management of our coastal reserves via a Coastal and Marine Management Plan (CMMP).

Barwon Coast place high importance on understanding what the community of people who use the Barwon Coast value and hold dear. We funded this study to develop a better understanding of community opinions and experiences in relation to a number of key issues impacting on the management on our area of management. This final report will help us integrate community values into future planning and management processes.

All the issues covered by the study were identified through previous community consultation for the Coastal and Marine Management Plan. This is the key strategic document that guides our work.  The findings from this report reinforces to us that we are going in the right direction and we aim to continue to do that in partnership with the community.

How the report was produced

This report was conducted by a team of social researchers from Federation University Australia.

A number of methods were used to gather data for the study including a public survey which had 1715 responses, focus group interviews, written submissions, site visits, document and demographic analysis and email and telephone feedback.

The significant public response to the study required a longer period of analysis than expected which slightly delayed the release of the final report.

The key report findings

  • Coastal visitation shifts (from seasonal tourism and population growth) are fundamental causal factors that influence and exacerbate coastal management issues
  • Research participants place high importance on Barwon Coast understanding and valuing the attributes and amenities that define the Barwon Coast coastal experience
  • Approximately 45% of respondents reported that their capacity to enjoy the beach had been compromised by beach overcrowding, littering, dogs off-leash, sand-dune damage and threats to wildlife. Dogs off-leash was the most significant concern for both dog owners and non-dog owners
  • The issue of dog behaviour and dog access to beach areas is a complex and divisive management challenge. 72.9% of survey respondents were dog owners
  • Coastal living and management challenges have sometimes created conflicts and tension between different beach users


What next?

PhD Study

A PhD to conduct longer term study into these issues is now underway with Federation University.

Dog Regulations Review

The issue of dog management and dog access to beach areas was the most significant issue identified in the report. The City of Greater Geelong has released a revised dog control map for community feedback.

Deatols of the consultation process can be found here 


Thankyou & Further Queries

We are very grateful to the people who took part in this study. The huge amount of information we now have on community views and experiences on the Barwon Coast will be a big help to us in delivering on our coastal management obligations

We welcome any queries on the final report. Please contact us on 5254 1118 or email