Four decades ago Australia was credited as being an early leader in implementing integrated coastal management (ICM). Nevertheless, as a federation of states and territories Australia has since struggled to fully implement vertical integration of its coastal governance arrangements.
In particular the federal government has historically possessed only a minor role in coastal management despite the recommendations of several major inquires suggesting that this role needed to be enhanced. This article examines a series of circumstances and events over the past two years
in Australia that has created the opportunity for the federal government to adopt a more significant and prominent role in coastal management and hence to substantially complete the vertical integration of ICM in Australia. These stimuli for coastal policy reform could also play a role in
enhancing ICM in other federated nations.