Nature conservation

Biodiversity

Regional conservation plans

The New South Wales Government has developed a series of comprehensive regional strategies to guide urban and employment-related growth over the next 25 years. These strategies commit the Government to delivering regional conservation plans (RCPs) as supporting documents. The regional strategies and RCPs form an integrated package demonstrating the Government's commitment to balanced development and conservation outcomes for NSW.

Far North Coast

The Far North Coast is the most biologically diverse region in NSW. It is subject to increasing development pressure and has inherited a legacy of clearing and intensive settlement.

The Department of Planning released the Far North Coast Regional Strategy in December 2006. The strategy, which covers the period 2006-2031, predicts a significant increase in development pressure over the next 25 years. In particular, it anticipates a population growth of 60,400 people, requiring 51,000 new houses.

The Far North Coast Regional Conservation Plan was developed by the Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water (DECCW) to complement the strategy and sets out the regional conservation priorities for the same 25-year period. It covers the Tweed, Byron, Ballina, Kyogle, Lismore and Richmond Valley local government areas. The plan highlights the conservation mechanisms available for private lands that complement the formal conservation reserve system. It also outlines means to offset unavoidable impacts on biodiversity arising from the implementation of the regional strategy.

Download the Far North Coast Regional Conservation Plan (10982fncrcp.pdf, 1.61 MB)

The primary objectives of the plan are to identify important conservation values, guide offsetting, and assist local councils and other land managers in strategic conservation planning. The plan:

  • describes the biodiversity values of the Far North Coast region
  • analyses the current status of biodiversity within the region
  • assesses the potential impacts of development identified in the regional strategy on biodiversity
  • analyses the biodiversity values at a landscape scale
  • identifies regional priority focus areas to offset impacts arising from implementation of the regional strategy
  • ensures that future development will not further deplete the region's biodiversity by encouraging development of conservation investment mechanisms that protect and enhance biodiversity
  • guides local council planning on biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage features, including the determination of development applications, development of local conservation strategies and preparation of new local environmental plans
  • provides a framework to assist those councils who are considering applying to the Minister for Environment and Heritage for biodiversity certification of local environmental plans and other environmental planning instruments.

Printed copies of the Far North Coast Regional Conservation Plan are available from the Environment Protection and Regulation Group office at Level 7, 24 Moonee Street, Coffs Harbour (Locked Bag 914, Coffs Harbour 2450) and may also be ordered through OEH's Environment Line on 131 555.

South Coast

The Department of Planning released the South Coast Regional Strategy in January 2007. The strategy, which covers the period from 2006-2031, aims to protect high-value environments while at the same time catering for an expected additional 60,000 people and 45,600 new dwellings.

The South Coast Regional Conservation Plan was developed by DECCW to guide the implementation of conservation outcomes specified in the South Coast Regional Strategy. In doing so, it complements the regional strategy and set outs the regional conservation priorities for the same 25-year period. The plan covers the Shoalhaven, Eurobodalla and Bega Valley local government areas.

Download the South Coast Regional Conservation Plan (101000scrcp.pdf, 3.22 MB)

The primary objective of the plan is to help local councils achieve biodiversity conservation outcomes, particularly through planning processes. It has greatest relevance for strategic planning, including the development of new local environmental plans (LEPs), amendments to LEPs, and biodiversity certification proposals. The plan will also be useful to councils by informing development assessment processes.

A key consideration is to deliver the aim of the Government's South Coast Regional Strategy to 'protect high value environments, including pristine coastal lakes, estuaries, aquifers, threatened species, vegetation communities and habitat corridors by ensuring that new urban development avoids these important areas and their catchments'.

The plan identifies priorities for environment protection and restoration activities on the South Coast and will guide natural heritage conservation on non-government lands. (National parks, state forests and other reserves are already subject to applicable statutory planning frameworks.)

By ensuring that local councils and planning authorities avoid development in areas of high conservation value and identifying priorities for environment protection and restoration, the plan ensures that the biodiversity of the South Coast will be improved or maintained into the future.

The plan also guides the implementation of the strategy's conservation objectives by:

  • identifying areas of high conservation value that will be protected as the strategy directs new residential, rural residential, industrial and commercial zonings away from these areas
  • verifying important wildlife corridors across the region and providing a consistent approach to their protection and enhancement across local government areas
  • identifying the coastal lakes and estuaries that the strategy will protect by ensuring further residential or rural residential zonings are allowed only if a neutral or beneficial effect on water quality can be demonstrated.

Printed copies of the South Coast Regional Conservation Plan are available from OEH offices at Nowra, Ulladulla, Narooma, Merimbula and Queanbeyan and may also be ordered through OEH's Environment Line on 131 555.

Mid North Coast

The Mid North Coast provides a variety of climates and environments that support high biodiversity and recreational values. These make it a highly valued place to live and consequently it is facing increasing development pressure. The area has also inherited a legacy of clearing and intensive settlement.

The Department of Planning released the Mid North Coast Regional Strategy in March 2009. The strategy, which covers the period 2006-2031, predicts a significant increase in development pressure over the next 25 years. In particular, it anticipates a population growth of 94,000 people, requiring 59,600 new houses.

The Draft Mid North Coast Regional Conservation Plan was developed by DECCW to complement the strategy and set out the regional conservation priorities for the same 25-year period. It covers the Clarence Valley, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen, Nambucca, Kempsey, Port Macquarie-Hastings, Greater Taree and Great Lakes local government areas, and highlights the conservation mechanisms available for private lands that will complement the formal conservation reserve system. The plan outlines means to offset the unavoidable impacts on biodiversity arising from the implementation of the regional strategy.

Download the Draft Mid North Coast Regional Conservation Plan (10999dmncrcp, 1.69 MB)

The primary objectives of the draft plan are to identify important conservation values, guide offsetting, and assist local councils and other land managers in strategic conservation planning. The plan:

  • describes the biodiversity values of the Mid North Coast region
  • analyses the current status of biodiversity within the region
  • assesses the potential impacts of development on biodiversity identified in the regional strategy
  • analyses the biodiversity values at a landscape scale
  • identifies regional priority focus areas to offset impacts arising from implementation of the regional strategy
  • ensures that future development will not further deplete the region's biodiversity by encouraging development of conservation investment mechanisms that protect and enhance biodiversity
  • guides local council planning on biodiversity and Aboriginal heritage features, including the determination of development applications, development of local conservation strategies and preparation of new local environmental plans
  • provides a framework to assist those councils who are considering applying to the Minister for Environment and Heritage for biodiversity certification of local environmental plans and other environmental planning instruments.
Page last updated: 18 April 2016