New statutory objects. The new objects in the Coastal Management Act reflect the values and aims in the Coastal Protection Act, but improve on them by:
- better reflecting links to land use planning and local government administration processes
- explicitly acknowledging the dynamic nature of the coast as a defining characteristic.
A new definition of the 'coastal zone'. Unlike the Coastal Protection Act, which defines the coastal zone as a homogenous strip of the coastline, the Coastal Management Act defines the coastal zone as comprising four distinct coastal management areas. This new approach means we can better manage the diversity of land use, environmental and coastal hazard issues that exist in coastal areas by directly targeting the rules and guidance that apply to them (including the development controls in the proposed Coastal Management SEPP).
An emphasis on taking action through coastal management programs. Local coastal zone management plans (CZMPs) will be replaced by coastal management programs (CMPs) that must be integrated with councils' Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) plans under the Local Government Act. The accountabilities associated with IP&R plans will place new emphasis on the timely and effective implementation of coastal management programs. Councils will have until December 2021 to transition existing CZMPs to CMPs.
Improved, comprehensive guidance. The new coastal management manual will provide clear instructions and step-by-step guidance for councils to meet the requirements of the new Coastal Management Act. Current guidance is relatively high-level and fragmented across a number of guidelines and codes of practice. The new manual will consolidate and augment existing guidance to better support councils in the preparation of CMPs.
A new statutory NSW Coastal Council. The NSW Coastal Council will replace the NSW Coastal Panel. Its primary function will be to advise the Minister on a range of coastal management matters. Unlike the NSW Coastal Panel, the Coastal Council will not have a development consent role. The Coastal Council will also be able to conduct performance audits on councils' implementation of their CMPs, if asked to do so by the Minister.
Integrated compliance and enforcement. Consultation with coastal managers has highlighted to need to reduce the duplication and overlap of enforcement provisions and improve their effectiveness. This will be achieved in large part by integrating key provisions and embedding them in the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.
New consultation arrangements. The Coastal Management Act establishes clearer requirements for councils to consult with neighbouring councils, other public authorities and the wider community in developing and implementing coastal management strategies.