Coastal management reforms: questions and answers

A. General questions

1) Why is the coast special? Why does coastal management need its own laws and policies?

The NSW coast is one of our greatest assets. It is a dynamic and diverse landscape with unique coastal values and resources that are vital to our way of life.

The majority of us live and work within 50 kilometres of the coast. Major cities, regional centres and villages are continuing to grow on the coast. The coast is also a vital economic zone that supports most of the state's industrial and commercial activity.

Our coast also includes a diversity of coastal habitats such as beaches, dunes, coastal heaths, rock pools, nearshore waters and offshore reefs. Many of our native species depend on these habitats and ecosystems, which also include sheltered waterways, wetlands, mangroves, salt marshes, seagrass beds, sandbars and mudflats.

At the same time, the coast is an ever-changing environment that is shaped by complex coastal processes. Wind, waves, ocean currents, storm events and shifts in climatic systems are influencing the nature of the coastal landscape over time.

The important and unique environmental, social and economic values of the coast, together with its highly dynamic and complex character, require dedicated laws and policies to ensure it is sustainably managed now and into the future.

2) What are the pressures and challenges facing our coast today and into the future?

The coast is under increasing pressure from growing urban settlements, industrial and commercial activity, and tourism and recreation. Managing these human activities, while protecting the environmental and social values of the coast, and managing current and future risks, is complex and challenging.

This is made more challenging by the coastal processes that continue to change the coast over time. These natural processes can give rise to a range of potential hazards that can dramatically alter coastal landscapes and may pose risks to the important environmental, economic and social values of the coast.

Climate change is expected to increase the risk from these processes. Recently published science tells us it is not just sea level rise that will impact our coastline. Coastal erosion and flooding in the Pacific are closely linked with climate variability associated with the El Niño Southern Oscillation - which is projected to increase in frequency and intensity. This will ultimately lead to more severe coastal erosion risks in south-east coast Australia.

Existing infrastructure such as houses, commercial developments, roads, storm water and sewerage systems along some parts of the coast are at risk from these coastal hazards. With climate change and sea level rise, this risk is projected to grow over time increasing exposure both on the open coast and particularly within low lying parts of estuaries. There are also risks to coastal biodiversity values, and to social values such as cultural heritage, and public access and our enjoyment of beaches and coastal areas.

In the face of these environmental and development pressures, we need a modern, integrated framework that is up to the challenge of meeting our current needs and equipping us to face future challenges.

3) Why are the current coastal management arrangements being reformed?

The current legal framework for coastal management in NSW was originally established over 35 years ago. It was not designed for the pressures and challenges that our coastal areas and communities face today, and will face in the future. The operation of our current laws has become increasingly complex and unclear through the course of many amendments, and as the legal and policy context across the rest of government has evolved. In addition, our knowledge of coastal processes and hazards has advanced significantly over this period.

Effective coastal management is essential to protect the characteristics of the coast we all value - natural, cultural, social and economic - and to improve resilience and reduce conflict in our coastal communities. The proposed reforms are necessary to create a more contemporary framework that can achieve these outcomes, through strategic and integrated laws, practical guidance and the best available science.

The aim of the reforms is to establish a new approach that allows us to respond effectively to coastal processes and hazards, and to manage the unique environmental, social and economic values of the coast in a coherent and effective way.

4) How will the reform package as a whole improve on current arrangements?

Unlike the current Coastal Protection Act 1979, the draft Coastal Management Bill directly integrates coastal management and planning requirements into councils':

  • land use planning responsibilities under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act)
  • community and strategic planning responsibilities under the Local Government Act 1993.

This means land use planning decisions will better reflect coastal management issues, and coastal management activities will be linked to and delivered as part of councils' central service delivery system, the Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework.

The proposed Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) consolidates a number of current SEPPs that apply to the coast, and better targets development controls and considerations to the diverse values and characteristics of different coastal environments.

The draft coastal management manual improves the quality of guidance available to coastal councils by providing more detailed technical information and a clear, step by step process for councils to follow when they are developing coastal management programs.

5) What are the key features of the new framework?

New statutory objects. The new objects proposed in the draft Coastal Management Bill reflect the values and aims in the current 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 current Act, which defines the coastal zone as a homogenous strip of the coastline, the draft Coastal Management Bill 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' 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 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 draft Coastal Management Bill establishes clearer requirements for councils to consult with neighbouring councils, other public authorities and the wider community in developing and implementing coastal management strategies.

6) How do the key elements of the reforms work together?

The Coastal Management Act will establish the overarching framework and objectives for coastal management in NSW and define the coastal zone. It will also make provisions for the Minister to make a coastal management manual and for councils to prepare coastal management programs in accordance with the manual.

The definition of the coastal zone (specifically the four new coastal management areas) will be reflected in the Coastal Management SEPP. The SEPP will then identify the development controls that apply in each coastal management area to achieve the objectives in the new Act. The SEPP will provide the maps of the coastal management areas and also identify the approval pathways for proposed coastal protection works.

The manual will set out how councils should prepare CMPs to achieve the objectives and requirements of the Act. The essential content of the manual is outlined in the Act.

7) Will the NSW Coastal Policy continue to apply?

The detail of the NSW Coastal Policy 1997 has been considered in the development of the new arrangements and its goals are reflected in the new instruments. The Policy will no longer apply once the new Act and framework has been finalised and commenced.

8) What's different in the objects of the draft Bill compared with the objects of the current Coastal Protection Act 1979?

The objects in the draft Bill reflect values and aims that are similar to the objects of the current Coastal Protection Act. However, they have been updated and enhanced to better reflect links to land use planning and local government administration processes, and to directly acknowledge the dynamic nature of the shoreline.

9) Why has the definition of the 'coastal zone' been altered?

The 'coastal zone' has previously been managed as a homogenous area. This has made it difficult to address the diversity of land use, environmental management and coastal hazard issues that exist in coastal areas. By redefining the coastal zone to comprise four distinct coastal management areas, we can better target the rules and guidance needed to manage these issues.

10) What are the new coastal management areas based on?

The coastal management areas are based on a range of existing and new spatial information. For instance, the 'Coastal Wetlands and Littoral Rainforests' area maps will augment information from the existing State Environmental Planning Policy No 14 - Coastal Wetlands (SEPP 14) and State Environmental Planning Policy No 26 - Littoral Rainforests (SEPP 26), with some updates based on new evidence and science. The 'Coastal Environment Area' is based on sensitive coastal locations in State Environmental Planning Policy No 71 - Coastal Protection (SEPP71), with some additions. See further information under question 15.

11) What happens if the coastal management areas overlap?

Coastal management areas are likely to overlap in some areas and provisions have been included in the draft Bill to guide decision makers on how to approach these circumstances. Where two or more management areas coincide, the management objectives for each overlapping area continue to apply, but the application of development controls will be based on a hierarchy so that consent authorities can resolve any uncertainty over which controls should prevail. The management objectives for each area are consistent with the overall objects of the draft Bill.

12) Why has the definition of the 'beach' been changed?

The proposed new definition of 'beach' reflects a more contemporary scientific understanding and community perception of what constitutes this feature of the coast.

13) Does the Government have plans to further investigate the issue of the effect of coastal erosion on coastal boundaries?

Yes. The NSW Government is undertaking a detailed investigation of the effects of erosion on coastal property boundaries with a view to ensuring that the public have a continued right to access, use and enjoy our beautiful beaches. Proposals will be released for public comment in the near future.

14) How do the coastal management reforms relate to the marine estate management reforms?

The coastal zone forms a specific part of the marine estate. The objects in the draft Bill are consistent with, although more specific than, the objects of the Marine Estate Management Act 2014. The Marine Estate Management Strategy, once developed and approved under the marine legislation, will be a matter for consideration by councils in the development of their coastal management programs.

B. Land use planning

15) How is the proposed Coastal Management SEPP different from the current SEPP 14, SEPP 26 and SEPP 71?

The proposed Coastal Management SEPP will replace SEPP 14, SEPP 26 and SEPP 71. The provisions in the three existing SEPPs are being consolidated and updated in the new SEPP. Existing provisions in clause 5.5 of the Standard Instrument, and relevant guidance in the NSW Coastal Policy 1997 and the Coastal Design Guidelines will also be reflected in the new instrument.

The Coastal Management SEPP will include new content relating to sensitive catchments, headlands and rock platforms, and coastal hazards. It will also include provisions to replace those in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Infrastructure) 2007 concerning coastal protection works.

16) What has happened to State Environmental Planning Policy No 50 - Canal Estate Development?

SEPP 50 remains a standalone instrument because its application is not limited to the coast but also include inland waterways.

17) When will the maps of the coastal management areas be available? What will the maps include?

Maps of the coastal management areas will be released in early 2016 for public comment. This includes maps of the three options for the Coastal Use Area, which is discussed in the Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) for the Coastal Management SEPP.

The areas the maps will cover are described in the EIE. The maps themselves are being released at a later stage to allow consultation to initially focus on the overall framework, before considering the detailed maps. Further information on the release of the maps will be provided on this website in the near future.

18) Why will councils be able to propose adjustments to map boundaries for their local government areas?

The proposal to allow councils to propose adjustments to the coastal management area maps recognises that more detailed local research may exist or be undertaken in circumstances and that it is appropriate for this information to be used to guide coastal planning and management. Proposed refinements to the SEPP maps will need to be supported by an analysis of the characteristics of the coastal management area and a public consultation process. Changes would need to occur through a planning proposal process and be approved by the Minister administering the EP&A Act and the Minister administering the new Coastal Management Act.

19) Why do we need different development controls for each coastal management area?

The purpose of redefining the coastal zone to comprise four distinct coastal management areas is to create a coastal management structure that accommodates the diversity of landforms, environments, uses and vulnerabilities on the coast and supports efficient and targeted management.

The management objectives of the four coastal management areas reflect this diversity and the specific needs of the different areas, and the development controls are tailored to support the achievement of these objectives.

20) What is happening to clause 5.5 in the standard instrument LEP and local provisions relating to coastal erosion?

The Coastal Management SEPP and associated maps will replace clause 5.5 and local coastal erosion clauses. The new SEPP will provide a standard set of development controls better aligned to the matters of interest in each coastal management area.

21) Will there be any changes to what is noted on a s149 planning certificate?

Sections 4 and 4A of Schedule 4 of the EP&A Regulation will be amended to remove notations relating to s38 and s39 of the current Coastal Protection Act (clause 4) and orders relating to temporary coastal protection works (clause 4A).

The reforms do not alter the advice provided to local government in the Planning Circular entitled 'Coastal hazard notations on section 149 planning certificates'.

Notations on s149 certificates will need to align to the SEPP maps, as they are at the time of issuing a s149 certificate.

22) What will be the boundaries of the Coastal Environment Area and the Coastal Use Area in Sydney Harbour, Botany Bay, Pittwater and Port Hacking?

It is proposed that the boundary of the Coastal Environment Area will be the same in these metropolitan areas as it is on all other parts of the NSW coast.

The EIE sets out three options for the boundary of the Coastal Use Area for the whole coast and seeks feedback on these options. Feedback is also sought on which approach is most appropriate in the metropolitan areas above, including whether there should be any difference in the extent of the Coastal Use Area between these areas and the rest of the coast.

C. Coastal management programs

23) What are 'coastal management programs' and who prepares them? What's happening to coastal zone management plans?

Coastal management programs (CMPs) will replace coastal zone management plans (CZMPs). They will be prepared by councils in consultation with their communities and relevant government authorities, and in accordance with the new coastal management manual.

A CMP may be developed for the whole, or any part, of the coastal zone within a local government area. The purpose of a CMP is to set the long-term strategy for the co-ordinated management of land within the coastal zone, and give effect to the management objectives for the four coastal management areas.

There will be a strong emphasis on the implementation of CMPS. The draft Bill achieves this by requiring CMPs to be given effect within the local government IP&R framework. The draft Bill also includes performance auditing powers to ensure that CMPs are effectively implemented.

24) What if a council already has a certified coastal zone management plan, or is almost finished preparing one under the current Act?

The draft Bill includes transitional provisions that allow councils to move towards the new arrangements over time. Many councils have already undertaken a significant amount of work to prepare CZMPs under the current laws, and they will not be expected to start over.

In order to minimise disruption, those councils that have certified CZMPs in place when the new Coastal Management Act commences, or that have submitted plans to the Minister for certification by that time, will be able to transition their CZMPs into CMPs under a staged process, and will have until 2021 to be fully compliant.

The Office of Environment and Heritage and other relevant NSW Government agencies will support councils through this process with operational guidance.

25) Does every council have to prepare a coastal management program?

Councils will have a degree of flexibility in deciding whether or not they need to prepare a CMP. However, the draft Coastal Management Bill gives the Minister the power to direct a council to prepare a CMP, in which case the council must do so.

The draft Bill also allows the Minister to prepare a CMP on behalf of a council if it fails to comply with such a direction, or where a CMP does not meet the requirements for certification, and therefore certification has been refused.

26) Will the relevant state agencies continue to provide advice to councils in the development of coastal management programs?

Yes. State Government agencies such as the Office of Environment and Heritage will continue to provide data and technical advice to councils to support coastal management. Current support includes the provision of wave data and data on historical coastline changes, information on coastal and estuarine processes, sediment cells and coastal geomorphology/coastal engineering, advice ecosystem health, and habitat mapping.

27) Will coastal management programs be certified by the Minister?

Yes. Similar to current arrangements, the draft Coastal Management Bill provides that a council may submit a draft CMP to the Minister for certification, and that the Minister may certify, or refuse to certify, that the draft program has been prepared in accordance with the Act and the manual. The Minister may seek the advice of the NSW Coastal Council in deciding whether to certify a program.

28) Is there any change to the operation of section 733 of the Local Government Act 1993?

The exemption from liability provided by section 733 of the Local Government Act will continue to operate. The draft Coastal Management Bill includes a proposal to amend the language in section 733 slightly in to require actions to be 'in accordance with', rather than 'substantially in accordance with', the manual to more closely mirror requirements that apply to the IP&R guidelines.

29) What does a coastal management program have to include?

Under the draft Coastal Management Bill, a CMP must:

  • identify the coastal management issues affecting the areas to which the program is to apply, which in a coastal vulnerability area must include existing and potential risks to development and human life associated with coastal hazards
  • identify the actions required to address those coastal management issues in an integrated and strategic manner
  • identify how and when those actions are to be implemented
  • identify the costs of those actions and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms
  • if the local council has land identified as a coastal vulnerability area within its local government area and beach erosion is occurring on that land, include a coastal erosion emergency action subplan.

The draft Bill also allows the coastal management manual to provide additional information on requirements for CMPs.

30) How are coastal management programs linked to the local government Integrated Planning and Reporting (IP&R) framework under the Local Government Act? Why is this important?

The draft Coastal Management Bill requires councils to give effect to their coastal management programs in the preparation, development and review of the plans, strategies and programs they are responsible for under the IP&R framework. In tandem with this requirement, the draft manual provides guidance on supporting the development of a coastal management program with information from IP&R plans and processes.

These requirements are necessary to ensure coastal management activities are evaluated as part of local councils' broader service delivery and asset management responsibilities. This approach ensures that coastal management no longer occurs at the periphery of councils' main community, financial and asset management planning processes.

31) How will neighbouring councils and state agencies be involved in developing coastal management programs?

The draft Coastal Management Bill sets out clearer requirements for councils to consult with neighbouring councils, other public authorities and the wider community in developing and implementing coastal management strategies.

Councils will be required to consult with neighbouring councils that share the same secondary sediment compartment. The relevant groupings of councils for this purpose are set out in Schedule 1 of the draft Bill.

The draft Bill also requires that other public authorities, such as state agencies, are consulted when a coastal management program proposes actions or activities to be carried out by that public authority.

The draft coastal management manual provides guidance to support councils' consultation activities, including where councils share a sediment compartment.

32) How will coastal councils and their communities decide what actions should be included in their coastal management programs? How will they pay for those actions?

The coastal management manual will guide coastal councils and their communities to determine what actions are included in their CMPs and equitable cost sharing arrangements to implement these.

Part A of the manual includes the mandatory requirements for developing a CMP, which include community consultation. This will ensure councils and their communities work together on the content of their CMPs. Part B of the manual sets out the process of developing a CMP, which may include supporting studies for hazard identification, risk assessment, and management response evaluation including cost benefit analysis. Part C of the manual will provide councils and communities with a toolkit to assess the costs of coastal management actions in detail, develop cost-sharing arrangements and identify viable funding mechanisms.

33) What funding will be available from the NSW Government to prepare and implement coastal management programs?

The NSW Government is reviewing how it contributes to coastal management to inform the future design and focus of funding programs. Further information will be available in 2016. Meanwhile current grant programs, including the Coast and Estuary Management Program administered by OEH, continue to operate.

D. Coastal management manual

34) Who has to use the new Coastal Management Manual?

The draft Coastal Management Bill requires local councils to use the manual in the preparation and review of coastal management programs. Councils must accord with the principles and mandatory requirements set out in the manual to satisfy the 'good faith' requirements of section 733 of the Local Government Act.

The draft Bill also requires other public authorities to have regard to the manual in the preparation, development of review of any plans of management for which those public authorities are responsible.

35) What is the scope of the new coastal management manual?

The scope of the manual will be determined by the Coastal Management Act. The manual guides the management of coasts and estuaries within the coastal zone, and requires consideration of social, economic, environmental and technical issues. These include the management of coastal and estuarine environments as well as the management of coastal hazards.

36) How is the manual different from current guidelines?

The Coastal Management Manual will replace the current Guidelines for Preparing a Coastal Zone Management Plan. Unlike the current guidelines, the draft manual sets out a step-by-step process for local councils to follow when preparing coastal management programs. This process is based on a risk management approach that is consistent with international standard ISO31000. The manual builds on the existing guidance but fills key gaps identified by councils. It also brings together the current guidelines with other pieces of guidance to provide a consolidated reference for councils.

37) The manual does not include all the advice and guidance that councils have asked for in recent consultations. Why not? Will information be added to the manual?

The material released on 13 November 2015 includes key elements of the draft manual including mandatory requirements (Part A), key components of the staged planning process (Part B) and the technical toolkit (Part C). Further content will be released in mid-December 2015 for public comment.

The final manual produced in 2016 will include the highest priority elements identified in recent consultation with councils. Further tools will be added over time as the manual is updated. The new Act will provide the Minister with a power to update the manual as needed to ensure new evidence and information can be included to support best practice.

38) Will the NSW Government be providing councils with information to help them plan for future sea level rise?

Yes. The NSW Government is committed to supporting local governments on the coast with the technical advice they need to make credible, balanced and sensible decisions. However, consistent with its previous decisions and the advice of the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, the NSW Government will not prescribe state-wide sea level rise benchmarks. Decisions on the management of risks associated with sea level rise need to consider local circumstances including both the likelihood and consequences of sea level rise. The consequences of sea level rise in particular require consideration of local factors including relevant processes, the amount and type of development at risk and local social, economic and environmental factors. These considerations are nuanced and are properly dealt with by local councils, in consultation with their communities.

Key sources of the technical advice the NSW Government will make available include the Coastal Management Manual and the NSW Coastal Council. The manual will provide information including a synthesis of recent science relating to sea level rise and guidance on undertaking coastal and estuarine erosion and inundation risk assessments. These will support councils to identify and assess coastal hazards, including those associated with sea level rise and make decision on the management of the risks considering locally relevant factors. It will consolidate a number of existing guidelines and fill critical gaps that have been identified through engagement with councils.

The NSW Coastal Council will have an ongoing function to commission technical or scientific reviews on matters such as sea level rise and provide advice to the

Minister as required. Such reviews may include consideration of emerging international, national, regional and local studies to identify new information and determine its applicability in a NSW context. The Minister can then make the Council's advice and any necessary operational guidance available to councils, including as part of the manual where relevant.

The advice provided will form part of the best available scientific information councils should use to determine sea level rise scenarios to adopt for their planning purposes.

E. NSW Coastal Council

39) What's the proposed role of the NSW Coastal Council?

The NSW Coastal Council's role will be to provide independent advice to the Minister administering the new Coastal Management Act on matters relating to the Minister's functions under the Act, and in relation to the development and implementation of coastal management programs by local councils. In addition the Coastal Council may, at the Minister's request, provide advice to another public authority on matters relating to coastal management.

Specific aspects of the Coastal Council's role may include providing advice to the Minister on the certification of coastal management programs, on the implementation of a coastal management program following a performance audit, and on technical or scientific matters strategic importance such as sea level rise.

40) How does this role differ from that of the current NSW Coastal Panel?

The NSW Coastal Council will replace the current NSW Coastal Panel, as well as the non-statutory Coastal Expert Panel. However, unlike the current Coastal Panel, the Coastal Council will not have a development consent role, rather it will be focussed on the advisory functions noted under question 39. Further information on new development consent arrangements is provided under questions 43 to 47.

41) What will be the composition of the NSW Coastal Council?

Consistent with the government's previous commitments, the NSW Coastal Council is to comprise members that are independent of government. The Council will consist of between three and seven members appointed by the Minister. Reflecting the diversity of issues associated with coastal management, the membership is to include expertise from the fields of coastal geomorphology, coastal engineering, coastal land use planning, coastal ecology, social science, economics and local government management. Further details on how the Council will be established are set out in the draft Bill.

42) Will there be any relationship between the NSW Coastal Council and the advisory bodies established under the Marine Estate Management Act 2014?

Yes. It is proposed that the NSW Coastal Council include one member nominated by the Ministers administering the Marine Estate Management Act. The nominee would need to have expertise in one of the fields relevant to the Council. If practicable, the nominee could be a member of the Marine Estate Expert Knowledge Panel. This proposal for cross-membership will allow issues of common interest to be identified and support collaboration where relevant and appropriate.

F. Development consent for coastal protection works

43) Why have the approval pathways for coastal protection works changed?

The current approval pathways for coastal protection works are unnecessarily complex and risk creating inconsistencies in development assessment processes. The new approval pathways address these issues and emphasise the importance of a council developing and adopting a coastal management program to guide the strategic management of the coast.

The involvement of a Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP), with appropriate expertise, in determining development applications for certain coastal protection works by private landowners or public authorities recognises that coastal protection works may give rise to significant long term environmental and social impacts if not designed, installed or maintained appropriately.

44) Will the Joint Regional Planning Panels have access to coastal management expertise?

Yes. The draft Coastal Management Bill includes proposed amendments to the EP&A Act that will ensure that a JRPP that is determining a development application for coastal protection works includes members with expertise in coastal engineering and coastal geomorphology.

45) Will the provisions of section 55M of the current Coastal Protection Act be included in the new Act?

Yes. The draft Coastal Management Bill includes heads of consideration designed to protect beaches and headlands from the impacts of coastal protection works. Provisions relating to conditions of consent have been incorporated into related conditions within the EP&A Act.

46) What's happened to temporary coastal protection works?

Provisions for temporary coastal protections works are not included in the draft Coastal Management Bill. This is because the new framework requires significant proposals for coastal management to be considered strategically through the development of a coastal management program. Shorter-term works by public authorities, for instance in response to beach erosion as a result of storm activity, are included in emergency work provisions in the draft Bill and Coastal Management SEPP. Private landowners can continue to seek consent for coastal protection works, whether temporary or longer-term. There has been limited use of the current provisions for temporary coastal protections works since they were introduced.

47) Are there any changes to where councils may obtain sand for beach nourishment activities?

No. The new framework does not make any changes in this regard. In particular, the current prohibition on extracting sand from national parks for this purpose still applies.

G. Compliance and enforcement

48) Will the new Coastal Management Act include offences, enforcement powers and penalties?

To reduce regulatory overlap, enforcement of the new legislative arrangements will occur under the EP&A Act. The draft Bill includes amendments to the EP&A Act to ensure it provides the provisions necessary to, for instance, address cases of unauthorised works on beaches.

A fact sheet on compliance (PDF 363KB) has been prepared to provide further detail on this integrated approach.

H. Consultation on the reforms

49) What consultation has occurred in developing the reform package?

Development of the reforms has been informed by community and local government input and views received since the start of stage one of the coastal reforms, and by extensive consultation with coastal councils from mid-2014.

The Office of Environment and Heritage has also worked closely with relevant state agencies to develop the proposed new arrangements, including the Department of Planning and Environment, the Office of Local Government, the Department of Primary Industries (including Lands), the Department of Premier and Cabinet, NSW Treasury and the State Emergency Service.

The Coastal Expert Panel has provide considerable input to the development of the reform proposals.

50) How can I make a submission on the coastal reforms? What happens next?

The public consultation period on the draft coastal management framework closed on 29 February 2016. The draft framework exhibited for public comment consisted of the following three elements:

  • a draft Coastal Management Bill
  • an Explanation of Intended Effect for the proposed new Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP)
  • a draft coastal management manual.

The NSW Government is now reviewing submissions received during the public consultation period and further input will be gathered from the Coastal Expert Panel and government working groups. OEH will also work closely with coastal managers, particularly in local councils, in refining the manual.

In response to valuable community feedback obtained during the initial consultation phase, a full draft Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) and corresponding maps of the coastal management areas will also be released separately for public comment in the coming months.

I. Additional questions – February 2016

51) Will the draft Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy be exhibited for public consultation?

The NSW Government intends to undertake public consultation on a draft Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP), including the maps of the coastal management areas, in the coming months.

Submissions on the Explanation of Intended Effect for the Coastal Management SEPP as part of this consultation process will inform the development of the draft Coastal Management SEPP.

52) How will councils be involved in mapping the coastal management areas?

The NSW Government intends to consult with councils on mapping the coastal management areas. This process recognises that more detailed local information may exist to guide coastal planning and management.

This consultation will inform mapping of the coastal management areas. The draft maps will be available for public comment as part of a draft Coastal Management SEPP in the coming months.

53) When will the maps of the coastal management areas be available for public comment?

The maps of the coastal management areas are still being developed and will be placed on public exhibition with a draft Coastal Management SEPP in the coming months.

54) How will the maps be presented?

The maps will be available online at the time of public consultation on a draft Coastal Management SEPP.

55) What should councils do with their current Coastal Zone Management Plan processes during the reforms?

Councils are encouraged to continue with current Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) processes during the reforms and submit CZMPs for certification as soon as possible.

The draft Bill includes transitional provisions that allow councils to move towards the new arrangements over time, and councils will not be expected to start over. Those councils that have certified CZMPs in place when the new Coastal Management Act commences, or that have submitted plans to the Minister for certification by that time, will be able to transition their Coastal Zone Management Plans into coastal management programs under a staged process, and will have until 2021 to be fully compliant. Coastal management programs (CMP) will build on these existing plans and update them over time to ensure they continue to meet the state's objectives and remain targeted and effective.

The Office of Environment and Heritage and other relevant NSW Government agencies will support councils through this process with operational guidance. More specific advice on individual circumstances can be sought from OEH.

Page last updated: 01 March 2016