Stage 1 coastal reforms overview
The legislative amendments associated with stage one of the NSW Government's coastal reforms commenced on 21 January 2013.
The main elements of the stage 1 coastal reforms are:
amendment of the Coastal Protection Act 1979
by the Coastal Protection Amendment Act 2012
to make it easier for landowners to place large sandbags on beaches as temporary coastal protection works, to reduce erosion impacts during minor storms. Landowners will still be able to lodge a development application for larger works.
- clarifying what information councils should put in section 149 certificates relating to projected sea level rise impacts - new guidelines will be prepared for councils by the Department of Planning and Infrastructure.
- giving councils the flexibility to consider coastal hazards in the context of their local circumstances – the State Government will no longer recommend statewide sea level rise benchmarks for councils.
The Coastal Protection Amendment Act 2012 amends the Coastal Protection Act 1979 to:
a) allow landowners to more readily place large sandbags as temporary coastal protection works (formerly known as emergency coastal protection works) in the Coastal Protection Act 1979. These temporary coastal protection works must be placed in accordance with the requirements of Part 4C of the Coastal Protection Act, the Code of Practice and any council coastal erosion emergency action subplan. The main changes for these temporary coastal protection works are:
the works will be able to be placed at any time on public or private land - landowners will no longer need to wait until erosion is occurring or imminent
previous restrictions which limit private landowners placing these works on their land only once and only for 12 months have been lifted
previous restrictions on the maximum period allowed for works on public land have been increased to two years (formerly one year), commencing on the placement of the works
landowners no longer need a certificate from the council or the Office of Environment and Heritage before placing works on private land but a certificate will still be needed for works on public land
b) halve the maximum penalties for offences under the Act relating to the inappropriate use of sandbags on beaches.
Powers of authorised officers to remove temporary coastal protection works have been retained where works are causing increased erosion, unreasonably limiting public access to a beach or headland, or presenting a threat to public safety.
In addition to the above, the Code of Practice for temporary works will be further updated to consider the possiblity to further relax specific requirements for these works, where this is appropriate. The updated code will be released for public consultation in early 2013.
Other supporting actions in the stage 1 reforms are:
- developing a guide for coastal erosion hazard mapping by councils
- preparing a business case for an expert advice centre proposed by the Chief Scientist and Engineer to provide independent advice to councils
- the Minister for the Environment has given councils an extra 12 months to prepare their coastal zone management plans with their communities to allow time for councils to determine the potential future coastal hazards which reflect local conditions
the Minister will defer certifying any further coastal zone management plans while the Government’s stage 2 reforms are developed as the Government needs to consider how these plans can better link with other legislation
- preparing a fact sheet for communities on the roles of the SES and councils in coastal erosion emergency management, to clarify the current arrangements
the Coastal Ministerial Taskforce, supported by the Coastal Expert Panel, will continue to meet to develop stage 2 coastal erosion reforms, which will consider longer term reforms.
Further information on the stage one reforms is available on a questions and answers page.
Page last updated: 03 June 2013