Councils encouraged to apply for funds as new NSW coastal legislation commences

NSW Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton and Planning Minister Anthony Roberts have welcomed the commencement of the NSW Coastal Management Act.

Aerial view, Kiama Harbour Light is an active lighthouse at Blowhole Point, south of Kiama Harbour

The NSW Government worked with councils to deliver the new legislative and regulatory framework to support the coordinated planning and management of the State's coastal areas.

Minister for the Environment Gabrielle Upton said councils are being encouraged to take full advantage of the significant $83.6 million funding package available to support councils to implement the reforms.

"The introduction of the Act is another step towards a modern and integrated way of managing our exceptional coastal areas, to benefit our coastal communities and the whole of NSW," Ms Upton said.

"The new Coastal Management Manual is a key part of the reforms. It provides a step-by-step guidance to coastal councils for preparing coastal management programs with their communities."

Minister for Planning Anthony Roberts said the reform package sets out clear outcomes for our coastal areas that councils would apply to make better decisions for the benefit of our coastal communities, environments and economy.

"The new Act and state environmental planning policy are now more integrated and long-term focused and will improve the quality of on-ground actions and development in coastal areas," Mr Roberts said.

"Councils will be equipped to approach the coastal issues most important to their local communities using the best available science and strategic planning tools.

"Our new state environmental planning policy gives detailed guidance on planning considerations for our most valued and sensitive coastal assets. We also have detailed, interactive mapping that is far more user-friendly and supports better planning decisions."

Ms Upton said that the Act 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 coastal zone management plans under the current laws, and they will not be expected to start over," Ms Upton said.

"Councils that already have certified plans in place, or that have submitted plans for certification, will have until 2021 to update to a coastal management program.

The Office of Environment and Heritage and the Department of Planning will continue to support councils through this process with grant funding, operational guidance and expert technical advice.