Coastal management framework

The NSW Government has established a modern and integrated coastal management framework to better equip coastal communities to respond to existing and future coastal management challenges and opportunities.

The new framework aims to have thriving and resilient coastal communities living and working on a healthy coast, now and into the future.

The framework comprises:

  • Coastal Management Act 2016 (CM Act)
  • State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018
  • NSW Coastal Management Manual
  • Coastal Management Programs
  • NSW Coastal Council
  • Coastal and Estuary Grants Program.

Coastal Management Act 2016

The Coastal Management Act 2016 establishes the framework and overarching objects for coastal management in New South Wales.

The purpose of the CM Act is to manage the use and development of the coastal environment in an ecologically sustainable way, for the social, cultural and economic well-being of the people of New South Wales.

The CM Act also supports the aims of the Marine Estate Management Act 2014, as the coastal zone forms part of the marine estate.

The CM Act defines the coastal zone, comprising 4 coastal management areas:

  1. coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests area
  2. coastal vulnerability area
  3. coastal environment area
  4. coastal use area.

The CM Act establishes management objectives specific to each of these management areas, reflecting their different values to coastal communities.

The CM Act replaces the Coastal Protection Act 1979.

State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018

The State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2018 (CM SEPP) identifies and maps the coastal zone according to definitions in the CM Act. The CM SEPP streamlines coastal development assessment requirements.

The CM SEPP identifies development controls for consent authorities to apply to each coastal management area to achieve the objectives of the CM Act.

The CM SEPP establishes the approval pathway for coastal protection works.

Statewide mapping is available for:

  • coastal wetlands and littoral rainforest area
  • coastal environment area
  • coastal use area.

The CM SEPP has been repealed. The new SEPP (Resilience and Hazards) 2022 has been released.

NSW Coastal Council

The NSW Coastal Council is appointed by the NSW Government to provide independent advice to the Minister on coastal issues.

Coastal management manual

The manual provides mandatory requirements and guidance for the preparation, development, adoption, implementation, amendment and review of coastal management programs.

It provides step by step guidance on how to prepare a coastal management program and integrate coastal management actions with councils' other strategic and land-use planning processes.

Coastal management programs

Coastal management programs (CMPs) will set the long-term strategy for coordinated management of the coast with a focus on achieving the objects of the CM Act. They are prepared by local councils in consultation with their communities and relevant public authorities.

Coastal and Estuary Grants Program

Funding assistance to help councils to prepare and implement CMPs is available through the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program.