Coasts, Estuaries and Floodplains

Councils along the NSW coast are faced with special land management challenges and issues, including:

  • A diversity of habitats and environments
  • High population densities and growth rates
  • High levels of visitation and tourism, often seasonal
  • Existing and potential risks from coastal hazards including inundation, erosion and land instability issues
  • The need to balance private and public amenity
  • The provision of suitable infrastructure
  • The impacts of an uncertain climate future including extreme storm events and sea level rise.

LGNSW advocates to governments on behalf of our members - and assists our members with advice - on coastal and floodplain issues.

Coastal Reforms

The NSW Government commenced Stage 1 Coastal Reforms in 2010. This included:

  • The identification of coastal “hot-spots”
  • Requirements for councils to develop Coastal Zone Management Plans
  • Establishment of the Coastal Panel
  • Regulatory changes to allow landholders to carry out temporary coastal protection works
  • Requirements for inclusion of notification of coastal hazards on section 149 Certificates.

Consultation on the Stage 2 Coastal Reforms commenced in 2015, covering a number of legislative and policy changes including:

  • A new Coastal Management Act that integrates coastal management and planning requirements into council land use planning responsibilities under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) and community and strategic planning responsibilities under the Local Government Act 1993.
  • A Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) which integrates and repeal three SEPPs which relate to coastal matters specifically.
  • A new Coastal Management Manual to provide guidance to councils in developing a Coastal Management Program and address the requirements of the Coastal Management Act.

Further details of the Coastal Management Reforms are available on the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage website.

LGNSW submission on the Stage 2 coastal management reforms (PDF, 258KB)

LGNSW submission on the Draft State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management) 2016 (PDF, 162KB)

Floodplain Management

Flooding in NSW has the potential to cause severe economic damage, social hardship and environmental damage. Flooding costs our economy about $250 million each year, and the human impact is greater still. However, it also plays a vital ecological role in revitalising our priority environmental assets.

Local Government in NSW has the primary responsibility for controlling the development of flood-prone land, but the NSW Government and the State Emergency Service (SES) also have important roles to play in managing the flood risk across the state.

Support for Councils

To assist councils in managing both coastal and floodplain areas, the NSW Government runs the Coast & Estuary Management Program and the Floodplain Management Program. Both programs provide financial assistance to councils to implement priority planning and management actions in their local areas. More information can be found on the programs’ website.

View case studies on this topic.