Member Councils and their AreasThe Sydney Coastal Councils Group Inc. (SCCG) was established in 1989 to promote co-ordination between Member Councils on environmental issues relating to the sustainable management of the urban coastal environment. The Group consists of 15 Councils adjacent to Sydney marine and estuarine environments and associated waterways, and represents over 1.4 million Sydneysiders.

Sydney Swell Conditions
Sydney Weather

Making Waves 

The SCCG Monthly Update

MATTERS OF INTEREST

Sydney’s Salty Communities - we’re inviting quotations

Salty EOI

Would you like to contribute to an exemplar project which will build the resilience of coastal habitats, foreshore and intertidal areas in response to urbanisation and climate change?

We are inviting quotations from biodiversity and conservation experts to undertake a comprehensive literature, practice and data review. The budget is $35,000.00 plus GST. Quotations are encouraged from consortia.  

For details of the project, please refer to the project webpage.

If you would like a copy of the Request for Quotation (RFQ) document, please contact Stephen Summerhayes, Manager Projects and Programs at Stephen@sydneycoastalcouncils.com.au

The provision of the RFQ is on the basis that you agree to use it solely for the purpose of submitting a quotation or considering whether or not to submit one. Quotations are due by 12pm, Monday 13 October 2014

Recent Project Launch: Emergency Management Planning
Emergency Management Health Check

On 17 September 2014 we launched the outcomes from our project Emergency Management Planning: Piloting a Health Check for Local Government. The Launch featured a Forum and Panel Discussion looking at the role of Local Government in emergency management planning, with a particular focus on measuring the capability and resilience of Local Government and their communities, and ways to assist Local Government fulfil their roles in emergency management. 

Click here for more information on the project. 

SCCG 25 Year Anniversary

The SCCG is turning 25!

We are celebrating 25 years of caring for our coast in 2014. Since our establishment in 1989, when we spearheaded the campaign to end shoreline sewage outfalls on Sydney’s iconic beaches, we have grown to become a recognised leader in sustainable coastal and estuarine management. Now with 15 Member Councils, the Group represents over 1.4 million Sydneysiders. 

To commemorate this significant milestone we held a Conference and Gala Evening on 29 August 2014. The two events brought together representatives from our 15 Member Councils, including Councillors and technical staff, State government agencies and industry leaders, to reflect on our history and scope future directions for the Group over the next 25 years. A Conference Outcomes Report will be available shortly. Click here for more information. 

NSW POLICY AND LAW REFORM

Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review

Commonwealth Marine Reserves

The Commonwealth Government has set aside a suite of an Expert Scientific Panel will review the science supporting the current Commonwealth Marine Reserves recently developed management plans for Australia’s marine reserves. The plans were due to come into effect in July 2014, but instead will be replaced by a new set of plans following a Marine Reserves Review currently underway. The Government states it is delivering on its election commitment for a ‘More Competitive and Sustainable Fisheries Sector’. The Review has two related streams:

  • five Bioregional Advisory Panels will facilitate enhanced consultation with stakeholders on Commonwealth Marine Reserves. 

Terms of reference for the review have been released:

  • options for zoning, and zoning boundaries, and allowed uses
  • future priorities for scientific research and monitoring relating to marine biodiversity within the marine reserves
  • options for addressing information gaps to support evidence-based decisions
  • advice on areas of contention within marine reserves and related zoning boundaries
  • recommendations for improving the inclusion of social and economic considerations into decision-making for marine reserves
  • suggestions for ongoing engagement of regional stakeholders. 

There will be an opportunity for written submissions and participation in an online survey as part of the review. More information on the review is available here. You can also subscribe to updates on the review’s progress here.

Climate Council report on coastal flooding risk

Counting the Costs

The Climate Council has released a report on climate change and coastal flooding. The report finds that Australia is highly vulnerable to increasing coastal flooding due to extensive development. Climate change will exacerbate coastal flooding and put many natural and built assets at risk. The authors calculate that $2.26 billion worth of infrastructure and homes would be at risk under a scenario of 1.1m sea level rise. The authors call for urgent cuts in greenhouse gas emissions this decade and beyond to avoid the most serious risks from rising sea levels and coastal flooding. More information can be found on the Council’s website

New laws on clearing in bushfire prone areas

10/50 Code of Practice

New laws have commenced which make changes to rules governing native vegetation clearing in bushfire prone areas. The 10/50 Vegetation Clearing Code of Practice allows people who live in designated ‘10/50 vegetation clearing entitlement areas' to clear trees on their property within 10 metres of a home without seeking approval, and clear underlying vegetation (such as shrubs) within 50 metres of a home without seeking approval. Read more about the new code of practice on the NSW Rural Fire Service website.

The new changes override protections for threatened species and ecological communities and there are some concerns that critical remnant bushland may be affected. There is also concern that compliance will be difficult to monitor as the scheme is self-regulated.

The NSW Parliamentary Research Service has prepared an e-brief which explains the current NSW regulatory regime, summarises the new changes and canvasses some stakeholder responses to the proposed reforms. It also examines the related Victorian regulatory scheme. Click here to access the e-brief. 

‘Fit for the Future’ – reforming Local Government 

The NSW Government has announced reforms to Local Government. The Fit for the Future package is based on the Independent Local Government Review Panel’s recommendations following three years of research and consultation. According to the Government, the package includes:

  • $258 million to assist councils who decide to merge and make the changes needed to provide better services to communities
  • cheaper finance for councils to build and maintain necessary community facilities, saving them up to $600 million
  • up to $100 million savings through reduced red tape and duplication
  • improvements to the local government system, including the laws that govern it, the way the State works with councils and the support that councils receive.

The Government says Councils will have until 30 June 2015 to submit their proposal on how they plan to be Fit for the Future. It will be assessed by independent experts against independently-set criteria. More information is available here

Species of National Environmental Significance Database

The Australian Department of the Environment has released maps and data about the distribution of species protected under the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999. Species covered by the database include migratory species, as well as native plants and animals that are listed as vulnerable, endangered and critically endangered. The maps are indicative rather than definitive, and they are a starting point for further investigation.

The maps and database are now open to the public. The Department encourages the community to provide feedback so that the maps can be kept up to date. View the resources on the Department’s website.

Biodiversity Legislation Review
The Acts that currently protect native fauna and flora are being reviewed

Submissions have now closed on the NSW Government’s Biodiversity Legislation Review. An independent panel has been appointed to consider the policy settings, programs and funding arrangements that support the management of biodiversity, threatened species and native vegetation in the State. The review aims to establish simpler, streamlined and more effective legislation that will: 

  • facilitate the conservation of biological diversity
  • support sustainable development
  • reduce red-tape. 

For more information, click here. 

Draft Regional Boating Plans under development

NSW Regional Boating Plans

The Maritime Management Centre (MMC) and Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) are undertaking a state-wide study of existing boating facilities and safety measures to inform the development of Regional Boating Plans for each of the major waterways in NSW. The study seeks to identify actions required to enhance the boating experience across NSW by improving boating safety, boat storage and waterway access on major waterways. 

Draft plans have been released for a number of regions along the NSW coast. As each draft plan is produced, it is made available on the MMC website and comments can be made to mmc@transport.nsw.gov.au

For more information, or to view the draft plans, click here

More information on recent policy and law reforms is available in the latest edition of our quarterly newsletter, Coastal Currents.

SCCG PROJECTS UPDATE

Sydney’s Salty Communities – Turning the Tide on Blue+Green Carbon

Sydney's Salty Communities

We have issued a Request for Quotations for a Coastal Biodiversity Literature, Data and Practice Review. We are also finalising the formation of the project’s independent Reference Group. This group of eminent individuals will provide specialist technical input, guide and/or undertake research, review prioritisation and evaluate sub-projects under the devolved grants program. Members of the Reference Group have expertise in Sydney’s coastal ecosystems, ecological restoration, urban biodiversity and organisational capacity-building and will provide help to achieve project outcomes. 

We are also developing the process for assessing project proposals for Salty devolved grants. Funding will be available to fill research and policy gaps, provide key resources and to primarily undertake on-ground planting, weed control and rehabilitation of remnant coastal vegetation communities and key habitats across Sydney. Head to the project web page for more information. 

Emergency Risk Management: A Health Check for Local Government

Emergency Management Health Check

A formal launch on the 17th of September demonstrated the Health Check for local government staff and other stakeholders. Guest speakers supported the launch and participants engaged in a Q&A around the roles of local government in emergency management. An Outcomes Report will be available shortly. 

The council results from the Health Check evaluation show considerable variation across the seven priorities of the National Strategy for Disaster Resilience, which we used to structure the Health Check. The variation identifies different commitments both to different priorities, and between goals within priorities. These differences can reflect different needs and resourcing between councils. Councils can identify opportunities for cost effective opportunities for improved emergency management outcomes based on these results. 

Feedback from the extended trial with 30 city and regional councils informed significant improvements to the Health Check. The new format simplifies the assessment by focusing on the higher level “goals” and uses a number of “prompts” to inform the goal and to provide advice on good practice approaches. A completely new user interface provides a simpler format and more review and reporting functions. 

The Health Check provides a way forward for improved emergency management through good practice, as it applies to each council, rather than an audit. The new format encourages users to record current and future possible actions to inform both the evaluation and as a path forward for improved emergency management planning. Click here for more information.

Sydney Harbour Coastal Zone Management Plan (CZMP) Scoping Study 

SHCZMP LogoOn 16 April 2014 the Project consultant, GHD Pty. Limited, conducted a stakeholder workshop to capture the knowledge and expertise of stakeholders pertaining to Sydney Harbour.  Input was sought on the priority issues that should be addressed and managed on a whole-of-system basis when dealing with coastal zone management for Sydney Harbour.  

A key deliverable for the consultant is to investigate, evaluate and synthesise in a report literature and data related to management and use of the Harbour. The Project Advisory Committee and a stakeholder survey assisted to populate the literature evaluated. The consultant has completed a draft of the Literature Review which was sent to the Advisory Committee for review and comment. The consultant is now addressing those comments and the final Literature Review will be available shortly.

For more information on the project, click here.  

GRANT OPPORTUNITIES

Waste Less, Recycle More - NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA)

Over five years, $465.7 million in grants is being awarded to local governments, businesses, industry and the community to stimulate new investment and transform waste and recycling in NSW. There are a number of grant programs funded under the Waste Less, Recycle More initiative, and applications for Round 2 are expected to open from August 2014. Click here for more information. 

Building Resilience to Climate Change

The NSW Government is now accepting applications for Building Resilience to Climate Change grants which are part of a $1 million program funded through the Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH) and the NSW Environmental Trust. Applications are invited for projects that address extreme heat or adapt priority infrastructure until Monday 29 September 2014. Grant guidelines and online application forms can be found here.

The Public Reserves Management Fund – NSW Trade & Investment

The Public Reserves Management Fund provides financial support for the development, maintenance and improvement of public reserves. More than $135M has been allocated by the Fund over the last ten years. Round 2 applications are open until 5pm Friday 3rd October 2014. Click here for more information. 

25th Anniversary Landcare Grants 2014-15

Applications for the 25th Anniversary Landcare Grants 2014-15 are now open. The funding comprises up to $2.5 million for environment focused projects and up to $2.5 million for agriculture focused projects. Grants of between $5,000 and $20,000 will assist community groups and individuals to undertake projects to conserve and protect their local environment and/or to manage the natural resource base, contributing to outcomes in the national interest. Applications are invited until 2pm Monday 20 October 2014. Click here for more information.  

Metropolitan Greenspace Program

The NSW Government invites applications to its Metropolitan Greenspace Program, a grants funding program for planning and improvement of regional open space in the greater metropolitan Sydney region. Applications are invited for capital works and planning projects, including walking tracks, bushland restoration, cultural heritage studies, and conservation management plans, until Friday 31 October 2014. Click here for more information. 

Check out the SCCG Funding Guide for other grant opportunities: www.sydneycoastalcouncils.com.au/funding_guide 

AWARD OPPORTUNITES

NSW Coastal Management Awards

Nominations for the NSW Coastal Management Awards are now open. The annual Awards are presented to publicly recognise and acknowledge the contributions of individuals, groups, organisations and agencies toward the ecologically sustainable management of the NSW coastal zone. The Awards will be presented at the NSW Coastal Conference Dinner in November. Entries close Friday 10 October 2014. Click here for more information. 

UPCOMING EVENTS

Climate Adaptation 2014 (NCCARF), Gold Coast – 29 September - 2 October 2014

 
Climate Adaptation 2014 is a national conference focused on the information needed to ensure Australia is adapting well to climate change. The conference will bring together researchers, practitioners and decision makers to share knowledge and research approaches that inform policy and practice in planning for climate change. It will showcase the contribution of adaptation science to planning and policy making across Australia, and how robust adaptation decisions can be made in the face of uncertainty. For more information, click here.  
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23rd Annual NSW Coastal Conference, Ulladulla – 11-14 November 2014
The 23rd NSW Coastal Conference will be held on 11-14 November in Ulladulla, NSW. The three day event is comprised of plenary sessions, concurrent sessions, field trips (addressing some of the local coastal, estuary and marine management issues), networking events and the Annual NSW Coastal Management Awards. To register, or for more information, click here

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