The 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.
POLICY AND LAW REFORM
Final report on ‘Fit for the Future’ Council proposals released
On 20 October 2015 IPART released its final report on ‘Fit for the Future’ Council proposals. Each of the 139 proposals (received from 144 Councils) has been assessed as either ‘fit’ or ‘not fit’ against the Fit for the Future criteria established by the NSW Government. To be assessed as fit, Councils must have demonstrated they have sufficient scale and capacity and are financially sustainable. Fifty-two proposals (37%) were assessed as being fit for the future, while 87 proposals (63%) were assessed as not being fit. For more information on the report, click here.
NSW Government reponse to Crown Lands White Paper
On 29 October, the NSW Government released its Response to the Crown Lands Legislation White Paper. The Response outlines the Government’s approach to ensure that the use and management of Crown land continues to meet community expectations across NSW through the development of a single, modern legislative framework.
The NSW Government commissioned a comprehensive review into the management of Crown land in June 2012, with the aim of improving management of Crown land and increasing the benefits and returns from Crown land to the community. Over 600 submissions were made to the Crown Lands Legislation White Paper in 2014. For more information on the review, click here.
Update on Stage 2 Coastal Reforms
Parliamentary Counsel has begun drafting the proposed new Coastal Management Bill. The draft exposure Bill is expected for public release at the NSW Coastal Conference in mid-November. A primary objective of the Bill is to integrate coastal considerations into the legislative frameworks for land use planning and Local Government. The Department of Planning is also developing a Coastal Management SEPP that consolidates existing coastal-specific SEPPs (SEPPs 71, 14 and 26) and is linked to the Coastal Management Bill.
OEH has established a Working Group comprising Councils and other State Agency staff to further contribute to the development of the proposed new Coastal Management Manual. This is expected to be released for consultation with the exposure Bill. The Manual will include guidance on cost-sharing principles and cost-benefit analysis for various coastal management options. For more information on the reforms, click here.
Senate Inquiry into management of sharks in NSW waters
We recently made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into management of sharks in NSW waters. The NSW Legislative Assembly Committee on Investment, Industry and Regional Development has commenced an inquiry into the management of sharks in NSW waters. We have prepared a submission to the Inquiry, focusing on the need to balance public safety and conservation, and advance a partnership approach between local, state and federal governments. Submissions to the Inquiry closed on 23 October 2015. For more information on the review, click here.
Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution
We recently made a submission to the Senate Inquiry into Marine Plastic Pollution. The Inquiry is considering current research, sources and impacts of marine plastic pollution and mitigation options. Our submission highlighted a number of immediate changes the Government can undertake to significantly reduce the volume of plastic pollution entering the marine environment. Submissions to the Inquiry closed on 10 September 2015 and it is due to report by 8 April 2016. For more information, click here.
Review of prices for Sydney Water
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is reviewing Sydney Water’s prices for its water, sewerage, stormwater, trade waste and other services. IPART’s review will occur over a period of 12 months, with new prices to apply from 1 July 2016.
IPART released an Issues Paper on 7 September 2015, in response to Sydney Water’s pricing proposal. Submissions on both the Issues Paper and pricing proposal have closed and are being reviewed. Other opportunities for stakeholders to provide input to the review include participating in the Public Hearing (10 November 2015) and responding to IPART’s Draft Report and Determination (scheduled to be released in March 2016). For more information, click here.
We have prepared a submission to the review, which is available here.
Managing the wastewater system in wet weather
Sydney Water is currently developing a proposal to the EPA to change the way they manage wastewater in the four main wastewater catchments of Malabar, North Head, Bondi and Cronulla. Instead of focusing on the frequency of overflows, a risk-based approach will be developed that takes into account other factors including the volume of overflow, the resilience of the receiving waters and the location of the overflow (and how the receiving waters are used by people). Sydney Water will submit a proposal on the new regulation to the EPA for their approval in December this year. It is expected that the draft regulation will be released for consultation in early 2016. For more information, click here.
More information on recent policy and law reforms is available in the latest edition of our quarterly newsletter, Coastal Currents.
Sydney’s Salty Communities – Turning the Tide on Blue+Green Carbon
Another key aspect of the program is managing coastal ecological communities in the face of rapid change. To do this, we have been working with CSIRO to further develop their Climate Ready Tool, which will be available to members later this year. Several councils have taken part in workshops which use a facilitated approach to this tool to develop their proposals. It has been fascinating to see how thinking changes and possibilities emerge once the tool is used to reframe the project.
The Literature, Data and Practice Review is now complete and has been distributed. The fact sheet is available on our webpage.
Stories are starting to come in from the main round. Keep an eye on the project webpage for all the latest news.
Implementing and Embedding an Emergency Management Health Check for Local Government
In July we commenced a state wide project to enhance, implement and embed the emergency management Health Check that we developed in 2013-2014. The project objectives are to:
The project will include the development of a training package and resources, and will facilitate training workshops for NSW Councils on how to use and embed the health check tool.
For more information, click here.
The NSW Coastal Conference has been held annually for the past 23 years. 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. The Conference attracts over 220 delegates each year, who are interested in or working within the field of coastal and estuary management research, education, service provision and policy.
For more information, click here.
Ian Potter Foundation Environment and Conservation GrantsThrough its Environment & Conservation program area, the Ian Potter Foundation supports urban and regional communities to live sustainably, and preserve biodiversity, in the face of challenges such as land degradation, limited water resources and climate change. Landscape-scale programs that work to protect areas of high conservation value are also a priority. EOIs for Round 1 2016 open 9 November and close 11 December 2015. For more information, click here.
Check out the SCCG Funding Guide for grant and award opportunities.