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.
MATTERS OF INTEREST
Blue Star Sustainability Awards
The Blue Star Sustainability Awards are Keep NSW Beautiful’s new sustainability awards program. The Blue Stars recognise and celebrate the hard work of NSW citizens who promote responsible environmental management in their local area. Short form submissions are due 20 May 2015. For more information, click here.
Policy Recommendations to political parties contesting the 2015 NSW Election
In the lead up to the NSW Election in March, we prepared a submission to political parties contesting the election identifying eight key policy priorities for coastal management in NSW over the next four years.
The purpose of the submission was twofold - to communicate our position in relation to the key issues identified and to elicit responses from each political party on those issues. We received responses from the Liberal Party, the Labor Party, The Greens, the Christian Democratic Party and the Australian Democrats. The responses have been compiled into a report and can be viewed along with our original submission here.
These responses provide a benchmark for future coastal advocacy activities and we will monitor and evaluate the newly elected Government's performance against our recommendations
2015 Funding Guide now available
Our 2015 Funding Guide is now available. The Guide is produced and updated annually to assist Member Councils identify funding opportunities to support the management and protection of Sydney’s coastal and estuarine environments. The 2015 edition includes over 60 funding programs as well as award opportunities for Member Councils to present their outstanding achievements. To download the Guide, click here.
Happy Beaches Competition
On 21 March, a unique nation-wide competition was launched to find Australia’s saddest beach. The winning beach will be blitzed from sad to happy with the help of the Happy Beaches’ Expert Panel, which includes lead coastal academics and environmentalists. The competition is designed to connect experts from a range of coastal environmental disciplines with communities who need help managing beach issues.
To enter the competition, coastal communities need to enter their sad beach story to Australia’s Happy Beaches competition at www.happybeaches.org. Applications close on Monday 20 April 2015.
Review of Sydney Water Licences
The Independent Pricing and Regulatory Tribunal (IPART) is conducting an end of term review of Sydney Water’s operating licence. The review will inform a new operating licence for the period 2015-2020. IPART is considering ways the licence can be amended to improve Sydney Water’s operational efficiency and reduce costs for customers, while maintaining appropriate service standards. A draft operating licence has been released for consultation. Submissions on the draft licence close on 7 April 2015. Final recommendations are due to the Government in May 2015, with the new operating licence to commence from 1 July 2015. For more information, click here.
In a separate process, the NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) is undertaking a statutory review of the Environment Protection Licences held by Sydney Water for the operation of its sewage treatment systems. Through these licences, the EPA regulates both Sydney Water's sewage treatment plant discharges and discharges from the sewage reticulation system. These licences specify environmental performance requirements, generally negotiated with Sydney Water, taking into account factors such as the likely impact of activity on the environment including the surrounding environmental conditions and best available technology. Written submissions on the review are welcome until Friday 1 May 2015. For more information, click here.
POLICY AND LAW REFORM
Public consultation on establishment of national parks
The National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) is considering opportunities to improve the process for creating new national parks and reserves in NSW. Comment is sought on the proposed directions, socio-economic considerations and community involvement. Submissions are invited until Sunday 12 April 2015. Click here for more information
In our submission to the review, we support the conservation values identified by NPWS, but call for specific targets to expand and enhance the national parks estate. We also recommend improvements to the socio-economic assessment undertaken as part of the establishment process, and the level and nature of community involvement. A copy of our submission is available here.
National Review of Environmental Regulation
On 19 March, the Australian Government released the Interim Report of the National Review of Environmental Regulation. The Review is focusing on identifying unworkable, contradictory or incompatible regulation and seeking opportunities to harmonise and simplify regulations.
The Interim Report has been developed in conjunction with states and territories and is a snapshot of the substantial environmental regulatory reform efforts being undertaken across Australia. For more information, click here.
Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review - deadline for feedback extended
Submissions are now closed on the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review. We completed the Online Survey in March. Our responses highlighted the need for integrated management of the reserve network, underpinned by an intergovernmental National Marine Strategy.
The findings of the Commonwealth Marine Reserves Review will be considered by Government and will inform the development of new management plans. More information on the review is available here. You can also subscribe to updates on the review’s progress here.
Review of Australia's emissions reduction targets
The Climate Change Authority is reviewing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions reduction goals as part of a special review requested by the Federal Minister for the Environment. The Authority will build on its Targets and Progress Review and will publish draft recommendations for public consultation in April. Comments on the review are invited until close of business on Wednesday, 11 March 2015. Click here for more information.
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
A grant development workshop held in March provided an opportunity for Council officers to canvass opportunities for joint work and also to hear best practice on community involvement and monitoring and evaluation techniques. The main grant round for Sydney’s Salty Communities closed 30 March 2015. These are being assessed by member of our Expert Reference Group and details will be finalised in May 2015. A supplementary round will be available mid-2015 which will build on the biodiversity adaptation tool we are developing with the help of the Salty Working Group and our research partner, CSIRO.
Our new project officer, Duncan Webb, started with the program in late March. He will provide valuable support to grant recipients and has already set up some great systems. Much has been done producing a regional biodiversity map for Sydney’s Salty Communities and we will be consulting with our working group and LLS over the coming months to consolidate this. We are also near completion with the Literature, Data and Practice Review which we look forward to sharing soon. Head to the project web page for more information.
Floodplain Management Association (FMA) National Conference – 19-22 May 2015
The FMA Conference has been held annually for over 50 years. Following the success of the FMA's first National Conference at Tweed Heads in 2013, the 55th FMA Conference will again be a National Conference, this time being held in Brisbane, Queensland. The theme for this year's conference is ‘Building a Flood Resilient Australia’, which will focus on Building Resilient Communities and Flood Resilient Buildings and Infrastructure. For more information, click here.
Environment and Conservation Grants - The Ian Potter Foundation
Through 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 open 30 March to 11 May 2015. For more information, click here.
Fenner Conferences on the Environment - Australian Academy of Science (AAS)
The AAS conducts a series of environmental conferences on the environment and conservation issues in Australia and its environs. The purpose of the conferences is to bring together those with relevant scientific, administrative and policy expertise to consider current environmental and conservation problems in Australia. Funding of up to $10,000 is provided to support organisers of the Conference. EOIs close 15 June 2015. For more information, click here.
Check out the SCCG Funding Guide for grant opportunities.