Get the Site Right Campaign kicks off for May 2024

1 May 2024

Builders urged to ‘get the site right’ to avoid wasting costly building supplies and protect our waterways

Builders and developers are being urged to safeguard their construction materials from high wind and other strong weather events to prevent pollution of local waterways as this year’s Get the Site Right campaign kicks off on Wednesday 1 May.

Now in its eighth year, Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, NSW Dept of Planning, Housing and Infrastructure (DPHI), NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), Parramatta River Catchment Group, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, WaterNSW, and councils across NSW.

As part of the month-long campaign, officers from the NSW EPA, DPHI, and more than 20 councils will participate in inspections for a one-day compliance blitz on Thursday 16 May.

The 2024 campaign’s focus is on pollution prevention through securing construction materials.

2023’s Get the Site Right blitz saw a 6% increase in compliance between the May and October campaigns and the taskforce is aiming for even higher levels of compliance this year.

To read the full media release, click the link below:

SCCG Media Release Get the Site Right May 2024.

NSW waterways benefit from continued improvement in building site compliance

Get the Site Right October 2023 Campaign

More NSW builders are ‘getting the site right’ according to results from the latest inspection blitz in October 2023.

Regulatory staff from 17 councils across Greater Sydney and regional NSW conducted 1,178 inspections of 978 building and construction sites.

Almost 70 per cent of sites were found to be compliant following a second inspection – an increase of six per cent in compliance since the previous inspection blitz in May 2023.

There was also an 18 per cent improvement in compliance between first and second inspections, highlighting the importance of regular monitoring and ongoing education.

For non-compliant sites, councils issued 66 penalty notices to the value of $314,824.

Offences included poorly stabilised access points and damaged or no sediment fences and other controls.

Sediment not properly contained on building sites can be washed or blown off the site and into stormwater drains, reducing water quality in local waterways and harming aquatic life.

Sydney Coastal Council’s Group (SCCG) Chair, Councilor Jack Boyd, said the continued improvement in compliance rate was encouraging as the group continues its efforts to improve water quality and waterway health in Sydney’s waterways.

“The steady improvement in compliance rate highlights the important role builders and developers play in protection our local waterways and environment,” Cr Boyd said.

“It is very pleasing to see so many councils participating in the Get the Site Right campaign in a strong and coordinated effort across Sydney’s waterways once again and I commend all our SCCG councils for getting involved,” Cr Boyd said.

Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, NSW Environment Protection Authority, NSW Dept of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water, Parramatta River Catchment Group, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, WaterNSW, and councils across NSW.

The next inspection blitz will be held in May 2024.

Members of the public are encouraged to report pollution incidents, including poor sediment control, to their local council or via the NSW EPA’s 24-hour Environment Line on 131 555.

For the full media release, please click here.

Sydney coastal councils reject NSW Government’s attempts to shift costs for NSW Beachwatch to local government

The NSW Government is attempting to shift the costs of its successful and long-running NSW Beachwatch program to coastal councils in Sydney.  The NSW Beachwatch program helps people make informed decisions about when and where to swim.

Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG), representing nine coastal and estuarine councils in Sydney, supports the program’s value to not only local residents but to the broader NSW community and international tourists that visit our world-renowned beaches.  However, it rejects the NSW Government’s attempts to shift the cost of the program to local councils for what is a state government responsibility.

Generally, Councils have no control over the land or waterways below mean high water where Beachwatch monitoring is conducted.  Councils also have no control over sewers which is the primary source of bacteriological contamination of waterways that impact on swimming.

Costs for the service provided by the NSW Government to coastal councils represent a significant financial impost on councils that are already grappling with increasing community expectations, constrained budgets and other forms of state government cost-shifting.

In light of this, the SCCG calls on the NSW Government to maintain the NSW Beachwatch program as a fully-funded state program without shifting costs to Sydney coastal councils.

SCCG also calls on the Minister for the Environment, in consultation with the Minister for Water, to request Sydney Water, as the provider of sewerage services in Sydney, to take a role in water quality monitoring at Beachwatch sites.

Channel 7 recently featured the Smarter Cleaner Sydney Harbour

With technology provided through Australia’s national science agency, CSIRO. This project will improve monitoring of litter in our waterways. It will combine data from cameras on drains and waterways plus sensors on stormwater assets, together with advanced data analytics.
Cameras had been installed on bridges over important drains and waterways. This will allow us to use smart analysis and artificial intelligence to spot litter in the water. The video software can tell the difference between a chip packet and a soda bottle. This is useful information for the Councils and groups that take care of our waterways.
Sensors will be installed on gross pollutant traps as part of the project. These sensors will tell local councils and government groups when the traps are full and need to be emptied. The sensor alerts will make sure we can clean these traps quickly, so they don’t overflow.

SCCG is using artificial intelligence to tackle rubbish in local waterways and improve the health of our waterways, for everyone to enjoy.

Channel 7 recently featured the Smarter Cleaner Sydney Harbour. Watch it here!

2022-23 NSW State Budget Highlights

New funding for environment and heritage in Budget 2022-23 include:

  • $286.2 million over four years to implement the NSW Waste and Sustainable Materials Strategy 2041 and NSW Plastics Action Plan
  • $148.4 million over two years to manage the clean-up and removal of flood and storm-related damage, debris and green waste from the 2022 floods
  • $106.7 million over three years to increase the supply of biodiversity offset credits through a new Biodiversity Credits Supply Fund
  • $42.9 million over four years for the Me-Mel (Goat Island) Remediation, paving the way for the transfer of the island to the First Nations communities
  • $18.5 million over 10 years to expand Beachwatch to a state-wide program, meeting community demand for water-quality monitoring in NSW swim sites
  • $60 million of continued funding for the Saving our Species program

(These figures were reported by the Australian Financial News to access the direct news source and to read more, click here.)

Other important budget highlights include:

  • $182 million to fund the remaining six years of the 10-year Marine Estate Management Strategy
  • $34.3 million to support climate change adaptation with options for cost-effective emissions reductions without the loss of productivity, increased carbon storage and sequestration, and adoption of energy-efficient and renewable-energy technologies that support sustainable adaptation to climate change

(These figures were reported by the Australian Financial News to access the direct news source and to read more, click here.)

$1 million for smart tech to eliminate waste and go circular

Applications close Friday 29 April for the first NSW Smart City Innovation Challenge which invites start-ups and small businesses to pitch data-focused solutions to help NSW become zero-waste, with funds of up to $1 million for the successful applicant to partner with the NSW Government to test their solution. Funding will be provided through the Smart Places Acceleration Program.

Deputy Secretary for Cities and Active Transport, Kiersten Fishburn said, “We’re rethinking how we work with the private sector to target new and emerging solutions. This Innovation Challenge will help us find fresh ideas to tricky problems, and start-ups are given a chance to partner with the NSW Government. It is a win-win”.

For the full press release click here.

Waterways to boost green spaces and cool the West

A total water cycle management outcome has been developed for the Western Sydney Aerotropolis in consultation with Sydney Water. Under this management approach, stormwater will be diverted into natural water channels and collected, treated, and harvested as recycled water to support greening in the local area. This will reduce the reliance of drinking water to green our cities and allow for recreational activities to be enjoyed around the planned stormwater infrastructure.

For the full press release click here.

For further details see section 4.5 Blue-Green Infrastructure Framework in the Western Sydney Aerotropolis Precinct Plan.

Beach clouds

NSW Government announcement on offshore exploration & mining

Offshore exploration and mining for commercial purposes will be ruled out in NSW under a landmark policy introduced by the NSW Government.

Deputy Premier and Minister responsible for Resources Paul Toole today announced the NSW Government will not support commercial applications for offshore mineral, coal or petroleum exploration or mining, in or adjacent to, NSW coastal waters. Follow this link for the full media release.

Extension for Coastal Management Programs

On 21 October 2021, the Minister for Local Government, Shelley Hancock MP, announced that Coastal Councils will be given a two year extension to complete their coastal management programs. Under the Coastal Management Amendment Bill 2021 councils now have until 31 December 2023 for the Coastal Zone Management Plan to be competed including implementation of the identified actions. The Coastal and Estuary Grants Program allows funding for CZMP actions at a funding ration of 1:1. Funding for preparation and implementation of Coastal Management Program is at 2:1.

The Minister announced this important amendment by way of a media release, stating “we recognise local councils up and down the coast have been doing it tough these past two years so this extension is a sensible measure to prevent any council from falling behind”.

Minister Hancock went on to say “the extra time will also allow councils to carry out planned emergency works during major coastal erosion events that are addressed in their CZMPs while they continue to develop a CMP”.

For further information, see the full media release here.



New NSW Coastal Council

On 8 May 2020, Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock issued a media release to announce the appointment of the new NSW Coastal Council.

Ms Annelise Tuor has been appointed as the Chair, with out-going Chair Bruce Thom continuing on as a member of the Council.

Of the 7 positions held by the Council, 4 are newly appointed Council members. The new Coastal Council includes:

  • Ms Annelise Tuor
  • Dr Kate Brooks
  • Ms Pam Dean-Jones
  • Emeritus Professor Bruce Thom
  • Mr Martijn Gough
  • Dr Hannah Power
  • Dr Shay Simpson

The significant contributions of outgoing Council members was acknowledged by Minister Hancock.

The SCCG wishes to congratulate new members and looks forward to continuing it’s close collaboration with these appointees.