State of the Environment Report 2021

On Tuesday 19 July, Minister Plibersek released the State of the Environment (SoE) report with a chapter dedicated each to Coasts and the Marine environment.

The four main findings from the Coasts Chapter include:

  1. Coasts are a zone of concentrated biodiversity and productivity
  2. Coasts are under pressure
  3. Climate change will have profound impacts on our coast, particularly sea-level rise, and
  4. Consistent and coordinated management approaches, involving Traditional Custodians, are needed to protect our coasts.

The four main findings from the Marine Chapter include:

  1. Climate change is affecting fundamental aspects of our oceans and increasing the impact of other pressures
  2. Many Australian marine habitats are healthy, but our reefs are declining
  3. Better monitoring and marine management are needed
  4. Even the best management will not stop environmental decline if we do not address climate change and cumulative effects

The SoE report also recognised that it is essential for environmental outcomes that Indigenous people are involved in the management of land and sea country.

Excellence in the Environment Awards 2022

Entries for the Excellence in the Environment Awards 2022 are now open.

These awards aim to recognise outstanding achievements by NSW councils in managing and protecting the environment. There are 14 award categories which are open to any Councils who are members of LGNSW.

For more information about the awards and to enter online, click here.

Entries close at 5pm Wednesday 27 July 2022

SeaBedNSW Mapping

The NSW Department of Planning and Environment has released SeaBedNSW mapping. A free online platform for stakeholders and communities to explore the seabed adjacent to our beaches. The online maps cover the entire state coastline including sea floor depths of up to 35m. They provide detail on sea floor habitat and the data is intended to inform coastal and marine management.

Read more

The 29th NSW Coastal Conference

The SCCG team attended the 29th NSW Coastal Conference (31 May – 2 June) at Kingscliff NSW with this year’s theme being “Living with Uncertainty”.

The conference opened with two keynote speakers, Dr Pierre Wiart, Head of Climate and Risk Management from CoreLogic International and Dr Justine Bell-James, Associate Professor and Director of Higher Degree Research at the University of Queensland.

Dr Wiart presented on the coastal risk impact on the Australian property market and specifically the CoreLogic Methodology that was used to undertake this study.

Dr Bell presented on coastal wetland restoration law, including Blue Carbon restoration policy and barriers to wetland restoration. The notion of a “rolling covenant” concept was discussed as a potential solution to managing coastal wetland use with private landholders, where landholders could have a temporary right to use coastal wetlands until a defining trigger would stop the land use. This could set anticipation for landholders in an uncertain climate and if the established trigger, e.g. sea level rise, did not occur than landholders could continue to use their land without limitations.

There were short presentations throughout the conference on the themes of:

  • Holistic Coastal Management
  • Knowledge, Science & Uncertainty
  • Empowering People
  • Lessons from the Field
  • Policy, Decision Making & Funding

SCCG Executive Officer, Sarah Joyce, gave a presentation on “Cooperation is the key to manage Greater Sydney Harbour”.

The conference finished with presentations from two keynote speakers, Dr Will Glamore, Associate Research Professor, Water Research Laboratory and Sabyah White, environmental activist.

Dr Glamore gave an important reminder to the conference attendees that now is the time to act on reducing global emissions. He reminded attendees that we are in the UN decade on Ecosystem Restoration and emphasised that Blue Carbon was the way to move forward quickly on reducing emissions, as multinational companies become eager to invest in these carbon sequestration schemes. He also suggested that CMPs should have a longer-term focus than 10 years and that governments should be investing in 30-50 year plans.

Ms White who is a 14 year old environmental activist, was a subject in the environmental documentary called Girls for Future which went around the world and places like COP 26. Ms White gave an inspirational speech about the anxiety her and other children feel about inaction and slow action on climate change within Australia. She spoke about the need for more positive actions that give her generation hope for the future.

Prof Bruce Thom closed the conference with an announcement that Newcastle City Council would co-host the 30th NSW Coastal Conference and 16th National Coast to Coast conference in November 2023.

The Gap

Coastal Management SEPP

As of the 1 March 2022, the Coastal Management State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) has been incorporated into the Resilience and Hazards SEPP. Follow this link and see chapter 2 Coastal management. For further information on this, please contact the Department of Planning and Environment.

Watsons Bay from north end

New Crown Land Resources – Development on Foreshore

The Crown Lands Compliance Strategy & Monitoring Unit has recently released three new resources on the Development on foreshore Crown land and waterways. This applies to all waterfront land below the mean high-water mark. To build any new structures or alter any existing structures on Crown lands or waterways, you first need to gain consent from the NSW Department of Planning and Environment as the landowner.

For further information see the new Crown Land resources below:

  • Information Sheet – Development on foreshore Crown land and waterways, Information for waterfront landowners
  • Brochure – Development on foreshore Crown land and waterways
  • Flyer – Storage devices on foreshore Crown land and waterways
Swarovski Waterschool Australia Flyer

Swarovski Waterschool Australia

Earthwatch Australia has become the delivery partner for the Swarovski Waterschool Australia program. This global program began in Austria in 2000, and now spans eight countries across six continents.

Swarovski Waterschool seeks to empower children and their communities around the world to become water ambassadors by providing tools and training that address their local water challenges.

Local delivery partner, Earthwatch Australia, are currently accepting applications from teachers at ALL schools in New South Wales to participate in the Swarovski Waterschool Australia program.

This program aligns with Reconciliation NSW objectives, the Australian Curriculum, and several of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

The 15 successful schools will receive teacher relief grants, travel grants, Indigenous and Environmental education, peer-teaching skills and experience, and three schools will set up on-ground environmental action projects. There will be opportunities to host events, share success stories with students around the globe, and gain access to the Swarovski Waterschool Global Curriculum to enhance classroom learning.

If your school is interested in becoming a Waterschool, click the link to apply before 31 March 2022.

For more information, contact Hannah:

Global Spotlight on Sydney Harbour Film!

The film Sweet water, salt water, Sydney water. How do we sustain a healthy harbour? has been shortlisted by tve (Television for the Environment) for the GSFA 2021 (Global Sustainability Film Awards) in London.

The film was originally developed for the Greater Sydney Harbour Coastal Management Program, currently project managed by the Sydney Coastal Councils Group.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock welcomed the news stating,

“What an amazing achievement by all involved, in particular the twenty councils within the Greater Sydney Harbour catchment that are collaborating with state agencies to develop a whole-of-system CMP for Greater Sydney Harbour,” Mrs Hancock said.

“This beautiful film seamlessly presents the tireless efforts of so many community groups, organisations and sectors of both State and Local Governments to improve the health of the largest natural harbour in the world – Sydney Harbour.”

The nominated video can be viewed here.

Full media release can be viewed here.

Winners of the #LoveYourWaterways Announced!

Thank you to everyone who entered the #LoveYourWaterwaysSydney Instagram photo competition and CONGRATULATIONS to our winners! You can check out the winning photos in the gallery below.

It’s so pleasing to see people in our community actively helping to improve our waterways.

We have awarded five prizes, winners were able to choose a $100 gift voucher from a local store such as a community nursery, bookshop, car wash, pet store or eco-store.

Love Your Waterways is a community campaign that encourages people to take up five simple actions to prevent litter, pet waste, gardening materials, chemicals and other pollutants from entering our waterways.

The campaign is proudly presented by: Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, Parramatta River Catchment Group, and Sydney Coastal Councils Group.

A big thank you also to our member Councils for their support during the campaign.

Have your say on Litter!

Do you want to contribute to litter free waterways? We are developing a Litter Prevention Strategy that covers the Greater Sydney Harbour and Parramatta River to help stop litter from entering our waterways and flowing into the ocean. To have your say on this issue and help guide how litter can be better managed and reduced by councils and the community, please complete the Regional Litter Prevention Community Survey.

It should take less than 10 minutes and you can enter to win one of four $75 vouchers to be used at the online store Flora and Fauna. Please fill out your details at the end of the survey and entries must be received by 31st of August 2021.  The project is funded by the NSW Environment Protection Authority.


To find out more about the Greater Sydney Harbour Regional Litter Prevention Strategy, visit our Project Page.