Advisory Committee – Building Capacity to Implement the ‘Risk-based Framework’

The Environment, Energy and Science (EES) Group is delivering a water quality initiative to improve the management of urban and rural diffuse source water pollution in NSW, as part of their commitment to implement the Marine Estate Management Strategy (MEMS) 2018-2028.

A key tool being used for this initiative is the ‘Risk-based framework for considering waterway health outcomes in strategic land use planning decisions’ (Risk-based Framework).The Risk-based Framework is a protocol that decision-makers, such as councils and environmental regulators, can use to help manage the impact of land-use activities on the health of waterways in NSW. Since the release of the framework, it has been piloted in several Councils in NSW, including Northern Beaches Council, and recognized in the Greater Sydney Commission’s district plans and the Marine Estate Management Authority’s 10-year Strategy.

One of the actions from MEMA’s Stage 2 Implementation Plan is to build capacity for stakeholders to implement the framework through delivery of guidance materials, industry forums and an online portal (Action 1.2). To achieve this an advisory committee has been set up and the SCCG’s Executive Officer has been invited to stand on this committee. The SCCG look forward to representing the interests of member councils to ensure that the outputs of the building capacity project are relevant to their activities.

Get the Site Right

16 May, 2024 Blitz Day

Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Parramatta River Catchment Group, Cooks River Alliance, Georges River Combined Councils Committee, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, Lake Macquarie Council, NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA), and Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water (DCCEEW), and more than 20 Sydney councils. We are working together to target developers and enforce best practice on commercial and residential building sites, as well as major infrastructure projects, to prevent erosion from building sites and protect our waterways and surrounding environments.

The next Get the Site Right Blitz Day will be held on 16 May, 2024 with participating councils. Watch the site for updates on progress.

Why should you care about erosion and sediment control on building sites?

The suburbs around Sydney’s waterways are booming. Our growing population and need for more housing, schools, roads and other amenities has seen a rise in new residential and commercial developments and construction, as well as increased public expectation for a quality, local waterway which we can safely use for leisure activities.

Did you know that up to four truckloads of soil from a building site can be washed away in a single storm if not properly contained? If sediment such as soil, sand, dirt and mud are not properly managed on building sites they can directly pollute our river and cause severe environmental problems, making it less safe for people to use.

How does sediment spills affect our environment and waterways?

  • Directly pollutes our creeks, river and harbours by filling them with dirt, soil, sand and mud. This leads to poorer water quality, affecting swimming or leisure activities in and around our waterways.
  • Destroys aquatic habitats and smothers native plants and animals that live our waterways.
  • Blocks stormwater drains leading to flooding and overflows.
  • Erodes creek and river banks.
  • Causes health and safety risks such as slippery roads and tripping hazards

Follow the rules

There are rules that developers need to follow to contain and manage sediment on their work site in a responsible manner. It is against the law to breach these rules. Local councils and the NSW Environment Protection Authority have the power to issue penalties from $8000 to $15,000 for each incident.

Home builders and renovators

If you are building or renovating a home, submission of an Erosion and Sediment Control Plan is required before works begin. Ensure your builders are adhering to the rules. For more information, click here or contact your local council or the NSW Environment Protection Authority for further consultation.

Developers and builders

If you are a developer or managing a building site, download a quick summary of the facts or consult the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage’s ‘Blue Book’ for detailed rules and guidelines.


Sediment runoff can be reduced and prevented to give us cleaner, safer, and more scenic creeks, rivers and other waterways. This short webinar, which was prepared for Council staff participating in the campaign, explains the environmental impacts of sediment runoff on our waterways, and why we must ensure building and construction sites have effective erosion and sediment controls in place.


Report all pollution incidents to the NSW Environment Line on 131 555 or contact your local council.

‘Get the Site Right’ awareness campaign video:


Get the Site Right Blitz Campaign Results

Details of past Get the Site Right campaigns can be found in the media releases below:

For any inquiries, please contact SCCG’s Office Manager, Thea Thompson, at

Regional Implementation Strategy for Water Quality / Environmental Monitoring

A web-based toolkit and guide to water quality monitoring developed by SCCG.

Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands


The Model Development Control Plan (DCP) – Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands was prepared by the SCCG in conjunction with the Protecting Wetlands Steering Committee. The Model DCP and the supporting resource folder provide Local Government and other development consent authorities with a generic model planning mechanism for consistent and coordinated protection and management of coastal wetlands.

The Model Development Control Plan (DCP) – Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands was prepared by the SCCG in conjunction with the Protecting Wetlands Steering Committee. The Model DCP and the supporting resource folder provide Local Government and other development consent authorities with a generic model planning mechanism for consistent and coordinated protection and management of coastal wetlands.


The purpose of the Model DCP and the supporting management reference Assessment process material is to provide a template for consent authorities to develop their own consistent planning mechanisms to protect wetland systems. The purpose is to also provide clear information and advice to Council officer and developers. The generic instrument can be either simply adopted or incorporated into existing relevant planning instruments and easily amended where necessary to suit location conditions. The Model DCP was prepared as a whole of government initiative involving all spheres of government and research organisations.


  • To protect Sydney’s wetlands from inappropriate development by preventing and/or regulating developments that have the potential to fragment, pollute, disturb or diminish the values of wetlands.
  • To protect, restore and maintain ecological processes, natural systems and biodiversity within wetlands.
  • To encourage best practice land use planning and environmental design measures that enhance the sustainability of wetlands functions and values.
  • To provide clear information and advice to potential developers, consent authorities, landowners and residents on the requirements for information for development proposals affected by this DCP.
  • To improve the quality of wetland planning, management and education by encouraging developments (where appropriate) related to wetland education and identifying linkages between developments, environmental impacts and outcomes through education.
  • To improve compliance with other legislation, plans and policies related to wetland protection and management.


Model DCP: Protecting Sydney’s Wetlands

Resource Folder: Protecting Wetlands Resource Package

Appendices: Protecting Sydney Wetlands

Groundwater Management Handbook


The Groundwater Management Handbook – A Guide for Local Government was developed with the assistance of the Groundwater Management Working Group and officially launched at the SCCG Annual General Meeting on 16 September 2006.

Aim and Objectives

The Handbook provides stakeholders with comprehensive technical, management and education information on the sustainable management of groundwater resources from the one source. The specific objectives of the Handbook are:

  • To provide background information on groundwater occurrence and behaviour.
  • To describe groundwater environments within the SCCG area.
  • To provide an assessment of current legislation in relation to groundwater management.
  • To provide technical advice on the management of groundwater.
  • To identify the information available from the groundwater database maintained by the NSW Department of Natural Resources.
  • To outline the mapping capabilities available through the Community Access to Natural Resources Information (CANRI) program.

Outcomes / Outputs

The key outcome of the Handbook will be to provide Councils with greater confidence and capacity in the management and assessment of groundwater resources in relation to development assessment and control, protection of groundwater dependant ecosystems and where appropriate utilisation of groundwater resources.

The handbook can be used to assist a number of activities. These include assessing the impacts of development applications on groundwater flow regimes, planning major infrastructure works to be undertaken by councils, examining the impacts of previous land uses on groundwater quality and communicating to external stakeholders the most appropriate techniques for sustainable groundwater management.

Groundwater Management Handbook – A Guide for Local Government

Groundwater Education Workshop Series and Materials


With the assistance of funding from the NSW Environmental Trust the SCCG engaged the UNSW Water Research Laboratory to deliver a series of free workshops, information and training on sustainable groundwater management targeting councils and industry in 2008.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of the Groundwater Education Workshop Series was to deliver a series of free workshops, information and training on sustainable groundwater management targeting councils and industry. The education materials (available below) provided at the workshop integrated information on the regulatory aspects of groundwater management with increased awareness of the dynamic nature of groundwater.

Outcomes / Outputs

The workshops covered the following groundwater related topics:

  • Groundwater Occurrence
  • Legislation, Policy and other instruments
  • Accessing Groundwater for Water Supply
  • Construction and Development
  • Groundwater Quality and Contamination
  • Groundwater Dependant Ecosystems
SCCG Groundwater Management Fact Sheets

Fact Sheet 1: Groundwater and the Sydney Coastal Region

Fact Sheet 2: Licensing Groundwater Spearpoints and Bores

Fact Sheet 3: Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems

Fact Sheet 4: Groundwater Mapping

Fact Sheet 5: Development and Construction

Groundwater Workshop Materials

Antifouling Technologies for Coastal Pools and Platforms


The SCCG Member Councils face a continual challenge from settlement and growth of marine organisms (“fouling”) on coastal rock pools and platforms. The challenge arises from public health and safety concerns (and associated Council liability) for bathers who can slip on fouled surfaces. Approaches used to date primarily include mechanical cleaning and various biocides, particularly chlorine based bleaches. The use of the latter is constrained by significant concerns over non-target effects as the chlorine washes from platforms/pools into the marine environment more generally.

Mechanical cleaning has also not proved satisfactory because even very frequent cleaning is not sufficient to prevent fouling. This is not particularly surprising, given that microfouling – bacteria, diatoms, other microalgae – can form a slippery layer of slime with a day or two. These and other approaches to the problem are detailed in the SCCG’s 1996 discussion paper, “Finding suitable options for cleaning Sydney’s estuarine tidal baths & ocean rock pools for use by local governments”.

An alternative approach is to use antifouling coatings that can be applied to pool or platform surfaces. Most standard ship antifouling coatings are inappropriate, as they rely on toxic actives (typically heavy metals or organic biocides) for their activity, or on “non-stick” (foul release) properties, which would only exacerbate the problem of slippery surfaces.

In 2008, the SCCG contracted Centre for Marine Bio-Innovation Algae samples(University of New South Wales) to undertake the above mentioned project. This project was made possible with funding contributions from the NSW Department of Environment, Climate Change and Water, Randwick and Sutherland Councils together with the SCCG.

Outcomes / Outputs

The research project identified and trialed alternative approaches to maintaining safe coastal pools and platforms applying antifouling coatings to affected areas to reduce or eliminate the needs for continual mechanical cleaning. Test sites where selected in partner Council areas based on a range of slip hazards and environments found along the coastline Coatings from three commercial suppliers and UNSW were assessed over three separate periods (Mar-June 2009, August-Sept 2009 and Dec 2009-Feb 2010).

Results found that two coatings in combination with modified cleaning practices are recommended for commercial scale trials on pedestrian access points anticipating subsequent take up of these technologies. When these coatings are combined with the recommended modified cleaning practices the following improvements are expected:
For submerged steps and ramps:

For submerged steps and ramps:

  • Algae prevented from growing for at least 2 – 4 weeks compared to the current 2-7 days after cleaning.
  • Algae can be easily cleaned from the SW-Mat by hand without emptying pool water compared to the current requirement to emptying the pool and cleaning with a truck-mounted high pressure jet blaster.
  • The risk of slipping is significantly reduced.

For exposed platforms and walkways (such as Clovelly promenade):

  • Algae prevented from growing for at least 12 weeks compared to the current 3-4 weeks after cleaning.
  • The requirement for a truck-mounted water ‘jet-blast’ is significantly reduced.
  • The risk of slipping is significantly reduced.



Anti-fouling for NSW Coastal Pools and Platforms

Attachment 2: Field Trial Report


Todd Walton, Antifouling technologies for coastal pools and platforms and community responses (Honours Thesis).

Demonstrating Climate Change Adaptation of Interconnected Water Infrastructure Project

In July 2011, the Sydney Coastal Councils Group (SCCG) was awarded funding under the Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways Project (CAP) for three projects- (1) “Prioritising Coastal Adaptation and Development Options for Local Government”; (2) “Demonstrating Climate Change Adaptation of Interconnected Water Infrastructure Project” and; (3) “Assessment and Decision frameworks for Existing Seawalls”. Funding has been provided by the Australian Government represented by the Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency. The Coastal Adaptation Decision Pathways projects is an Australian Government Initiative. A newsletter covering all three projects is available here.

This project, “Demonstrating Climate Change Adaptation of Interconnected Water Infrastructure”, developed information, guidance and capacity building activities to ensure implementation of appropriate asset management systems for water infrastructure in a changing climate.

A case study approach was used to developed a structured decision-support Framework to assist infrastructure managers to work through the complex problems associated with managing interconnected water infrastructure.

The Framework is based on an interdisciplinary and collaborative approach, providing an iterative and reflective learning environment where participants can improve not only their own knowledge and skills but also a deepened understanding of the problems and potential options to progress to an adaptive pathway.

The Report materials are available for download here:

The tools provide technical support and templates for users, and the User Manual is designed to be instructive with clear, simple steps through each stage of the process. The Adaptation Resource Centre uses an interactive PDF format.

The Case Studies (Part 4) are available to download here. The case studies were undertaken in the context of a learning environment and the data and findings must be understood in that context. The case studies narrowed the focus to a single hazard and particular management questions, and are limited in their application outside the parameters defined by the project.

The project was delivered in partnership between SCCG, Sydney Water, Water Research Laboratory (UNSW) and the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage (OEH). Click here to learn more.