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!

Compliant building sites good news for NSW waterways

NSW builders are ‘getting the site right’ with more than half successfully implementing erosion and sediment controls to protect local environments, but councils and regulators still had to hand out $376,789 in fines in May.

Twenty-two councils across Greater Sydney and regional NSW joined forces for the latest campaign with support from NSW Environment Protection Authority (EPA) and Department of Planning and Environment (DPE).

NSW EPA A/Executive Director, Operations Steve Orr said this year’s campaign aimed to encourage builders to manage their litter and waste as well as maintaining proper sediment and erosion controls.

“We’ve seen some great improvements this year, but we know builders and site managers can still do better,” Mr Orr said.

“Our officers observed poorly maintained stockpiles, trip hazards on footpaths and concrete slurry runoff at some sites, which poses a threat to workers and the environment.

“We’re also looking at whether construction sites are correctly containing loose litter and other waste which could blow or wash off site, impacting local waterways.

“NSW has a lot of construction projects in the pipeline, so we don’t want to see overflowing bins, poorly contained waste or sediment run-off as we build.”

Regulatory staff conducted 1,177 inspections of 825 building and construction sites, with around 30 per cent of inspections conducted on 18 May ‘blitz day’.

Of all the sites inspected, 61 per cent were found to be compliant, up six per cent from inspections in October 2022. For sites inspected more than once, 75 per cent were found to be compliant on the second visit, highlighting the importance of repeat inspections and ongoing education.

EPA officers attended 168 site inspections, supporting council staff to ensure builders had appropriate erosion and sediment controls and litter prevention strategies in place.
EPA and DPE officers also jointly inspected several large infrastructure projects, including six schools and one hospital under construction.

Parramatta River Catchment Group (PRCG) Chair, Councilor Mark Drury, said the improvement in compliance rate was encouraging as we look to expand our efforts to minimise the effects of stormwater runoff on local water quality over the next few years.

“The recent funding provided by the NSW Government for the Parramatta River Masterplan projects will build on the considerable work achieved to date around improving stormwater compliance and education,” Cr Drury said.

Get the Site Right is a joint taskforce between the Cooks River Alliance, Georges Riverkeeper, DPE, EPA, Parramatta River Catchment Group, Sydney Coastal Councils Group, WaterNSW, and local councils.

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. A follow-up inspection blitz week will be held in October.

Lights, camera, action!

Do the right thing by putting your rubbish in the bin to Keep Sydney Waterways Beautiful.

Key waterways surrounding Sydney Harbour had been equipped with innovative technologies to help reduce the amount of rubbish polluting the Harbour, thanks to the new Smarter Cleaner Sydney Harbour pilot.

This project is using cameras to detect rubbish polluting the Harbour. Do the right thing otherwise your rubbish may get caught in our cameras.

The initiative is a collaboration between Sydney Coastal Council Group Inc, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Australia’s national science agency CSIROParramatta River Catchment Group, and six councils. The pilot is co-funded by the  NSW Smart Places Acceleration Program with a grant provided by the  NSW Digital Restart Fund.

To find out more about the project visit the link here.

It’s plastic free July and we are on a mission!

It’s plastic free July and we are on a mission!

Key waterways in Sydney Harbour will be equipped with innovative technologies to help reduce the amount of rubbish polluting the Harbour, thanks to the new Smarter Cleaner Sydney Harbour pilot.

This project is using innovative technologies to help reduce the amount of rubbish polluting the Harbour.

The initiative is a collaboration between Sydney Coastal Council Group Inc, Sydney Olympic Park Authority, Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, Parramatta River Catchment Group, and six councils. The pilot is co-funded by the  NSW Smart Places Acceleration Program with a grant provided by the  NSW Digital Restart Fund.

To find out more about the project visit the link here.

5-year Statutory Review on the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Act 2016

The purpose of the review is to determine whether the policy objectives of the Act remain valid and whether the terms remain appropriate for securing those objectives.

The SCCG reviewed the Consultation Paper and participated in feedback sessions hosted by LGNSW. The SCCG strongly supported the submission made by LGNSW which represents the views of Councils across NSW.

Generally, the SCCG considers that the BC Act is not achieving its objectives of no net loss of biodiversity, particularly in coastal and urban areas.

To read the full SCCG Submission see here.

New Minns Labor Government

The NSW State Elections on the 25 March 2023 resulted in a win for the Australian Labor Party. The Premier, Chris Minns, announced his government’s full Ministry which in a first for NSW comprised a frontbench of 50% women.

Key Ministers relevant to the work of the SCCG include:

  • Minister for Energy, Climate Change, Environment and Heritage – The Hon. Penny Sharpe, MLC
  • Minister for Local Government – The Hon. Ron Hoenig, MP
  • Minister for Natural Resources – The Hon. Courtney Houssos, MLC
  • Minister for Agriculture (includes Fisheries) – The Hon. Tara Moriarty, MLC
  • Minister for Innovation, Science and Technology – The Hon. Anoulack Chanthivong, MP

For the full cabinet list of Ministers see here.

SCCG Position Statement for the 2023 State Election

The upcoming State Election presents an opportune time for political parties to review and reaffirm their commitment to sustainably manage our coast. As such, we have formulated key policy positions and associated recommendations that we believe are critical to ensure the SCCG and its member Councils can continue their important role in the management of beloved coastal and estuarine environments. These key coastal management issues are:

  1. Establish a whole of government approach to climate change impacts, including coastal erosion, recession and sea level rise.
  2. Provide greater support to the delivery of Coastal Management Programs which are critical to the ensure the long-term sustainability of our coasts and estuaries.
  3. Formalise a catchment approach for our estuaries to ensure the threats to these highly valued areas are more effectively and efficiently managed now and into the future.
  4. Breakdown barriers to sand nourishment by addressing the significant impediments to Councils who are responsible for our beloved beaches.
  5. Establish a marine park for Sydney to improve the protection for marine biodiversity, ensure resilience in a changing climate, and better realise the tourism potential of marine sanctuaries.

To read our full position statement click here.

DPI Survey on Shark Mitigation at Ocean Beaches


Have your say about shark mitigation in your region!

The NSW Government has invested over $85 million until 2026 to continue rolling out successfully trialled shark mitigation technologies along the NSW coastline.

Each year, the NSW Government checks in with beach users, coastal councils and other key stakeholders to understand community sentiment and confidence in the NSW Shark Management Program.

This annual survey seeks to measure sentiments about shark mitigation approaches currently used in NSW (see current program here) and confidence in the Program which aims to reduce the risk of human-shark interactions at ocean beaches while minimising harm to sharks and other marine life.

The current Program includes:

  • SMART (Shark-Management-Alert-in-Real-Time) drumlines
  • Tagged shark listening stations
  • Drone surveillance
  • Shark meshing
  • Community education and engagement programs
  • Research
  • Partnerships with Surfing NSW and Surf Life Saving NSW

Please take 10 minutes to share your views to contribute to future decision making about shark mitigation in your region.

The survey can be found here and is open until Sunday, 19 February 2023.

Please pass this survey on to other beachgoers!

For more information visit

Sydney Water’s 2022 Community Grants for Healthy Waterways

Sydney Water has recently launched its 2022 community grants program – with a focus on healthy waterways, including keeping our waterways clean, stormwater in a built environment and safely enjoying our local waterways.

If you know a community group that share’s Sydney Water’s vision of building healthy waterways to create a better life for today and generations to come, then refer them here for guidelines, T&Cs and a link to the application form.

Applications close 5pm, 26 August 2022.

Coastal Design Guidelines on Public Exhibition

NSW Department of Planning and Environment (DPE) is making changes to the to the Coastal Design Guidelines to maintain healthy coastal habitats with sustainable use and development. The review is an action under the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy 2018-2028.

The revised Coastal Design Guidelines prepared by DPE-Planning have been placed on public exhibition.

The Guidelines will inform planning proposals in the coastal zone and they should be used by anyone seeking to change local planning controls in those areas. This includes local councils, landowners and developers, and any third parties acting on their behalf.

The updated draft Guidelines also provide guidance on best practice urban design within coastal areas. They can be used by designers, architects, landscapers and home builders to support the design of projects in the coastal zone when preparing master plans or development applications.

The exhibition period is from 29 July to 9 September 2022.

For details and to provide feedback see here.