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.

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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.

$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.

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
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.

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.

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.