Adapting Priority Coastal Recreational Infrastructure for Climate Change

The SCCG was successful in receiving a Building Resilience for Climate Change Grant in 2017 to fund the ‘Adapting Priority Coastal Recreational Infrastructure for Climate Change’ Project.

Coastal public recreational infrastructure can be highly vulnerable to the impacts of contemporary coastal hazards that will be exacerbated by climate change. These assets can receive large amounts of funding every year for reactive remediation and maintenance following damage. The outputs of this project will assist Councils in managing these recreational assets with respect to rising sea levels and other impacts of climate change.

The NSW Governments’ Manly Hydraulics Laboratory (MHL) and Engineers Australia through its National Committee on Coastal and Ocean Engineering (NCCOE) were engaged by SCCG to develop a decision framework for recreational coastal infrastructure assets which:
• implements NCCOE’s guidelines for coastal infrastructure asset management and planning;
• focuses on climate change vulnerability; and
• can be used as part of Council’s IP&R (Integrated Planning and Reporting) framework to help define maintenance/renewal costs and to establish triggers based on discounted future costs under a preselected adaptation strategy.

Based on the findings of a survey of NSW coastal councils, MHL developed an assessment methodology incorporating multi-criteria valuation assessment (MCA) to:
• design an assessment tool around targeting asset vulnerability to coastal hazards;
• establish an holistic approach to asset assessment; and
• support capital expenditure applications and an ability to accommodate varying levels of data availability.

Outputs from the tool can assist Councils to:
• determine strengths and weaknesses of a coastal recreational asset based on the dimensions of the MCA;
• indicate options and indicative costs for various adaptation strategies;
• set trigger levels for future adaptation work; and
• rank assets against others entered by the user to aid in prioritisation of resources.

To download the project Factsheet click on the image below.











The tool was tested on over ten recreational infrastructure assets within the local government areas of three NSW coastal councils. Three case studies have been developed using recreational assets including an urban rock pool, and urban coastal park and a rural estuarine jetty, to highlight the applicability of the tool.

Read the Case Studies Report for more information on the three case studies. To download click on the image below.











This project was presented at the NSW Coastal Conference 7-9th November 2018.

The Assessment Tool is accessible for all NSW councils.  To download the excel based tool click here.





Phytopthora Working Group


Phytophthora cinnamomi is a soil-borne water mould that produces an infection which causes a condition in plants called “root rot” or “dieback”. The plant pathogen is one of the world’s most invasive species and is present in over 70 countries from around the world.

Aim and Objectives

The SCCG was a member of the Sydney Harbour Federation Trust’s Phytophthora Working Group. The working group was formed in response to a number of localised Phytophthora outbreaks around the Sydney Harbour region and consisted of Local, State and Commonwealth Government land managers in the Sydney Harbour region.

Outcomes / Outputs

Studies were undertaken to determine where Phytophthora was occurring and what actions could be taken to control it. Following this a management strategy was developed and implemented that included the following actions:

  • An education campaign to inform people how they could prevent the spread of the pathogen.
  • Guidelines for the design and construction of walking tracks, including boot cleaning stations at entry and exit points.
  • Implementation of best practice procedures for people undertaking bush regeneration activities.
  • Mapping and monitoring infected and uninfected areas and dieback.
  • New plantings with Phytophthora resistant species in infected areas.


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

Preventing Cigarette Butt Littering: A Resource Package for Local Government


The SCCG has prepared a resource package to assist Councils and other interested stakeholders to encourage the correct disposal of cigarette butts.

Aim and Objectives

The Preventing Cigarette Butt Litter in the Sydney Coastal Region project purpose was to provide Member Councils, other authorities and the community with a range of best practice tools and information that they can implement to address cigarette butt littering in their local area.

Outcomes / Outputs

The principle outcome of the project is an innovative resource package that provides Councils and in turn the community with information on the extent and problems of cigarette butt littering, legislation, enforcement ideas, bins and devices available and a range of example education initiatives. Secondary outcomes have been greater community awareness of the effects of cigarette butt littering and a reduction in cigarette butt litter.

Contents of the Resource Package:

  • Introduction (Concept and how to use the package)
  • Facts and Figures (Extent of littering and effect of the pollution).Bins and Devices (Example bins and devices to assist correct disposal).
  • Legislation (Relevant to littering and smoking area restrictions).
  • Enforcement (Licensing, PINs, MOUs, property leases, standard conditions for development).
  • Education (Education projects, activities, media releases, posters, stickers).
  • Relevant Contacts and Internet Site Details.

For a hard copy of the Resource Package or for more information please contact SCCG.

Coastal Risk Management in Member Councils


Risk management is a tool used to make decisions about the probability of an event and its resultant consequences. It aims to provide a structured way of identifying and analyzing potential risks, and devising and implementing appropriate responses while providing an opportunity to enhance current practice and support. It is defined by Australian Standard 4360 (2004) as “the culture, processes and structures that are directed towards realising potential opportunities whilst managing adverse effects”. It involves a multifaceted process that is best carried out in a multidisciplinary team ensuring a systematic application to the tasks of identifying, analysing, assessing, treating and monitoring all forms of risk.

Management of coastal and estuarine risk is subjective as there are different reasons and values that influence the cost benefit ratio of protecting the coastal zone such as:

  • the loss of property,
  • the value of a beach,
  • the cost of protective works whether it be construction or renourishment, or
  • the value of the coastal zone by user groups e.g. surfers, land owner and tourism industry.

Risk management for the SCCG Member Councils is of prime importance as the management of risks has a wide distribution. Focus is required for the integration of not only natural processes such as coastal erosion, cliff stability and flooding but now must also incorporate issues such as public safety.

Aim and Objectives

The purpose of consultation process and the resultant report is to provide a status and recommendations report on risk management practice for Councils in Sydney coastal areas including beaches, estuaries, lakes and nearshore marine waters (suggested 3 nautical miles offshore).

The objectives of identifying risk management in all coastal areas are to establish:

  • what is risk management for each relevant coastal, estuary and/or waterway zone
  • what are the common risks faced by the Member Councils
  • what are the common practices of risk management
  • what are the gaps in coastal risk management practice

The purpose of the report is to provide Councils with:

  • details of member council feedback for the issue of Coastal Risk Management facing Sydney’s coastal Councils
  • collate a status and recommendations report as part of the process to identify the issues facing SCCG Councils by recognising:
  • common coastal risk issues and management activities identified for Member Councils
  • recommendations for managing risk in the coastal zone
Outcomes / Outputs

The report gives the necessary information to provide an overview of the current status and activities of coastal risk management in Member Councils including recommendations for future priorities. It also provides a unique a preliminary benchmark of the current practice in coastal risk management for SCCG Member Councils.

For a hard copy of the Report, or for more information please contact the SCCG.

Status and Recommendations Report – Risk Management for Sydney Coastal Councils, 2005

Sydney Regional Coastal Management Strategic / Implementation Program


The SRCMS provides an action-orientated management framework that is intended to guide coastal management and planning in the Sydney coastal region into the next century. The underlying focus of the strategy is the pursuit towards and achievement of ecologically sustainable development (ESD) of Sydney’s coastal zone.

The SRCMS recognises the fact that Sydney’s coastal zone is: continuously under intensive pressures from human activity; subject to a myriad of competing interests for its resources; and covered by numerous planning and management documents. It is managed by an assortment of State, Local and Commonwealth government authorities, industry, the community and a variety of non-government organisations. A single management strategy based on ESD provides an opportunity for all management and planning stakeholders to reconcile their competing interests and ensure an equitable, integrated and sustainable management approach. This will be achieved through the implementation of sustainable coastal planning and management practices that will ultimately protect and conserve terrestrial and marine ecosystems.

Aim and Objectives

The aim of the SRCMS is to protect and conserve terrestrial and marine ecosystems in the study area, and to manage the social and economic conditions to achieve this, through the implementation of identified, sustainable coastal planning and management practices.

Outcomes / Outputs

The associated Strategic Actions Program is intended to guide and priorities the management actions of the participating stakeholders. The implementation of the Strategic Actions Program is guided by the coastal management objectives and principles, with the underlying focus being the achievement of ecologically sustainable development.

The Strategic Actions Program focuses on the key themes that were identified throughout the community consultation and participation phases of the SRCMS’s development. These are:


Each coastal management themes has an outcome statement to guide implementation and to focus on the overall desired management outcome for each of the six themes. A list of key regional issues is also provided for each coastal management theme. These have been identified by the regional community and all stakeholders involved in the preparation of the strategy.

The six management themes are further divided into key areas and issues that require a management response; these have been provided with a measurable outcome statement. Each strategic action includes the name of the organisation(s) that is primarily responsible for its implementation. The organisation(s) in bold is the core organisation responsible for coordinating other primary and supporting organisations and reporting annually on implementation. Those organisations listed as supporting organisations are to be consulted and involved in the implementation. Organisations with a primary responsibility are to work with supporting organisations to ensure a cooperative and focused approach to the implementation of the strategy. The priority components of the program have been divided into three levels: essential, highly desirable and desirable. Strategic actions determined to be essential will be addressed and acted on within the first 12 months of implementation. Highly desirable within the first two years and desirable within the first five years of implementation.

An electronic copy of the Sydney Regional Coastal management Strategy can be accessed here.

Sydney Regional Coastal Management Strategy, 1998

Landslide Risk Management: Geotechnical Investigations


In recognition of the challenge between development pressures and landslide hazard, in the year 2000 the Australian Geomechanics Society (AGS) published a benchmark technical paper “Landslide Risk Management Concepts and Guidelines” (AGS, 2000) – which significantly updated an earlier 1985 guideline. It was recommended in the report of the Coroner’s Inquiry into the 1997 Thredbo landslide that AGS (2000) be taken into account – through directions in the Building Code of Australia and local codes dealing with planning, development and building approval procedures – when assessing and planning urban communities in hillside environments.

Whilst AGS (2000) presented concepts and guidelines to assist practitioners, there remained a need to provide supplemental information to further assist practitioners, to assist regulators and to provide advice to the broader Australian population. This was recognised by the SCCG who in turn submitted a successful grant application under the NSW and Commonwealth Governments’ National Disaster Mitigation Program.

Outcomes / Outputs

The project(s) are intimately related to management of risk associated with landslides in all parts of Australia, covering sloping terrain generally and with applicability to the coastal and near-coastal environment. The project involved the development of two guidelines, two commentaries and a suite of GeoGuides. These provide assistance variably to regulators, practitioners and owners and occupiers of property and land potentially subject to landslide hazards.

  1. The Landslide Zoning Guideline covers landslide susceptibility, hazard and risk zoning for land use planning. It provides guidance to government regulators (officers of local government and state government instrumentalities) and geotechnical practitioners in the methods of Landslide Hazard Zoning. Such characterisation provides input to the land use planning process in areas of landslide hazard. This guideline is supported an associated commentary document.
  2. The Slope Management Guideline – known as the Australian GeoGuides for Slope Management and Maintenance – provides owners and occupiers, and therefore the public in the broader sense, with guidance on management and maintenance of properties subject to landslide hazard. These two guidelines are important contributions to the management of landslide hazard at both ends of the process – initial identification of landslide hazard in the planning process, and management of properties prone to landslide hazard by the end-user.
  3. The guidelines benefit the general community (Australian GeoGuides) and Local Government regulators (Landslide Zoning) through achieving safer, more sustainable communities in relation to their exposure to landslide risk, and reduce risk to the community through improved planning and slope management practices. These guidelines link with the risk management practices presented in AGS (2000) and the recently published Building Code of Australia (BCA) Guideline, and will provide long-term natural disaster mitigation benefits to housing and infrastructure.

The LRM Practice Note provides guidance to practitioners in the performance of project specific landslide risk assessment and management, and also to government officers in interpretation of the reports they receive. The Practice Note is suited to be an external reference document for legislative requirements. The Practice Note supersedes the recognised industry “standard” on LRM in Australia – AGS (2000).

The guidance provided by the Practice Note is of a technical nature and is mainly for the geotechnical practitioner for the production of landslide risk assessment and management for development in areas prone to landslide hazard. This includes guidance on appropriate methods and techniques, and tolerable levels of risk. Currently, an acceptable level of risk to life for the individual most-at-risk is reasonably well identified, though perhaps conservatively so. As a result of a number of issues, there has been no similar guidance for risk to property, which is now provided in the Practice Note.

Project Awards

Warren Medal – Civil Collage

In early 2008 the SCCG and Australian Geomechanics Society Landslide Risk Management Project was awarded the prestigious Warren Medal the premier award of the Civil College.

Australian Safer Communities Awards 2008

“AGS (2007)” was submitted for judging in the Australian Safer Communities Awards 2008 in the category of “Projects of National Significance”. The project received a ‘High Commendation’. Award winners are recognised “throughout the emergency management sector for their outstanding achievement, innovation and professional standing”.


Guideline for Landslide Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk Zoning for Land Use Management

Commentary on Guideline for Landslide Susceptibility, Hazard and Risk Zoning for Land Use Management

Landslide Practice Note – Practice Note Guidelines for Landslide Risk

Journal of Emergency Management in Australia, Landslide Risk Management for Australia.

Australian GeoGuides for Slope Management and Maintenance

Australian GeoGuide on Landslides

Australian GeoGuide on Soil Slopes

Australian GeoGuide on Rock Slopes

Australian GeoGuide on Water and Drainage

Australian GeoGuide on Retaining Walls

Australian GeoGuide on Landslide Risk

Australian GeoGuide on Hillside Construction

Australian GeoGuide on Effluent and Surface Water Disposal

Australian GeoGuide on Coastal Landslides

Australian GeoGuide on Record Keepings

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