The current NSW coastal planning framework is summarised on this page, and should be read in conjunction with the reforms underway. See our Coastal Reforms page for more information.
The NSW Coastal Policy 1997 provides a framework for the balanced and coordinated management of the coast and covers a range of themes including:
The Coastal Policy has two broad parts. Part A outlines the principles and theme guiding the Policy, while Part B details the goals, objectives and strategic actions.
The NSW coastal zone defines the area in which specific coastal planning provisions apply. The ‘coastal zone’ is defined in the Coastal Protection Act 1979 and is accompanied by a set of statutory maps which identify its extent.
Outside the Sydney region the coastal zone extends from approximately 1km inland of any coastline, bay, estuary, lake or lagoon out to the 3 nautical mile extent of NSW state waters. Within the Sydney region the coastal zone is typically one lot back from the open ocean.
Once commenced, the Coastal Management Act 2016 will replace the Coastal Protection Act 1979, redefine the coastal zone and establish new objectives for the coast.
Note: State Environmental Planning Policy No. 71 - Coastal Protection (SEPP 71) will continue to apply to land in the NSW coastal zone until the Coastal Management Act 2016 and Coastal Management SEPP take effect.
SEPP 71 seeks to protect the unique features of the NSW coastal environment by ensuring:
Specific planning controls are set out in SEPP 71, which can be accessed through the NSW legislation website.
Certain types of development in the coastal zone may require a draft Master Plan to be adopted by the Minister for Planning.
Under certain conditions, the requirement for a Master Plan may be waived. The application form to waive the requirement for a Master Plan required under SEPP 71 can be lodged at your local Department of Planning & Environment office.
The draft Coastal Management SEPP has been released with proposed new maps of the coastal zone. You can access the coastal map viewer here.
The Coastal Design Guidelines for NSW (2003) provide design guidance on coastal developments and redevelopments to ensure they are sensitive to the unique natural and urban settings of coastal areas.
These guidelines will continue to be relevant to local plan making. You can view the Ministerial directions for local plan making here (refer specifically to Direction 2.2).
In November 2014 a Planning Circular (PS 14-003) was issued to provide councils with clear advice on how buyers of coastal properties should be informed about hazards such as erosion and flooding in section 149(2) certificates issued under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979).
The NSW Coastal Planning Guideline: Adapting to Sea Level Rise (2010) includes the following six coastal planning principles:
References in the Guideline to the ‘NSW sea level rise planning benchmarks’ should be taken as meaning ‘council's adopted sea level rise projections’.
Page last updated: 01/05/2017