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Coastal planning and marine reforms

The Department of Planning and Environment is a member agency of the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority (MEMA), which co-ordinates the State’s policies and programs for maintaining and improving the marine environment. The Authority's vision for the NSW marine estate (which includes all marine waters and marine parks and reserves) is to have a healthy coast and sea, managed for the greatest well-being of the community, now and into the future.


The NSW marine estate includes the:

  • ocean
  • estuaries
  • coastal wetlands (saltmarsh, mangroves, seagrass)
  • coastline including beaches, dunes and headlands
  • coastal lakes and lagoons connected to the ocean
  • islands, including Lord Howe Island.


MEMA agencies are working together to ensure their programs and policies are evidence-based, address priority issues, are well-coordinated and efficient, and result in positive outcomes.


The Department of Planning and Environment is working towards better coordination of land-based development and land-use planning policy with issues and impacts in our estuaries and seas. One of the objectives of the Coastal Management Act 2016 is to support the Marine Estate Management Act 2014. The Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) will guide coastal and estuarine development to address key marine issues such as protection of sensitive marine environment (e.g. coastal wetlands, lakes and lagoons) that are important habitat for marine life; managing impacts of coastal hazards on coastal processes; improving water quality; and, maintaining and improving public access to the coast, including beaches, headlands, rock platforms and foreshore areas.


For more information about the NSW marine estate and MEMA, please visit the NSW Marine Estate website.

Page last updated: 04/04/2017