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Harbour projects for the Department of Planning & Environment include:

  • The Sydney Harbour Catchment Regional Environmental Plan 2005 (REP) provides an improved and clearer planning framework and better environmental outcomes for Sydney Harbour and its tributaries. 
  • The Sydney Harbour Foreshores and Waterways Area Development Control Plan 2005 (DCP) applies to the Foreshores and Waterways Area as identified in the Harbour REP. The DCP includes design guidelines for development, assessment criteria for marinas (including guidelines for undertaking visual impact assessments), and criteria for natural resource protection.

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005 (Harbour REP) covers all the waterways of the Harbour, the foreshores and entire catchment. It establishes a set of planning principles to be used by councils for the preparation of planning instruments. It also zones the waterways into nine different zones to suit the differing environmental characteristics and land uses of the harbour and its tributaries. 

The Harbour REP includes a range of matters for consideration by consent authorities assessing development within the Foreshores and Waterways Area of the Plan. These are aimed at ensuring better and consistent development decisions and include such issues as ecological and scenic quality, built form and design, maintenance of views, public access and recreation and working harbour uses. The Sydney Harbour Catchment REP includes provisions relating to heritage conservation and wetlands protection and provides planning controls for strategic foreshore sites.

Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005 - legal instrument as amended (available on the NSW legislation website)

Explanatory notes to the REP

On 27 July 2007, Amendment No. 1 to the REP was gazetted, which establishes a buffer zone around the Sydney Opera House as well as supporting planning controls to give added protection to its world heritage values. 

Buffer zone map approved by the Minister for Planning on 19 July 2007.


A Development Control Plan (DCP) has also been prepared to support the Sydney Harbour Catchment REP. The DCP provides detailed design guidelines for development and criteria for natural resource protection for the area identified as Foreshores and Waterways. The DCP was made at the same time that the Sydney Harbour Catchment REP was gazetted.


Ecological Communities and Landscape Characters

Page last updated: 27/01/2017