NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Coastal management

The NSW coast is one of the state’s greatest assets. In addition to sustaining diverse, complex and dynamic ecosystems, it is a vital economic zone that supports most of the state’s industrial, transport and commercial activity. The coast has unique values, natural and urban landscapes and cultural significance that support our way of life.

The coastal landscape is under increasing pressure. 85% of the NSW population now live within 50 kilometres of the coastline, with people placing growing importance on the coastal lifestyle and access to coastal areas. Coastal cities, regional centres and towns continue to grow as NSW’s population increases, reaching 11 million people by 2040. A coordinated, balanced approach to coastal management is essential to us having a healthy coast now and into the future.

Our state’s strategic land use planning and development assessment framework must carefully balance the need to provide jobs, housing, community facilities and transport for a changing population, while maintaining the unique qualities of the coastal and marine environment that make coastal areas so desirable. We also know our coastal areas face many natural hazards. It is important our planning system effectively responds to current and future coastal and other natural hazards, to protect lives, infrastructure and property, and the beautiful environments we cherish living in.

Coastal management framework

The NSW Government’s new coastal management framework has been in place since 2018. Our goal is to improve the way we plan for and assess coastal development, to protect our coastal way of life and coastal and marine environmental assets, and to manage coastal hazards.

This framework includes:

Footbridge connecting La Perouse  and Bare Island, La Perouse NSW. Photo by: Andrew Richards/DPIE
The Coastal Management Act 2016 replaced the Coastal Protection Act 1979 and provides the strategic framework and objectives for managing coastal issues in NSW.
Hare Point Track estuarine wetlands including saltmarsh and mangroves Carama Inlet northern shores of Jervis Bay. Photo by: Michael Van Ewijk/DPIE
Chapter 2 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Resilience and Hazards) 2021 guides development assessment in coastal areas, consistent with the objectives set out in the Coastal Management Act 2016.