NSW Department of Planning and Environment

Sharing Sydney Harbour

Harbour projects for the department 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.

Review of Sydney Harbour Catchment Regional Environmental Plan 2005 (REP)

As part of the Department's SEPP Review Program, the state planning instrument governing the Sydney Harbour Catchment is being reviewed and consolidated with other planning instruments that deal with environmental matters. Go to the Draft Environment SEPP page for more details.

An Explanation of Intended Effect (EIE) has been prepared which explains the proposals and can be downloaded at the Draft Environment SEPP page.

View the Explanation of Intended Effect

Sydney Harbour Catchment Regional Environmental Plan 2005 (Harbour REP)

The 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 REP includes provisions relating to heritage conservation and wetlands protection and provides planning controls for strategic foreshore sites.

Go to the Sydney Regional Environmental Plan (Sydney Harbour Catchment) 2005, legal instrument as amended, available on the NSW Legislation website.

Download the Sydney Harbour Catchment Sydney Regional Environmental Plan 2005 (PDF, 293 KB) for the 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. Download the Sydney Opera House Buffer Zone Map (PDF 1.45 MB) approved by the Minister for Planning on 19 July 2007.

On 14 December 2018, amendments to the REP were gazetted that allow mooring pens with consent in the W7 zone, allow floating boat platforms with consent in W6 and W7 zones, allow floating boat platforms as complying development when located within an approved mooring pen, and allow structural repairs, replacement and maintenance works to domestic waterway structures including mooring pens, jetties and pontoons as complying development (except for heritage items).

Accompanying provisions were introduced to ensure these structures will not result in environmental, visual or navigational impacts on the harbour or reduce public access to the foreshore and waterways.

These changes were requested by industry and the public during the exhibition of amendments to the Environment SEPP. These changes are intended to increase accessibility to the harbour, allow additional boat storage, where appropriate, and update the REP to be consistent with emerging boat technologies such as floating boat platforms.


Critical Habitat Area Map

Critical Habitat Area Map

Foreshores and Waterways Area Map

Heritage Map

Special Purposes (Boat Repair Facilities and Commercial Marinas) Map

Strategic Foreshore Sites Map

Strategic Foreshore Sites Map

The locations are sheets 1 to 28:

Sydney Harbour Catchment Map

Sydney Harbour Catchment Map

Sydney Opera House Buffer Zone Map

Wetlands Protection Area Map

Zoning Map

Zoning Map

Sydney Harbour Foreshores Area Development Control Plan (DCP)

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.


Page last updated: 01/03/2023