NSW Department of Planning and Environment

The NSW coastline is world-renowned and stretches an incredible 2,101km in length. It is the most populated coastline in the country and provides a multitude of values and uses for resident communities and visitors.

The economic and lifestyle benefits of coastal living continue to attract new residents and tourists and the competition for use and enjoyment of these places, continues to place our coastal and marine environment under increasing pressure. The department’s policies and programs support good strategic planning and development assessment in these vulnerable and in-demand areas.

Our focus areas

  • Coastal management: The NSW Government continues to improve the way we plan for development, protect environmental assets and manage coastal hazards for coastal communities. The NSW coastal management framework includes legislation and planning policy, as well as a funding boost of $83.6 million.
  • Marine estate management: The department is a member agency of the NSW Marine Estate Management Authority which coordinates marine estate reforms to maintain and improve the marine environment. The 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 wellbeing of the community now and into the future.
  • Coastal Lands Protection Scheme: The department administers the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme to bring significant coastal lands into public ownership for their long-term management and care in the public interest. The Scheme has an annual budget of $3 million for these strategic acquisitions.

Read more about our coastal and marine policies and programs below.

Byron Bay Lighthouse, Beach and Hinterland Aerial Shot in the Northern Rivers, NSW CC BY-SA 4.0 / Kpravin2

Strategic planning and development assessment in coastal communities must carefully balance the need to provide jobs, housing, community facilities and transport for a changing population with maintaining the unique qualities of coastal and marine environments, which are vulnerable to many threats.

Aerial shots of Shark Bay coastline, Bundjalung National Park. Photo by: Jessica Robertson/DPIE

The department is a member of the marine Estate Management Authority and helps deliver the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy, which aims to coordinate marine estate management over the ten years from 2018 to 2028.

Rocks of Fort Tomaree, coastline, Tomaree National Park. Photo by: John Spencer/DPIE

The department administers the Coastal Lands Protection Scheme which helps bring significant coastal lands into public ownership and long-term management and care.

Coastal Design Guidelines. © Silvan Bluett

The NSW Government created the Coastal Design Guidelines to protect and enhance NSW's waterways, coastline, and estuaries. Planning proposals in the coastal zone must use the guidelines.