New South Wales

NSW Government releases 'landmark' coastal planning guideline

THE NSW Government has introduced guidelines to help councils and State agencies consider the impact of sea level rises. The guideline, titled 'NSW Coastal Planning Guideline: Adapting to Sea Level Rise', was released today by Planning Minister Tony Kelly.

The guidelines cover the State's 1,500 kilometre coastline, which is expected to be home to an additional 600,000 residents by 2036.

Mr Kelly said the guidelines "illustrate the leadership and certainty the NSW Government is taking on planning for our coastline, including sea level rise. It is vital to properly plan for sea level rise to ensure homes are not built too close to hazard areas."

The guidelines have been finalised following a formal consultation period which attracted 90 submissions and encourage a risk-based approach to land use planning and development assessment in light of projected sea level rise impacts along coastal NSW, including low-lying land adjacent to tidal waterways such as coastal lakes and estuaries.

The guidelines call for councils to:

  • Avoid intensifying land-use (such as by rezoning land from rural to urban) in areas subject to coastal risks unless the impacts of sea level rise can be effectively managed;
  • Identify "sea level rise investigation areas" in areas where coastal risk mapping is not yet in place, to help inform decisions on rezoning requests; and
  • Consider applications on land which could be affected by future coastal changes or sea level rise by 2100 against strict criteria. This criteria may include designing homes to be able to be relocated away from or above risk areas, or be subject to time-limited consents. If a proposal cannot be adapted to sea level rise, a council could decide to refuse development consent.

The release of the guidelines follows last year's publication of the NSW Sea Level Rise Policy Statement that sets out the Government's sea level rise planning benchmarks. They plan for a 40 centimetre rise by 2050 and 90 centimetres by 2100.

The guidelines are available from the NSW Department of Planning website at <>.

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