Public input sought on coastal reforms
DRAFT coastal reforms which aim to make coastal management easier have been released by the state government for public feedback.
The reforms include a draft bill for a new Coastal Management Act, key elements of a new Coastal Management Manual, and proposals for a new Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy.
The draft Bill redefines the coast as four distinct areas of coastal wetlands and rainforests; coastal vulnerability areas; coastal environment areas and coastal use areas, to identify each area's unique management requirements.
The manual will guide local councils via clear, step-by-step instructions to manage their coast using the Coastal Management Act.
Member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser said the reforms recognised the natural environment, social, cultural and economic values of our coastline.
"Our coastline is a precious resource and we want to improve our coastal processes to protect our coastline for future generations,"he said.
The NSW Nature Conservation Council has also welcomed the reforms, saying the new approach is "refreshing".
"We are very encouraged to see the government adopting an integrated approach to coastal management that has ecologically sustainability development and community consultation as core principles," NCC chief executive officer Kate Smolski said.
Environmental scientist and former Coffs Harbour City councillor Mark Graham said the reform package seemed to promise better outcomes for coastal management.
"The package of reforms seems to offer the oversight of the state government and seems to incorporate scientific integrity so there will be a consistent approach, and good decisions will be made on the back of that," he said.
"In the case of both Hearnes Lake and Emerald Beach, they are two of the coastal properties most vulnerable to sea level rise and extreme weather events.
"Hopefully this overhaul of the coastal planning system will prevent mistakes being made in the future and will also protect fragile ecosystems from inappropriate development."
Give feedback at haveyoursay.nsw.gov.au.