New South Wales Coast


The New South Wales coast is over 2000 kilometers long and comprised of a spectacular range of coastal lowland, estuary, beach and nearshore environments. The majority of the state’s 7.4 million population live within 50 kilometres of the coast, attracted to the area’s natural beauty and amenity as well as the economic, professional, educational and other opportunities offered in the major cities and centres.

The pressures on the coast are significant. Competition for the use and enjoyment of its natural and built environments is growing with the demands of a state’s population, projected to reach around 10 million by 2036, and naturally tourism.

Latest Information and Links

NSW Coastal Conference

The Australian Coastal Society is a key facilitator and sponsor of the annual NSW coastal conference and other activities of interest to our members year round. The NSW Coastal Conference is in its 28th year and widely recognised as the forum for coastal managers, elected representatives, researchers, scientists and interested community members to meet and discuss all things coastal.

This year the conference will be held in Terrigal on 30 October to 1 November  - why not join us for an informative and enjoyable conference! More information.

A New Coastal Management Framework

To better manage the state’s coastline, a new coastal management framework commenced in April 2018 in New South Wales. See the Department Planning & Environment press release.

The four main components of the framework include:

  • Legislation (Coastal Management Act 2016; Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, 1979);
  • Coastal Management State Environment Planning Policy;
  • Coastal Management Manual; and
  • Coastal Council.

The Coastal Management Act (NSW) 2016 has passed through Parliament and commenced in April 2018. The Act replaces the current Coastal Protection Act 1979. More information.

The Coastal Management Act sets out the NSW Government's vision and framework for coastal management and, amongst other things, divides the coastal zone into four coastal management areas to establish clear, outcome-orientated management objectives for each area. These four areas are defined by the unique features and include:

  • coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests area
  • coastal vulnerability area
  • coastal environment area
  • coastal use area.

 The four areas are defined in the new Act as part of the new Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP).

The Coastal Management State Environment Planning Policy (SEPP) consolidates current coastal-related SEPPs. It will replace SEPP 14 (Coastal Wetlands), SEPP 26 (Littoral Rainforests) and SEPP 71 (Coastal Protection) and defines and maps four coastal management areas including the Coastal Environment Area, Coastal Use Area, Coastal Vulnerability Area and Wetland & Rainforests. NSW Coastal Management State Environment Planning Policy Maps are available online. More information.

The Coastal Management Manual is intended to support councils and communities to develop Coastal Management Programs for the long term coordinated management of their coastal areas. Coastal Management Programs are to be prepared in accordance with the manual and are necessary to address the requirements of the new Act. More information.

A new independent NSW Coastal Council replaces the statutory NSW Coastal Panel, and the Coastal Expert Panel established to provide advice on the current reforms. NSW Coastal Council's role will be to provide independent advice to the Minister administering the new Act on coastal planning and management issues. More information.



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