Posted on May 10, 2016 by Megan Hawley

Coastal Management Bill 2016 – Introduced into Parliament

The Government has taken its next step in implementing its reform package for the management of the NSW coastline by introducing the Coastal Management Bill 2016 (Bill) into Parliament.

The Bill, once it commences, will replace the current Coastal Protection Act 1979 (CP Act).

The Bill vs the Public Consultation Draft

The Bill is largely consistent with the draft Coastal Management Bill 2015 (draft Bill) that was released in November 2015 for public consultation.

My previous blog Coastal Management Bill 2015 – Public Consultation Draft Released’ discusses in detail the significant features of the draft Bill, as well as this broader reform package.

Significant features of the Bill

As outlined in my earlier blog, some of the key features of the draft Bill, and now the Bill, include the following:

  • Councils are required to prepare coastal management programs (CMP) to replace current coastal zone management plans, and which must be implemented through local environmental plans and development plans,
  • CMPs are intended to be integrated into the Local Government Act 1993 (LG Act) as an additional component of the Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework contained in Chapter 13 of the LG Act. Relevantly, the development of a CMP will require an appropriate level of consultation at the local and regional level where necessary, and
  • that ‘temporary coastal protection works’ can no longer be undertaken without development consent (unless permitted under the proposed Coastal Management SEPP).

Changes to the approval of Coastal Protection Works

Following the public consultation process, one important change has been made to the proposed development consent process for ‘coastal protection works’ under the Bill.

Only part of section 55M of the CP Act was incorporated into proposed section 27 of the draft Bill to provide that development consent must not be granted for coastal protection works unless the consent authority is satisfied the works will not unreasonably limit public access to or use of a beach or headland or pose or be likely to pose a threat to the public safety.

Section 80A of the EPA Act was further proposed to be amended to allow consent authorities to secure a bond for coastal protection works.

However, submissions received on the draft Bill considered that s80A of the EPA Act was too limited and could not result in a financial assurance that adequately covered potential damage or loss associated with coastal protection works.

Consequently, proposed section 27 of the Bill now incorporates the whole of section 55M of the CP Act, and includes a further requirement that consent must not granted unless conditions imposed on the consent require (for the life of the works) a financial assurance or bond, or the payment of an annual charge for coastal protection works for:

  • the restoration of a beach, or land adjacent to the beach, if the works cause increased erosion, and
  • the maintenance of the works.

The financial assurance or bond may be imposed on:

  • the owner and future owners of the land protected by the works, or
  • jointly on landowners, or landowners and a council or public authority, depending on who, or whose behalf the works are constructed.

This change therefore preserves the status quo that exists under the CP Act, and is intended to overcome the perceived deficiencies of s80A of the EPA Act and give greater clarity and certainty to consent authorities around requirements for coastal protection works.

Next stage of reform

The next stage in this reform process will be the release of a full draft Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (Coastal Management SEPP) and corresponding maps of the coastal management areas for public comment, which the Government proposes to do in the coming months.

We will blog further on the progress of the Bill through Parliament, and on the content of the proposed Coastal Management SEPP once it is released.

This blog was prepared with the assistance of Anna Sinclair.