Frequently Asked Questions

Draft Shoalhaven Coastal Zone Management Plan

Frequently Asked Questions

Many people have questions about the scope and purpose of the Coastal Zone Management Plan. Many people may also want information about how the plan will take effect and how Council will fund its coastal management program.

Below is information to help with some frequently asked questions about coastal zone management in Shoalhaven City Council.


  1. Why has Council prepared this Plan?
  2. What beaches are included within the Plan?
  3. How are views from the Shoalhaven community taken into consideration?
  4. What issues are covered in the Plan?
  5. Where should I look for information about other coastal zone issues?
  6. How does this Plan fit with Council’s DCP 118?
  7. Where will I find information about my local area?
  8. What is a coastal hazard?
  9. What does Council mean by the term ‘coastal risk’?
  10. What will Council do if coastal change does not occur as projected in this plan?
  11. How will I know if progress is being made?
  12. How will Council fund actins to manage the coast?
  13. When will the Plan be finalised?
  14. How is the plan affected by the current coastal management reform process in NSW?
  1. Why has Council prepared this Plan?

    Council has prepared the Coastal Zone Management Plan for the Shoalhaven Coastline (CZMP) to identify sustainable ways to manage coastal hazards and protect the values of our coastline. The CZMPS reflects the most up-to-date coastal hazard information for the City.

    The CZMP project is funded jointly by Council and NSW government and Australian government grants.

    The Plan must meet a range of State government requirements under the NSW Coastal Protection Act and NSW Coastal Policy.

    The Plan must:

    • Identify immediate and longer term coastal hazards and risks. Longer term hazards and risks are (in part) associated with climate change and sea level rise
    • Evaluate a range of options to manage coastal risks, starting with risks affecting public safety, coastal access and enjoyment, and public and private assets now
    • Show how people and property will be protected from coastal hazards during emergencies caused by major coastal storms
    • Support risk based decisions in coastal land use planning (such as the LEP and DCP), so that development does not expand into high hazard areas where subsequent controls and protection will be difficult and expensive
    • Show how Shoalhaven City Council and its partners will deliver all the required actions
    • Set out how everyone will know that progress is being made
    • Show how Council will review its priority actions as knowledge of coastal change increases

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  2. What beaches are included within the Plan?

    The coastline of Shoalhaven City Council is 165 kilometres long, extending from Shoalhaven Heads to Durras. There are 35 open coast beaches, as well as bays and headlands along the of Shoalhaven coastline. The CZMP covers beaches, dunes and headlands that are under Council’s management, and/or where there are public and private assets that could be affected by coastal hazards. The CZMP does not provide hazard assessments for beaches and headlands that are in National Park (NSW or Commonwealth), although it does take the management of the coastline in National Parks into account.

    The CZMP provides details about the following beaches:

    Shoalhaven Heads, Culburra
    Currarong, Callala Bay, Calllala Beach, Collingwood Beach
    St Georges Basin, Inyadda, Berrara, Bendalong, Lake Conjola, Manyana
    Narrawallee, Mollymook
    Ulladulla (Harbour)
    Burrill Lake, Tabourie
    Kioloa, Bawley Point, Murramarang, Gannet Beach, North Durras

    Estuaries and lakes are covered by separate Estuary Management Plans that are available here

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  3. How are views from the Shoalhaven community taken into consideration?

    Many people along the coast have contributed to the preparation of the Plan, providing great local knowledge, ideas and feedback over several years. Communities along the coastline have been consulted throughout the preparation of the CZMP, including through the website, consulting directly with many community groups, associations and organisations, and talking directly with interested residents, property owners and visitors to the Shoalhaven.

    People and groups have provided information on a range of coastal hazards, natural values and the ways in which they use and enjoy the Shoalhaven coastline. Knowledge gained from this process is presented here with more information in Section 2.3 of the CZMP. The information from the community has assisted the council and planning team to target recommendations and actions to be undertaken in the next 10 years.

    You are invited to have a look at the CZMP through the public exhibition process. If there are concerns that you have that are not addressed through the plan as exhibited, we encourage you to make a submission to Council to ensure your voice is adequately heard.

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  4. What issues are covered in the Plan?

    The plan covers a range of issues, including:

    • Making progress towards integrating the management of coastal zone issues into a comprehensive package for the open coast, estuaries, bays and headlands
    • Engaging local communities in the management of their beaches and other areas in the coastal zone, including the right balance between access, visual appeal, dune stabilisation and protection of native vegetation
    • Implementing fair and effective planning controls so that new development takes into account immediate and longer term coastal hazards and risks, and supporting appropriate protection for existing development that is likely to be affected by coastal erosion now
    • Improving community capacity to respond to erosion and flooding emergencies caused by coastal storms
    • Enhancing coastal biodiversity by controlling weeds and feral predators, as well as appropriate fire management and access management
    • Incorporating coastal risks into planning for infrastructure replacements and upgrades, including beach access ways and major assets such as sewerage reticulation and pump stations
    • Implementing adaptive management to reduce uncertainty and maintain best practice

    The CZMP provides guidance on how the issues will be dealt with, who is responsible, where funding will come and when actions are scheduled to be undertaken.

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  5. Where should I look for information about other coastal zone issues?

    Information on coastal hazards is available on the CZMP website here, and other issues are covered in a suite of management plans that you can access directly from Council here

    For further information about coastal zone management in NSW, go here

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  6. How does this Plan fit with Council’s DCP?

    SCC proposes to manage coastal risks for existing and future development through strategic land use planning and development assessment controls in the Shoalhaven LEP 2014 and Shoalhaven DCP 2014.

    These planning instruments will apply to coastal risk areas along the whole of the Shoalhaven coast. The planning controls will be linked to specific risks for different types of development. The coastal hazards and risks are defined in the CZMP and associated coastal hazard studies, and the full assessments of hazard and risk can be viewed on Council’s web site.

    The planning measures will:

    • Avoid future risk by preventing intensification of land use in coastal risk areas, without unnecessarily sterilising the use of these lands in the short to medium term
    • Adapt to existing and future risks by requiring certain design features in new development (or retrofitted to existing development in coastal risk areas
    • Inform land holders about coastal risks that affect their property

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  7. Where will I find information about my local area?

    The CZMP provides actions specific to all local areas along the Shoalhaven Coastline. Section 5 of the Plan gives an overview of issues particular to each location, the hazard maps for the area, the actions that are available to manage the coastal issues and any other information specific to that locality.

    Section 6 provides a summary of how actions for all areas will be implemented and shows the priority actions to be commenced within 2 years, within 5 years and later.

    The CZMP will be available for public comment for about three months from November 2012. Feedback about local area strategies is welcome.

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  8. What is a coastal hazard?

    Waves, currents, tides, winds and long term water levels shape coastal landforms and the coastal landscape. These natural processes change the coast by causing beach and dune erosion, coastal recession, flooding due to waves, moving creek entrances, and slumping or rock fall on cliffs and bluffs.

    The frequency and intensity of coastal processes and hazards is highly variable. Tides and waves change from day to day. Seasonal occurrence of storms and medium term variations such as La Nina and El Nino affect patterns of coastal processes, because they influence rainfall, wave height and angle, wind speed and the frequency of storm bite erosion of beaches and dunes. In NSW, the patterns of storms known as East Coast Lows have a significant influence on the severity of coastal erosion.

    In the longer term, sea level rise affects the area that is affected by coastal erosion and inundation. Climate change over medium to long term time frames also affects storm patterns, wave angles and other coastal processes.

    These hazards impact on coastal ecology, coastal pathways, surf clubs, houses, roads and other infrastructure that is valued by coastal communities.

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  9. What does Council mean by the term ‘coastal risk’?

    Risk assessment and management is a systematic way of evaluating the impact of change and options to manage those impacts. Risk based management is used in many sectors of government and business to help make sound decisions about the best way to achieve community, government and business objectives. Most people use more informal risk concepts to decide how to manage issues that affect their lives.

    Coastal risk refers to the combination of the likelihood and the consequence of particular events in the coastal zone. Likelihood is a measure of probability and consequence is a measure of the value that would be damaged or destroyed. For instance, coastal erosion can undermine coastal vegetation, beach access pathways and viewing platforms, people’s gardens, homes, surf clubs, roads and other infrastructure. Wave overtopping of coastal dunes can cause flooding that interferes with the operation of drainage and sewerage systems, as well as flooding low lying homes.

    High and extreme risks are associated with events that are relatively frequent and have severe consequences. In the immediate hazard zone (where coastal processes are considered to be active now, during very large storm events), extreme risk is usually assigned when there are multiple dwellings within the impact area, or major community infrastructure. In the longer term, the loss of the beach itself due to persistent erosion and recession can also be assessed as an extreme risk, because beaches are such highly valued community assets – with important social, environmental and economic contributions to the well being of local communities.

    Good planning takes coastal risks into consideration. Risk can be reduced by changing the likelihood of an event, or by reducing the severity of the consequences. Risk reduction strategies that may be relevant for different parts of the coast include building up coastal dunes and restoring vegetation, construction of temporary or permanent sea walls to protect important built assets, changing the design of houses and other buildings, relocation of buildings (like surf clubs) and infrastructure (like sewerage pump stations), and ensuring that affected communities are well prepared for coastal emergencies.

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  10. What will Council do if coastal change does not occur as projected in this plan?

    The CZMP is a plan for managing coastal change. Some coastal change is certain. It is within the known variability of the erosion and recovery of beaches and dunes over the last 50 years. The rate and exact timing of longer term coastal change is less certain. The CZMPS recognises these differences between short term variability and less certain long term trends. It uses the best available information to determine long term hazards and risks.

    The CZMP includes a monitoring program for the coast. This program is designed to track physical changes to the coast (such as erosion trends), changes to the condition of coastal ecology, and a range of social and economic indicators. These include the value of coastal land, changes to local population, investment in repair of assets in coastal risk areas, beach safety incidents and other factors. Council will receive regular updates from reputable NSW government, Australian government (e.g. CSIRO) and university scientists about actual sea level rise, as well as the results of new science such as the monitoring of near-shore sea bed profiles and beach form.

    The CZMP is designed to be updated as new information becomes available. This means that the plan is flexible and able to adapt to changes as they occur (or do not occur as the case may be). The Plan is a 10 year program of action, with a five year interim review and a full review at ten years.

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  11. How will I know if progress is being made?

    Council will be keeping track of the implementation of the CZMP. It will record information such as:

    • Whether actions were done at the proposed time
    • The cost of management actions – for instance, did the work cost what was expected?
    • The outcomes that have been achieved. For instance, does a new access ramp increase beach use by less able people? How has usage of a foreshore reserve changed with new facilities and better car parking? Has coastal vegetation health improved after work by Bushcare or after closing some access tracks? What has happened to sand placed on beaches to increase beach or dune volume?
    • Longer term trends in frontal dune position and beach volume.

    Some of this monitoring will be done by Council or the NSW Government. Some monitoring, such as photographic records of local beach condition and simple biodiversity monitoring will be done within local communities.

    The results of tracking both what has been done and what has been achieved will be reported to the Coast, Estuary and Floodplain Management Committee and to Council. Information about changes to the coast will also be available on Council’s web site.

    The easiest way to find out progress on the CZMPS and its implementation is going is to check Council’s website, or give them a call to find out how you can be involved and what has been happening so far.

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  12. How will Council fund actins to manage the coast?

    The highest priority packages of actions in the CZMP have an estimated budget of more than a million dollars. There are several different strategies that Council is using to fund actions within the coastal zone.

    Council’s main sources of funds for coastal zone management are rates and levies, government grants and joint programs with the community or the private sector. In this context, options for funding the implementation of the CZMP include:

    • Including actions within job descriptions of council officers, to clarify appropriate roles and make sure that new responsibilities are properly allocated
    • Minimising costs for actions through sensible planning of asset management programs
    • Reviewing and reallocating priorities in Council’s overall Business Plan
    • Fostering partnerships with government agencies, landholders, the private sector and community groups to fund and implement actions and programs. This includes partnerships with the Southern Rivers Catchment Management Authority, Bushcare volunteers, surf clubs and local businesses
    • Council supports the NSW government policy that private landholders should contribute to the cost of coastal protection works from which they benefit
    • Applying for grants and other programs from the State and Federal Government such as Caring for our Country. Examples include OEH Coast and Estuary Program, Australian Government Caring for our Country Program and Natural Disaster funding programs
    • Research partnerships with universities, where there are knowledge gaps that can be addressed through student research projects Other schemes and programs in consultation with the State Government and other bodies

    Council is considering longer term options for levies on coastal properties, or across the local government area, to help maintain assets and beach amenity.

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  13. When will the Plan be finalised?

    The plan will be exhibited for comment for about 3 months from November 2012. After this time people’s comments will be incorporated into the plan as appropriate, in order for Council and the State Government to finalise and adopt the plan.

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  14. How is the plan affected by the current coastal management reform process in NSW?

    The NSW Government formed a Ministerial Taskforce in 2011 to develop changes to the Coastal Protection Act and associated policy and guideline documents, as promised in their election platform. After seven meetings and advice from the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer and a Panel of coastal science, engineering and planning experts, the Taskforce announced a range of changes in September 2012. These changes are summarised below and further details and more reforms will be introduced over the next 12 months.

    Stage 1 of the reforms includes:

    • The previous NSW State-wide sea level rise benchmarks (40cm above 1990 levels by 2050 and 90cm above 1990 levels by 2100) are no longer NSW Government policy. The Government proposes to establish a specialist technical advice centre (most likely within a university), and Councils will be responsible for selecting a medium to long term sea level rise scenario that is appropriate for their local situation. Depending on competent scientific opinion, Councils may choose from low or high sea level rise projections.
    • The government wants to increase focus on immediate coastal hazards. A new guideline on coastal hazard assessment and mapping will be released for consultation, after review by the Expert Panel
    • A revised guideline for authorised officers will be released late in 2012
    • The controls on construction of emergency coastal protection works (now termed temporary coastal protection works) have been eased, to reduce ‘red tap’ and make it easier for private landholders to install large sand bag structures to protect their land. These structures can also be built on public land for up to two years (with a certificate).
    • The government has commissioned WRL (University of NSW) to provide advice on sand bag sea wall design and offsite erosion impacts. Sea wall codes will be revised and updated as necessary.
    • Separately, the NSW Government is introducing reforms to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act, including changes to the framework of State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs), such as Infrastructure SEPP, SEPP 71 (coast) and the NSW Coastal Policy. Details are continuing to evolve.
    • SES will release new guidelines to clarity the roles of SES and local Councils in coastal emergencies.
    • Councils have been given additional time to prepare CZMPs, taking into account the new policy and statutory reforms.

    The coastal management reform process will continue for some time and details about matters affecting the management of the Shoalhaven coastline may not be available for many months. The current draft of the CZMP addresses all requirements of the previous legislation and policies and its coastal recession projections are based on the best currently available scientific advice from the NSW government. Council has decided to proceed with the exhibition of the draft CZMP, and obtain feedback from its local communities.

    Council will update the CZMP as necessary when further advice to confirm State policy and planning requirements is available. Council will keep its local communities up to date with changes via its web site.

    For more information about the NSW coastal reforms, go to

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