A NSW Government website - NSW Marine Estate

FAQs about the Strategy for local government


Published 21 October 2021

The NSW marine estate

The marine estate is all coastal waters of NSW from the Queensland border to the Victorian border and out to three nautical miles. It includes estuaries to their tidal limits, coastal wetlands and lands immediately adjacent to, or in the immediate proximity of NSW coastal waters including beaches, dunes, headlands and rock platforms.

What is the Marine Estate Management Strategy?

The Marine Estate Management Strategy (PDF, 12612.84 KB) (Strategy) is a framework for the NSW Government to coordinate the management of the marine estate between 2018 and 2028. The Strategy identifies actions to address statewide priority threats (PDF, 5144.96 KB) to the marine estate.

The Marine Estate Management Authority (the Authority) is comprised of four agencies with responsibilities in marine estate management:

  • Department of Primary Industries (DPI)
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Energy, Environment and Science (DPIE-EES)
  • Department of Planning, Industry and Environment – Planning and Assessment (DPIE-PA)
  • Transport for NSW (TfNSW)

The Authority developed the Strategy following significant input from stakeholders, including local government, peak interest groups and the broader community. Some projects will occur in specific locations along the coast such as natural oyster reef restoration in Port Stephens. Other projects will have benefits across NSW, such as a Marine Estate Education Strategy or the application of a risk-based framework for water quality in estuaries.

How has local government been involved in delivering the Strategy?

The Authority has engaged with local councils since the early stages of the development of the Strategy. Since its release in August 2018, staff implementing the Strategy have been liaising with council staff to identify partnerships, plan projects and ensure they are relevant to, and complement council programs where possible. Many coastal councils are actively engaged in delivering projects underway.

Does the Strategy have funding for local government projects?

The Strategy is not a grants program and therefore local councils cannot apply directly for funding under the Strategy actions. The exception is the Boating Now Program in Initiative 7, as Transport for NSW provides grant funding to Councils for the delivery of maritime infrastructure.

Council input into the development of the Strategy has helped the Authority identify many projects that address the statewide priority threats. State agencies are funded to coordinate the 100+ projects underway. Project leads are working closely with all partners, including local government, to improve the health of the marine estate to benefit the community.

Regional staff of the marine estate agencies (Figure 3) will be the key contacts for councils to ensure the integration of the Strategy with CMPs under development. Regional staff will facilitate the provision of consistent and agreed advice and guidance on behalf of the Authority to councils.

How and where is the Strategy being implemented?

The Implementation Plan (PDF, 4340.52 KB) outlines how the NSW Government will deliver the initiatives and actions in a coordinated and streamlined way. A map (PDF, 1591.34 KB) is available of current projects in each local government area.

How does the Strategy and TARA link with Coastal Management Programs?

Council Coastal Management Programs (CMPs) are strongly aligned with improving outcomes for the marine estate. CMPs are required to support the objectives of the Marine Estate Management Act 2014. The development and implementation of the Strategy and CMPs are bound by legislation and both rely on a risk-based approach (Figure 1).

As councils develop their CMPs through their five stages (Figure 2), they should consider:

  • the TARA - which is a key resource for considering priority threats on estuaries and coastal and marine areas during preparation of CMP Scoping Studies
  • aligning CMP actions with the initiatives and actions in the Strategy
  • outcomes and key learnings from projects piloted in early stages of the Strategy to help inform the design and implementation of local management actions (including those in CMPs)
  • data collected to monitor and evaluate Strategy outcomes (for example water quality data) which can inform CMP delivery.

Who can I contact for more information?

Authority agency representatives are located in four coastal regions along the NSW coast. For more information on how to integrate Strategy actions into CMPs your first point of contact is your nearest regional Authority agency representative (Figure 3).

If you require information, please contact the program leaders:

Nicola Johnstone, DPI (Strategy)nicola.johnstone@dpi.nsw.gov.au
Louisa Clark, DPIE – EES (Strategy)louisa.clark@environment.nsw.gov.au
Michelle Fletcher, DPIE – EES (CMPs)michelle.fletcher@environment.nsw.gov.au

Figure 1. The Strategy and Coastal Management Programs are bound by legislation

A Venn diagram showing how legislation for coastal management programs and the marine estate management strategy intersect


Figure 2. Ideas for integrating the NSW Marine Estate Management Strategy with Coastal Management Programs

1. Scoping
  • Consider regional priority threats from the TARA in first pass risk assessment.
  • Refer to TARA evidence base and background reports to inform knowledge gaps.
  • Include MEMA public authorities in your stakeholder engagement strategy.
  • Link with relevant pilot studies / initiatives.
2. Determining risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities
  • Where sensible, use consistent terminology for threat, value and benefit categories to the TARA.
  • Consider using / modifying likelihood, consequence and tolerance tables adopted in the TARA.
  • Link with relevant pilot studies / initiatives.
3. Identify and evaluate options
  • Consider feasibility, viability and acceptability of MEM Strategy actions in your CMP.
  • Review progress and outcomes of pilot studies undertaken elsewhere that relate to your priority threats.
  • Look for other opportunities to integrate with MEM Strategy.
4. Prepare, exhibit, finalise and adopt CMP
  • Document partnerships with MEMA Agencies.
  • Submit CMP for certification (Minister may seek advice by NSW Coastal Council that includes MEEKP Reps).
5. Implement, monitor, evaluate and report
  • Integrate with MEM Strategy monitoring happening in your area.
  • Public Authorities (including those represented on MEMA) to have regard to certified CMPs.
  • MEM Strategy actions that also are included in CMPs may be eligible for coastal program grants.

Acronyms and links


Figure 3. Strategy and Coastal Management Programs integration and contacts

A multi-layered diagram showing relationships between the Strategy and Coastal Management Programs and contacts.