Waterways are a huge part of the Central Coast community’s lifestyle. They underpin our identity, support our local economy, provide recreational and social opportunities for locals and visitors and support our mental and physical wellbeing. They provide the water we drink and the air we breathe, and our health is as dependant on them as theirs is on us. In addition to the values and benefits Central Coast Waterways offer us, they are important in their own right and have significant ecological and intrinsic value which should be managed both now, and into the future.    

Map image display of catchment areas for each of the Coastal Management Programs.
Map image display of catchment areas for each of the Coastal Management Programs.

We recognise that for most of our residents, it is difficult to go more than 2km without coming into very close proximity of a waterway, meaning that the majority of our population play a role in the ongoing maintenance and health of our waterways. This is why we believe the most effective way to engage our community is to take a regionwide approach.  

Our round one consultation survey focused on:  

  • the management of waterways 
  • use of waterways 
  • views on waterways  
  • obtaining a demographic profile of survey participants. 

The information collected will not only be used to inform the development of the three CMP actions, but also the education and implementation for the Coastal Management Programs.  

The lesson that we have learnt to date, is that the positive and pro-active works are often overshadowed by misinformation and missed opportunities to celebrate the wins and share knowledge with our community.  

We know that not many of our community recognise that we have implemented over 76% of the actions identified in our existing Coastal Zone Management Plans, Estuary Management Plans and the like. We are committed to using this opportunity as a fresh start with the community, as one Council, and will use this survey as a benchmarking exercise to ensure continuous improvement and action implementation. It will also allow us to be agile in our approach to managing our waterways with our community over time. 

In accordance with the NSW Coastal Management Framework, Central Coast Council is required to develop Coastal Management Programs (CMPs) for our part of the NSW Coast (excluding National Parks estate). Acknowledging the size and diversity of the coastal zone of the Central Coast, Council has decided to prepare 3 CMPs focusing on Tuggerah Lakes, the open coast and coastal lagoons and the Hawkesbury-Nepean River system including Brisbane Water. We will be working with Lake Macquarie City Council to develop a CMP for Lake Macquarie.  

Our waterways need us, and we must develop these plans - we don’t want to exclude your important views so let us know what matters to you. 

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What is a Coastal Management Program?  

Coastal Management Programs set the long-term strategy for the management of our coastal environments including our lakes, lagoons, estuaries, beaches and their associated catchments.  CMP’s are prepared by local councils in accordance with the NSW Government Coastal Management Framework.  CMP’s will replace existing Estuary & Coastal Zone Management Plans which were prepared under previous legislation. 

What is the Coastal Zone?

The NSW Coastal Zone is defined in the Coastal Management Act comprising 4 distinct coastal management areas: 

  1. coastal wetlands and littoral rainforests area 
  2. coastal vulnerability area 
  3. coastal environment area 
  4. coastal use area. 

Each of these management areas has specific objectives reflecting their different values to coastal communities.  The Coastal Management State Environmental Planning Policy (CM SEPP) identifies and maps the coastal zone and establishes specific planning controls for each area.  

Click here to view the mapped areas.  

What waterways does Central Coast Council manage?

Central Coast Council in partnership with other stakeholders, government agencies and our community is responsible for strategically planning for, facilitating the use of and managing the development of the Coast’s waterways so they remain healthy, clean, safe and accessible now and into the future.  This is no easy task with a range of complex issues, alongside competing priorities and expectations.  

Central Coast Council manages:   

  • Tuggerah Lakes and its tributaries (Ourimbah Creek, Wyong River, Wallarah Creek, Tumbi Creek and Saltwater Creek)  
  • Wamberal, Terrigal, Avoca, Cockrone and Pearl Beach Lagoons  
  • Brisbane Water and its tributaries (Erina, Narara, Kincumber, Tascott, Coorumbine, Woy Woy creeks)  
  • Beaches extending from Patonga in the South to Budgewoi (?) in the north (excluding those within NPWS estate)  

We also assist in the management of southern Lake Macquarie, Broken Bay and the Lower Hawkesbury River and tributaries including Kahibah, Middle, Green Point, Mullet, Mooney and Mangrove Creeks.  

Do Coastal Management Programs include the broader catchment area or just the water?

Our CMP’s consider all physical, biological and chemical processes occurring throughout the catchment which can impact on the health of the waterbodies. The CMP’s will include management actions to address major threats & issues in the catchments.  

Who is responsible for developing Coastal Management Programs?

Coastal management programs are prepared by local councils in accordance with the coastal management manual and in consultation with their communities and relevant public authorities. Following completion of the CMP and endorsement by Council and other relevant authorities, they will be sent to the Minister for Local Government for official certification. 

Why do we need Coastal Management Programs?

Coastal Management Programs set the long-term strategy for the management of the coastal zone/our coastal environments including our lakes, lagoons, estuaries, beaches and their associated catchments.  Further to this, in order to secure grant funding via the NSW Government Coastal & Estuary Management Program to implement actions, a certified CMP required.  

What is the process for the development of the Coastal Management Programs?

The NSW Coastal Management Manual sets out the process for the development and implementation of CMPs. The manual has two parts: 

  • Part A: Introduction and mandatory requirements for a coastal management program 
  • Part B: Guidance for preparing and implementing a coastal management program 
    • Stage 1: Identify the scope of the CMP 
    • Stage 2: Determine risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities 
    • Stage 3: Identify and evaluate options 
    • Stage 4: Prepare, exhibit, finalise, certify and adopt the CMP 
    • Stage 5: Implement, monitor, evaluate and report 
Why do we need another plan/program/strategy for the management of our waterways?

Our previous Estuary & Coastal Zone Management Plans were prepared in accordance with the Coastal Protection Act (1979) which was repealed in 2018 and replaced by the Coastal Management Act (2016).  As a result of this, the existing plans will cease to be recognised by the end of 2023 and will need to be replaced with Coastal Management Programs prepared in accordance with new legislation.  Further to this, both existing EMP’s & CZMP’s and future CMP’s require review and update at regular intervals/ at least every 10 years to ensure currency and to reflect on achievements and challenges in implementation.  In this regard, our existing EMP’s & CZMP’s are due for review. 

What is the difference between a plan and a program?

Semantics 😊... 

Plan - a detailed proposal for achieving something. 

Program – a set of related measures or activities with a particular long-term aim. 

Ultimately calling these things “programs” evokes the realisation that management of our coastal zone is an on-going and long-term activity. In a sense “plan” gives the impression that the work will be finished at some point and then we can move onto the next thing. 

How many Coastal Management Programs is Central Coast Council developing?

Central Coast Council is preparing three CMPs: 

  • Tuggerah Lakes 
  • The Open Coast & Coastal Lagoons 
  • Hawkesbury-Nepean River (including Brisbane Water and Broken Bay) 

Central Coast Council is also involved in the preparation of the Lake Macquarie CMP which is being coordinated by Lake Macquarie City Council. 

What will the Coastal Management Programs deliver for the community?

Coastal Management Programs identify coastal management issues and the actions required to address these issues in a strategic and integrated way.  CMPs detail how and when those actions are to be implemented, their costs and proposed cost-sharing arrangements and other viable funding mechanisms. 

What are the benefits of a Coastal Management Program?

Coastal Management Programs provide strategic guidance to the management of our waterways and beaches to ensure that issues are dealt with in an integrated and coordinated way. CMP’s are developed in collaboration with the community and other key stakeholders to ensure that they are reflect community values, build a shared sense of direction and facilitate mutual responsibility and collective action.  

Having certified CMP’s across our coastal zone will also open funding opportunities via the Coastal and Estuary Management Program whereby the NSW Government will pay up to 2/3rds of the total cost of grant funded projects. 

Will any of the actions identified in the existing CZMP’s be carried over to the new CMP?

Relevant actions in existing EMP’s/CZMP’s will be considered for inclusion in the CMP’s. 

How will the actions identified in the Coastal Management Programs influence the actions identified in other strategies, policies and plans such as the Local Environment Plan, Development Control Plan, Flood Risk Management Plans, Active Lifestyles St

Coastal Management Programs are developed in close consultation and collaboration with key internal stakeholders to ensure that there is integration with other council initiatives.  

Given Councils current financial situation, how will the actions identified in the Coastal Management Programs be funded?

There are many opportunities for external grant funding relevant to the implementation of CMP management actions via both state and federal programs.  The most relevant funding program is the NSW Coastal & Estuary Grants Program administered by the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE).  Funding through this program is only available for actions identified in certified CMP’s and is provided at a ratio of 2:1 meaning that Council only have to pay 1/3rd of the total costs for projects funded via this program.  

Council officers are continually seeking opportunities for external funding and are continuing to deliver on existing grant projects whilst developing the CMPs. 

How is the development of the Coastal Management Programs being funded?

The stage 1 scoping studies for the Open Coast & Coastal Lagoons and Hawkesbury-Nepean River CMP’s were partly funded by the NSW Coastal & Estuary Grants Program.  The stage 1 scoping study for Tuggerah Lakes was prepared in-house utilising existing Council resources. 

It is anticipated that activities undertaken during stages 2-4 of development of CMP’s will be part funded via the Coastal & Estuary Grants Program at a ratio of 2:1. Councils matching component has been accounted for in our operational budgets. 

Does the state government provide funding for Coastal Management Programs?

Yes. There are several funding programs that are relevant to actions identified in CMPs.  The Coastal & Estuary Management Grants program is specifically for funding the development and implementation of CMPs. 

How will Council track the implementation of the Coastal Management Programs?

Coastal Management Programs are implemented through Council’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework (IP&R) and the land use planning system.  This means that actions in our CMP’s link directly with the Community Strategic Plan as well as Council’s resourcing strategy, 4-year Delivery Program and annual Operational Plan.

In addition to reporting under the IP&R framework, Central Coast Council also produce an annual(?) state of the waterways report detailing the result of water quality monitoring programs and the Love Out Waterways website will also offer information regarding implementation of projects in our coastal zone. 


How can the community get involved in the development of the Coastal Management Programs?

Coastal Management Programs are developed in close collaboration/consultation with the community, a key output of the stage 1 scoping studies being a stakeholder and community engagement plan.   

To ensure the Coastal Management Programs reflect the values and preferences of our community during phase one consultation we invited the community to complete the waterways and coastline survey which was open until 15 June 2021. 

As we move through the development of the Coastal Management Programs, various opportunities to get involved will be made available. You can:

How is the State Government assisting in the development of Coastal Management Programs? 

The NSW Government’s Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) are assisting councils by:

  • Providing technical and strategic support and also facilitating regional collaboration with other Councils
  • Reviewing the development of Coastal Management Programs against the requirements in the Coastal Management Act and Coastal Manual
  • Providing funding support through the Coastal and Estuaries Grant Program

DPIE are also currently conducting a survey - the Act on Adaptation: Coastal Wise Communities Survey - which we would encourage you to get involved in. We will be using the results of this survey to inform the development of our Coastal Management Programs.

The purpose of this survey is to:

  • Understand your experiences of the coast 
  • Understand the impact of various hazards you may have experienced within the Hunter and Central Coast especially sea level rise and severe coastal storms

This research will be used to inform both Council and the NSW Government about how to manage the impact of coastal hazards. The survey will take about 15-minutes to complete and is open until 28 May 2021.

Will the CMPs address flooding?

No. Flooding is managed in accordance with the NSW Government’s Floodplain Management Program through the development and implementation of Floodplain Risk Management Plans. The CMPs will have regard for these plans, and where overlap exists, will ensure there are no discrepancies in management recommendations and actions. For more information visit the preparing for floods page on our website.

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