The Victorian Coastal Strategy (revised October 2001)

The Victorian Coastal Council (VCC) was appointed under the Coastal Management Act 1995 as the peak body for the strategic planning and management of the Victorian coast, and to provide advice on coastal issues to the Minister for Conservation and Environment. Three Regional Coastal Boards – West, Central, and Gippsland – support the Council.

The Coastal Management Act defines the preparation of the Strategy as the major duty of the VCC. The task was carried out following an 18-month period of consultation, with state agencies, local councils and the public.

The Strategy sets out four 'principles for action': Sustain, Protect, Direct, Develop. The draft revision retains this structure, with the four principles explained in terms of sustainable development. Under each of these four principles general objectives are defined, with policies to work towards the objectives; actions and the nomination of lead agents are added to the policies.

Figure 4.4 Schematic view of zones of jurisdiction of Victorian state agencies, 1993

Schematic view of zones of jurisdiction of Victorian state agencies, 1993

Source: State Government of Victoria 1994

The coastal zone includes land and waters on the seaward side of coastal watersheds, and the sea and seabed to the limit of state waters.

The Coastal Strategy is a 'whole of government' statutory policy agreed and implemented by state agencies and local councils: under the Coastal Management Act, land managers must 'take all reasonable steps' to give effect to the Strategy. Actions are defined strategically and detailed through Local Action Plans. The Regional Coastal Boards oversee implementation of the Action Plans. Implementation is assisted by the fact that 96% of coastal lands in Victoria are in public hands.

The New South Wales Coastal Policy

The New South Wales Coastal Council was appointed under the Coastal Protection Act 1979 with a range of duties, which include advising the Minister on 'policies concerning the planning and management of the coastal region; and, the coordination of the policies and activities of the Government'.

The 1997 New South Wales Coastal Policy entitled A Sustainable Future for the NSW Coast, is a revision of the 1990 policy, and has evolved through an extensive process of public consultation (NSW Government 1990a, 1997). The 1997 Coastal Policy is government policy, and 'all New South Wales State Government agencies and local councils are required to take account of it in the preparation of their own specific policies and plans' (NSW Government 1997, p. 24). The policy builds upon a well-established system of regional and local environment, plans, coastal and estuary management plans and on guidelines, such as the Coastline Management Manual (NSW Government 1990b).

The policy applies to the area encompassing waters three nautical miles seaward of the mainland and offshore islands, land one kilometre landward of the open coast high water mark, and land within one kilometre around all bays, estuaries, coastal lakes and islands and tidal waters of coastal rivers. However, the policy to date does not apply to the Greater Metropolitan Region.

The Policy defines goals and objectives and sets out strategic actions organised under the nine goals. The Coastal Council is required to report annually to the state parliament on the implementation of the policy, and to date three such reports have been made. The annual report to June 2001 details the large amount of work of coordination involved in implementing the policy, including notably the establishment of a seven-minister state cabinet subcommittee on the coast, as well as the task of ensuring that Local Environment Plans are compliant with the coastal policy. Among its key points, the 1999-2000 Annual Report noted: 'The Annual Report of the Coastal Council provides evidence of increasing co-ordination of actions between stakeholders to implement the Coastal Policy. However the process of gathering information for this annual report has highlighted the different understanding, appreciation and priorities of agencies and councils involved in coastal zone management' (Coastal Council of NSW, Annual Report 1999-2000, p. 4).

 
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