Why do we need a Coastal Management Program?

    The NSW Government has set up the policy framework for coastal councils to prepare CMPs to manage their coastal environments in an ecologically sustainable manner. CMPs replace Coastal Zone Management Plans. The Lake Illawarra CMP will be one of the first CMPs produced under the new guidelines.

    A CMP ensures that the values of the community, Councils, State Government, and other stakeholders are incorporated into a management plan to guide the present and future actions on the Lake. It aims to protect and enhance the health of the Lake, with consideration to the values and threats identified by various stakeholders. Essentially, the CMP is an overarching document to ensure the Lake is managed in a coordinated manner by the different agencies responsible for its management.

    Once endorsed by the State Government, there will be increased opportunities to seek grant funding to support the implementation of the actions in a CMP.

    How will the CMP be funded?

    The Business Plan at Section 6 (page 86) of the Draft CMP provides an overview of how much the proposed management actions will cost and how it is intended the CMP will be funded over time. Even though costs have been included in the plan based on best information available currently, it is very difficult to be certain how much money each action will cost into the future. Because of this, the Business Plan will be reviewed each financial year and projected costs updated.

    The actions in the plan are required to be put into Council’s Integrated Planning and Reporting Framework so their progress can be assessed through this process. They are subject to each agencies usual budgeting and planning processes however. This means that even though an action is in the plan, it doesn’t guarantee that it will receive the funding necessary for it to be undertaken. It will depend on other priorities and funding limitations. Actions in a CMP have a better chance of getting funded than those not included and will be eligible to access State Government funds in order to be implemented.

    How has the CMP addressed Climate Change?

    Every environmental threat identified for the Lake has been assessed for the level of risk at the present time as well as in future time frames which include consideration of the consequences of climate change. These risk levels that have helped determine what actions are included in the plan and which are not. A new set of tidal inundation mapping that incorporates the effects of climate change was also completed to help develop the management actions.

    How is the Lake managed now that the LIA is gone?

    The NSW State Government disbanded the Lake Illawarra Authority on 1 July 2014 and transferred the management of Lake land and assets to various management agencies, including Wollongong and Shellharbour City Councils. While managing their responsibilities on a needs basis, these management agencies agreed that a Coastal Management Program (CMP) be developed to provide them with a strategic direction and help direct funding for the environmental protection of the Lake for the next 10 years. The Lake Illawarra Estuary Management Committee was formed to provide advice to both Councils on the strategic environmental management of the Lake. They have been overseeing the development of the CMP. There is no indication from the State Government that the LIA will be reinstated.

    How has the permanent opening of the entrance channel been addressed in the Draft CMP?

    The entrance channel was permanently opened in 2007 and the way the lake functions, especially within and near the entrance channel, has changed as a result. The Draft CMP lists a series of management actions aimed to address some of the consequences of the permanent opening at Section 4.3 Manage the Entrance Channel (page 56). The changing nature of the Lake has influenced many of the other management actions as well, including managing foreshore erosion (page 67), preparing for inundation risks (page 69) and protect and rehabilitate estuarine and riparian vegetation (page 59).

    Does this plan consider the Lake becoming a recreational fishing haven or the management of cockles?

    Fisheries policy issues such as cockle harvesting and recreational fishing havens are managed by DPI Fisheries under separate legislation and processes to the CMP. 

    Some of the strategies in the plan do include actions related to fishing activities and have been developed with DPI - Fisheries involvement, for example 4.9 Protect and Manage Key Fauna (page 73). These actions are not related to fisheries policy however.

    Why isn’t dredging in the CMP?

    Dredging within the lake channel for navigational purposes is a proposed management action in the Draft CMP (EC3 page 57). Dredging within the various bays of the lake was considered during the selection process for actions, but it did not score highly enough during the multi-criteria cost/ benefit analyses to be included in the plan. This analysis can be seen in Table E-2, page E-27 of the CMP.

    Who do I call about day to day issues?

    Any queries or concerns about day to day management issues in or around the lake should be directed to the relevant local council or other government agency as per usual.

    Wollongong City Council Customer Service number: 4227 7111

    Shellharbour City Council Customer Service number: 4221 6111