In a first for the state’s capital, the NSW Government has awarded $274,000 to support 20 local councils joining forces to protect over 480 square kilometres of Sydney Harbour.

The Greater Sydney Harbour catchment comprises of four smaller catchments including Parramatta River, Lane Cove River, Middle Harbour and the remaining foreshore areas draining into Port Jackson.

Urban stormwater runoff was identified as a key issue in an initial 2018 scoping study, which also recommended further technical studies, as well as a system-wide Coastal Management Program (CMP).

Photo: Dan Freeman via Unsplash

Stormwater occurs when rainwater flows through street gutters managed by councils and picks up pollutants such as litter, garden nutrients, dog droppings and more.

Minister for Local Government Shelley Hancock said 540 tonnes of harmful nutrients enter Sydney Harbour each year, as well as 340,000 tonnes of solids including soil and rubbish.

“The grant funding will help consolidate all urban stormwater data and enable individual councils to develop management actions to be considered in the CMP, in coordination with the management programs of state agencies,” Mrs Hancock said.

“Developing a CMP helps local government to understand the complex coastal and estuarine environment, and to plan future actions.”

Felicity Wilson discussing the Sydney Harbour Catchment announcement at Balmoral Beach

Parliamentary Secretary for the Environment and Member for North Shore Felicity Wilson said the Sydney Coastal Councils Group, working closely with the Parramatta River Catchment Group, will lead the project one step closer to developing a Greater Sydney Harbour Coastal Management Plan (CMP).

“This crucial forward-thinking planning will ensure the best outcome for our iconic Sydney Harbour,” Ms Wilson said.

“Councils linked by the Greater Sydney Harbour catchment area have come together for the first time ever to pool resources and work towards a whole of catchment plan to protect Sydney Harbour.

“This is the largest collaboration of councils to receive a NSW Government planning grant, and we are excited to see this group work together to improve and strengthen Sydney Harbour.”

The $274,000 grant is funded under the NSW Government’s Coastal and Estuary Grants Program, which aims to increase the resilience of coastal communities and implement actions to improve the health of the NSW coastlines and estuaries.

Funding is provided at a 2:1 ratio ($2 from NSW Government for every $1 provided by the applicant).

The 20 local councils supported by the funding are:
1. Waverley Council
2. Willoughby City Council
3. Woollahra Municipal Council
4. Inner West Council
5. Northern Beaches Council
6. North Sydney Council
7. Ku-ring-gai Council
8. Hornsby Shire Council
9. City of Sydney
10. Mosman Municipal Council
11. Blacktown City Council
12. Burwood Council
13. City of Canada Bay Council
14. Canterbury Bankstown Council
15. Cumberland Council
16. Municipality of Hunters Hill
17. City of Ryde
18. City of Parramatta
19. Hills Shire Council
20. Lane Cove Council

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