A draft Strategic Guide to Planning for Natural Hazards and a supporting toolkit has been prepared to help build the State’s natural hazards resilience through strategic planning.

Snapshot

  • The NSW Department of Planning, Industry and Environment (DPIE) is exhibiting a package of documents to improve the way in which strategic planning is used to build resilience to natural hazards in NSW.
  • The package comprises a draft strategic guide that sets out guiding principles for strategic planning, as well as a toolkit of resources that help strategic planning authorities find further information and guidance relating to natural hazards.

DPIE is currently seeking public submissions on the package, which will be on exhibition until 8 June 2021.

Background

Strategic planning refers to the making of regional, district and local strategic plans, which are ultimately implemented through environmental planning instruments and planning decisions.

The NSW Government recognises that the planning system plays a significant role in reducing the community’s exposure and vulnerability to natural hazards. In light of this, DPIE has prepared a package of materials to provide guidance to strategic planning authorities on planning for natural hazards

The package comprises a draft Strategic Guide and a supporting toolkit.

Draft Strategic Guide

The Strategic Guide seeks to improve the way in which strategic planning is used to build the community’s resilience to the natural hazards that post a high or extreme risk to NSW, being bushfires, coastal hazards (including erosion), drought, earthquake, east coast lows, floods, heatwaves, landslides, storms and tsunamis.

The Strategic Guide does not replace any existing legislation or policy that deals with natural disasters. It is intended to be a tool that allows strategic planning authorities to consider natural hazards in a more integrated way when carrying out their strategic planning functions, including making regional, district and local strategic plans and planning proposals.

To achieve this, the Strategic Guide sets out eight guiding principles for integrating consideration of natural hazards into strategic planning activities. These are:

  1. be strategic, consider risks from natural hazards early — strategic plans should consider the exposure and vulnerability of development to existing and likely future risk;
  2. protect vulnerable people (such as the elderly) and assets (such as transport and energy infrastructure);
  3. adopt an “all-hazards” approach that considers coincident, compounding and cascading events (such as earthquakes triggering tsunamis or landslides);
  4. involve the community in conversations about the risks which the community ultimately bears;
  5. plan for emergency response and evacuation, recognising that natural hazard risks cannot be completely eliminated;
  6. be information driven — high-quality natural hazards data should be used and shared for strategic planning;
  7. plan to rebuild for the future, not the present — any post-disaster rebuilding should enhance future resilience; and
  8. understand the relationship between natural processes and natural hazards.

Supporting toolkit

The Strategic Guide is supported by a toolkit, which is a list of resources that can provide further information and guidance about natural hazards to strategic planning authorities. This list includes a wide range of publications from government agencies, industry groups and research centres and contains:

  • natural hazards data, such as maps;
  • natural hazards management guidelines;
  • risk assessment guidelines; and
  • research and other reference material.

Next steps

If you would like to comment on the package, you can make a submission on DPIE’s website or by post.

Submissions will close after 8 June 2021. If you would like any assistance to make a submission, please get in touch with us.

By Peter Briggs, Partner, Tom Dougherty, Senior Associate and Zhongwei Wang, Solicitor.

Peter Briggs
Peter Briggs
Partner, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5155
Tom Dougherty
Tom Dougherty
Senior Associate, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5533

Get in touch

We take a creative, strategic and commercial approach to environment and planning issues. If you need urgent advice or just have a general query, please contact one of us below.

Peter Briggs
Peter Briggs
Partner, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5155
Rebecca Davie
Rebecca Davie
Senior Associate, Sydney
+61 2 9322 4755
Daniel Webster
Daniel Webster
Senior Associate, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5556
Tom Dougherty
Tom Dougherty
Senior Associate, Sydney
+61 2 9225 5533