13.7 - Attachment 1

Byron Shire Council’s Preliminary Submission on the draft North Coast Regional Plan
















Disclaimer: This document is a preliminary submission prepared by Council Staff and has yet to be endorsed by Council.




The State Government released a draft North Coast Regional Plan (NCRP[s1] ) for public comment with submissions due by 2 June 2016. Council welcomes the opportunity to continue discussions with the Department of Planning and Environment about the draft NCRP and to make a formal submission, as input from affected councils is considered to be vital to the success of the Plan.

It is understood that the NCRP will:

·    have a planning horizon to 2036 providing guidance to the five Far North Coast Councils as well as the Mid North Coast and Lower North Coast for the next 20 years;

·    once adopted by the State government, will replace The Far North Coast Regional Strategy which as been in effect since 2006 (NCRP, p15[s2] ); 

·    require all councils to implement the objectives and actions of the final Plan, appropriate to their local area, in their council planning strategies and local environmental plans. (NCRP, p15)

Staff have reviewed the draft NCRP and considered the impact of its objectives and actions with regard to the needs of the Byron community.  The key issues and recommendations relating to this submission, as identified by staff, are presented in Table 1 below.

It should be noted that staff have also provided advice to the NOROCs submission representing the five North Coast Councils.



Abbreviations and Terms

FNCRS:          Far North Coast Regional Strategy   

NCRP:            draft North Coast Regional Plan

DP & E:           Department of Planning and Environment

Council:           Refers to the Local Government Authority of Byron Shire Council

CZMP:            draft Coastal Zone Management Plan

OEH:               Office of Environment and Heritage

Table 1 Key Recommendations and rationale


Status *

1)   Include separate narratives for each local government area in the final NCRP .

The narratives would consist of a context statement provided by each local government authority that summaries housing, economic and employment opportunities as identified in local growth management strategies.   Such statements would capture local planning expectations such as Byron Shire's focus on agricultural, creative and tourism industries and maintaining low rise residential in its urban areas (a good example can be found in the South East Queensland Regional Plan 2009-2031).


2)   Level of Local Government representation on Coordination and Monitoring Committee should ensure:

a)   there is capacity for at least 1 representative from each subregion;

b)   the position as a representative is on a rotational basis to enable all local government authorities to participate at given intervals; and

c)   clarification is provided as to whether it will be an officer or an elected representative


3)   NCRP Directions/Actions:

a)   Provide clearer guidance on the implementation aspects for each of the Actions (including indicators/measures for the Plans effectiveness and monitoring) to assist local councils with their forward planning and budgeting

The directions and actions that underpin the NCRP framework are very ‘light on’ and lack the specificity of language required to deliver consistent outcomes across the North Coast. No detail is provided on the responsibility, means and timing for the delivery of each action, as well as performance measures to indicate success.


As the delivery of certain actions will have resourcing and financial implications for all councils the NCRP should set out a clear framework for their delivery.  This will enable councils to consider as part of their meeting ‘fit for the future’ requirements and incorporate in their operational plans


4)   Clear guidance on document and mapping reviews identified, namely:

a)   Rationale and terms of reference

The NCRP should identify what outcomes are being sought from the review of Urban Design Guidelines and Farmland Mapping Project.

b)   Timing:

Some review actions ideally should be undertaken prior to finalisation of the strategy, such as the Farmland Review Mapping project.



5)   State and regional policy linkages: the NCRP should include an appendix that lists relevant state and regional policy documents that relate to the delivery of a given NCRP action.


As the NCRP has not been developed as an ‘all of government’ regional plan it would be useful to include an appendix listing any state and regional policy documents relating to the delivery of a given NCRP action.  An example taken from the Central Queensland Regional Plan is provided in Figure 1 below.

6)   Community identity and building: The NCRP should include a community engagement framework to govern preparation of local planning / growth management strategies, together with an associated Action to implement this framework.


7)   LEP Provisions and Housing Diversity: The Standard Template LEP should be amended to enable Councils to identify average dwelling density targets for new urban release areas, as mechanism for delivering greater housing diversity across the region (Action 3.2.1 – p58).


8)   Sustainable Transport: The NCRP should include a new Action focused on encouraging sustainable transport in  the local planning / growth management strategy making processes. 


9)   Strengthen Policy positions under individual goals as follows:



a)   Goal 1: A natural environment, Aboriginal and historic heritage that is protected and landscapes that are productive


It is recommend that the NCRP:

i)    identify key ‘landscapes’ for protection on Figures 3 and 7

ii)   provide a policy position to guide future planning for composite landscapes and any related actions

The NCRP also needs to consider farmland, national parks and state forests at a landscape scale, as a multifaceted productive landscape rather than separate land uses[s3] . Other regional planning areas with similar landscapes such as the Far North Queensland and the Moreton and Sunshine Coast Regions identify composite landscapes using the labels of ‘Landscape and Rural Production Area’ and ‘Inter-urban breaks’ respectively.

iii)  retain Action from the Far North Coast Regional Strategy for local environmental plans “to  include provisions to encourage habitat and corridor establishment in future zoning of Environmental Assets and Rural Land area”

iv)  include a specific action for world heritage features such as the Gondwana rainforest, that places greater emphasis on avoiding impacts and optimizing conservation outcomes

v)   include guidelines for local government on heritage investigation, assessment and management based on the five APEC (Aboriginal people, the environment and conservation) principles adopted by OEH:

·    Spirituality and Connection

·    Cultural Resource Use

·    Wellbeing

·    Caring for Country

·    Doing Business with Aboriginal People


vi)  include an additional objective relating to Aboriginal people’s connection with and use of land/country, similar to the Coastal Zone Management Plan guidelines.

Such an objective would improve the way the community understands and values its heritage, embedding Aboriginal/traditional culture in mainstream policy and planning.

vii) provide a clearer framework for application of ‘State and Regionally Significant Farmland Interim Variation Criteria’

The interim criteria have the potential to be applied in a piecemeal and inconsistent manner and not consider significant farmland in a state and regional context.   The application of the criteria as currently provided is very open to interpretation and would benefit from:

•           more practical case study examples of how the first 3 criteria should be applied (agricultural capability, land use conflict; and infrastructure); and

•           clarification of the threshold (or other methodology) for determining whether or not mapped state/regionally significant farmland will contribute "significantly” to future agricultural production.


b)   Goal 2: Focus growth opportunities to created great place to live and work


It is recommend that the NCRP:

i)    include an Action for the State government to work with all councils not just regional cities to improve planning provisions to promote housing diversity and employment opportunities in line with the current FNCRS identification of this area as ‘a region of villages

ii)   clarify that variation principles can apply to both residential and employment/economic purposes;

iii)  ‘Urban Growth Area Variation Principles’ (Table 3) include wording to enable councils to vary the respective growth boundaries following identification in an adopted growth strategy;

iv)  include in the ‘aims on page 36 (dot points ‘2’ and 4’) specific reference to protecting significant farmland, to be consistent with Direction 1.2 Protect and enhance productive farmland (Goal 1).

v)   give consideration to a review of the Settlement Planning Guidelines to ensure alignment with the NCRP planning directions.


c)   Goals 1 & 2: 

i)    Ensure message consistency in regard to the actions under both of these goals ¾ namely the aim of protecting significant farmland when identifying future urban and rural residential land in a local strategy.


d)   Goal 3: Housing choice, with homes that meet the needs of changing communities


It is recommend that the NCRP:

i)    identify West Byron urban release area (Byron Bay) as a priority site for access to the NSW Government’s ‘Housing Acceleration Fund’.

ii)   recognise the important role of community engagement, local community values and sense of belonging in future growth plans


e)   Goal 4: A prosperous economy with services and infrastructure

f)    Goal 5: Improved transport connectivity and freight networks


It is recommended that the NCRP incorporate an Action that provides a stronger linkage between land use and infrastructure planning through a framework that supports:

i)    coordination, prioritising and sequencing of infrastructure through local growth management strategies, budgets and local environmental plans

ii)   alignment and coordination of infrastructure plans, priority and budgets of state agencies with the NCRP and local government plans

iii)  development of mechanisms that support the best delivery options

iv)  better management of consumer demand and behaviour to minimise the need for additional infrastructure services


It is recommended that the NCRP include a sustainable tourism ‘framework’ [s4] addressing:

(1)  localised community consultation and culturally appropriateness as a core principle for large scale tourism 

(2)  the role of small scale tourism of our other towns and villages in the Shire

(3)  the role of Councils in the development of servicing plans for major annual festivals

(4)  need for revisions to the regulatory provisions to ensure an appropriate balance between:

(a)  environmental protection and eco-tourism opportunities

(b)  expectations of visitors, holiday letting property owners, the local community and impacts on permanent residents including housing /rental access and diminished amenity





















Figure 1 Sample Appendix showing State and regional policy linkages

(Source:  Central Queensland Regional Plan, 2013)




 [s1]Once abbreviated use this throughout the document



 [s2]Take it that these page numbers refer to the NCRP no this submission? – need to clarify



 [s3]Is this just trying to say that it also  needs to be considered at a landscape scale and not the individual land uses**NATALIE TO ADDRESS**

 [s4]Clarify – for rec to stand alone