POLICY No 5, 7 June 1986


PART I Interpretation: "land" includes the sea or an arm of the sea; a bay, inlet, lagoon, lake or body of water, whether inland or not and whether tidal or non- tidal; and a river, stream or watercourse, whether tidal or non tidal.

"river segment" may include the whole of the river and its tributaries or a selected length, including the bed, banks and waters, as well as an associated corridor including adjacent riparian lands, lakes, wetlands, anabranches, marshes and swamps where these are a part of the river system or within the defined corridor.

"the policy" the proposed State Environmental Planning Policy (Protected Rivers).

"river" shall mean any river segment or part thereof as defined in the policy.



1.1 That a River Protection Scheme be implemented by the NSW Government.

1.2 That the principal mechanism for the implementation of such a scheme be the making of a State Environmental Planning Policy (Protected Rivers) pursuant to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act.

1.3 That additional staff resources be allocated to the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Department of Environment and Planning to undertake a comprehensive State-wide survey to assess the conservation and recreational status of NSW rivers.

1.4 That priority should be given by the National Parks and Wildlife Service to reserve representative river segments in each bio-physical region of the State.

1.5 That research by academic, private and governmental organisations into basic riverine ecology should be encouraged.


2.1 The policy should provide for the identification, classification and management of protected river segments to ensure that a number of river areas with significant and wilderness, scenic, recreational, aesthetic, nature conservation, scientific and/or other special values are preserved.

2.2 The policy shall apply to both Crown and private lands, except lands reserved pursuant to the National Parks and Wildlife Act, 1974.

2.3 In accordance with procedures to be set out in the policy, any person may nominate a river for inclusion in the Protected River scheme. The Department of Environment & Planning will be required to keep a public register of places nominated, and will be required to report to the Minister within 12 months of receipt of the nomination.

2.4 In the report referred to above the Department will be required to have sought and considered the views of the Director of National Parks and Wildlife and shall consider the criteria listed below:

2.4.1. Wild River A wild river must represent a significant and outstanding part of the NSW environment containing wilderness, scenic, recreational, nature conservation or other specially defined values.

2.4.2 Scenic and Recreational River A scenic and recreational river must represent regionally significant areas having aesthetic, historic or recreational values.

2.4.3 Scientific River Segment A scientific river segment shall generally be a discrete site of significant and outstanding value, e.g. rare habitat, exceptional natural phenomena such as a waterfall or geological formation, or present a unique opportunity for scientific study.

3.0 PROTECTION OF RIVERS 3.1 Wild rivers will be protected by the policy against the construction or operation of pondages, water abstractions, water control structures and other works of man. No additional pondages, abstractions or water control works will be permitted upstream. No vehicular access will be permitted within the area. Canoes and non-motorised rafts will be permitted. No discharges of waste water or substances will be allowed.

3.2 Scenic and recreational rivers may traverse lands comprising generally natural landscapes where some disturbance may be present. Limited water control works would be permitted, however forestry activities, subdivision of land, new powerlines, additional pondages and any work of man which would significantly affect the scenic nature or recreational value of the area would be prohibited.

3.3 Scientific river segments will be protected against all works of man other than those associated with non-destructive scientific study.

3.4 The Department shall cause a Plan of Management to be prepared for every protected river within two years of its gazettal pursuant to the policy. The preparation and adoption of such a plan should be modelled on the provisions of the National Parks and Wildlife Act.

3.5 The Plan shall bind the Crown and shall remain in force until revoked by the Minister on the advice of the Department or until amended in whole or part on the advice of the Department.

3.6 The Policy will include a schedule of prohibited activities appropriate to each protection category.

3.7 In respect of land to which the policy applies a person shall not - (a) clear that land; (b) construct a levee, dam, or wall on that land; (c) construct any tower, building, wall or road on that land; (d) drain that land; (e) burn that land; or (f) apply or broadcast any chemical substance or solution;

except with the consent of the Director of Environment & Planning. In determining whether to grant consent the Director shall take into consideration - (1) whether the activity is permissible in the applicable river segment;

(2) the environmental effects of the proposed activity on: (i) the surface and groundwater characteristics of the site and on the surrounding area and waters; (ii) the growth of native plant communities; (iii) the survival of wildlife; (iv) the maintenance of landscape values; (v) the enjoyment of recreational activities.

(3) any representations made by the Director of National Parks and Wildlife Service.

3.8 In its relationship with other Environmental Planning instruments the policy shall prevail to the extent of the inconsistency. Any river which is the subject of State Environmental Planning Policy No.14 (Coastal Wetlands) shall not be included within the provisions of the Protected Rivers Policy.


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