From the Newsroom

Draft North Coast Regional Plan now on exhibition

Geoff Helisma


The NSW Government is encouraging people to have their say about the Draft North Coast Regional Plan 2041, which is on exhibition until August 24, 2022.

“The North Coast Regional Plan is the strategic blueprint to ensure the dynamic region’s ongoing prosperity,” its exhibition website states.

“We are currently undertaking the first 5-year review of the plan to reset priorities and to extend its reach from 2036 to 2041.

The strategy cites priorities under five subheadings.

Regional priorities

  • Involve First Nations People in decision making and caring for Country.
  • Develop Grafton’s importance and role in the region through placemaking improvements, growing the economy and providing job opportunities, housing and services.
  • Support the growth and diversification of the valley’s agricultural base and support sustainable industries and value adding processes to encourage new opportunities for agribusiness, agritourism and associated manufacturing and transport.
  • Expand sustainable nature-based, adventure and cultural tourism by leveraging Clarence Valley’s natural and heritage assets.
  • Foster stronger strategic relationships with the Northern Rivers and Mid North Coast subregions, and with the NSW Government.

Liveable and resilient

  • Provide adaptation and mitigation strategies in response to natural hazards, including climate change.
  • Promote a sustainable, low carbon community, with an emphasis on local food production.
  • Protect natural assets like the Clarence River through sustainable and effective management of natural resources.
  • Retain and enhance the unique heritage values of the built environment, through well-designed development in historic centres.
  • Support environmentally sustainable development that is responsive to natural hazards.

Productive and connected

  • Progress opportunities for aviation, industrial and emergency services related clusters at Clarence Valley Regional Airport.
  • Focus employment lands in Grafton, Maclean and Yamba, and in planned growth areas near Junction Hill, South Grafton, Lanitza (Airport) and Townsend; and marine based precincts at Harwood.
  • Progress opportunities to leverage employment lands delivery in the subregion and opportunities arising from the Coffs Harbour Bypass.
  • Promote the sustainable use of regionally important farmland to support agriculture, horticulture, forestry, and aquaculture.

Housing and place

  • Enable appropriate housing development throughout the LGA, including at Grafton, Clarenza, James Creek, Junction Hill and West Yamba.
  • Explore opportunities to provide more affordable housing near supporting infrastructure and services.
  • Provide a diverse range of housing types with access to facilities and services that meet population and demographic needs.
  • Protect and enhance the unique character of the LGA’s towns and villages.
  • Incorporate a placemaking approach to create sustainable and liveable communities.

Smart, connected and accessible (infrastructure)

  • Integrate freight and logistics, industrial development and value adding businesses, taking advantage of road, rail and air freight corridors and infrastructure investment.
  • Maximise opportunities associated with regional health and justice infrastructure, including Grafton Base Hospital, Maclean District Hospital, Grafton District Court, and Clarence Correctional Centre.

In line with Clarence Valley Council’s opposition to mining in the Clarence River catchment, but in conflict with the NSW Government’s and Labor opposition’s mining policies, the strategy states that the valley’s “abundant environmental assets … are all centred around the Clarence River … and its tributaries.

“These assets underpin significant aquaculture, agriculture, marine industry and a growing tourism sector, and are of important cultural importance to First Nations People, residents and visitors.”

Further information and submission link: