Floodplains as assets: That, to establish the capacity and maximise the economic, social and environmental potential and consequently unlock the value of NSW floodplains, Government adopt the following guiding principles for floodplain management:
• treat floodplains as an asset, specialising in uses that are productive and minimise risk to life during major weather events. Such uses would include sporting and recreational activities, garden plots and community gardens, agriculture and forestry, renewable energy production, biodiversity offsets, parks and outdoor education activities. Government should progressively move floodplain ownership to Government leasehold with lessees using the land under appropriately specified conditions. The management of the process of conversion to leasehold would be a Special Project of the NSWRA but over time handing the floodplain asset over to management by another government agency. The NSRWA should prioritise rapid conversion to leasehold in cases where houses and businesses are in high-risk areas – this may be accomplished by land swaps or buy backs. In doing so Government achieves early wins for new uses. In other cases, the conversion should occur as a condition of development, of a type that is consistent with safe evacuation or safety in place in the case of flash flooding that recedes rapidly
• treat development of the floodplain in parallel with development of urban structures (houses, businesses and industry) that are built near to the edge of the floodplain. Examples of connection could include high-rise housing developments where apartment owners are granted automatic rights and access to community garden and community recreation facilities. Structures within the floodplain and surrounding development should be connected by a layer of sustainable transport
• favour letting watercourses largely flow naturally rather than implementing engineering barriers such as flood levees and mitigation schemes to stop floods
• communicate the intention to use planning arrangements that will lead to greater safety and community amenity as well as realising a significant state asset. This needs to be communicated in general to the people of NSW, but also to those particularly affected communities at the time of planning, rebuilding and construction.

Recommendation 20