City seeks action from Deputy Premier's Taskforce to return sand to Stockton Beach

22 Mar 2022

The first meeting of the Deputy Premier's Stockton Beach Taskforce since Deputy Premier Paul Toole inspected erosion at Stockton Beach with Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes last month is set to occur tomorrow.

After a meeting hiatus last year due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Taskforce will be an opportunity to progress the actions of Stockton’s Coastal Management Program including returning sand and amenity to Stockton Beach.

An evaluation report in December last year found that an ongoing program of sand top-ups will be more cost effective and efficient than structures like an artificial headland, in terms of buffering the coastline and returning a permanent beach at Stockton.

This followed an extensive evaluation process that considered four feasible coastal management options to complement the mass sand nourishment identified in the Stockton Coastal Management Program 2020.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the Taskforce meeting and said City of Newcastle is looking to the State Government for action on the approvals required to get sand onto Stockton Beach.

"We appreciate the work undertaken by the State Government to identify offshore sand sources suitable for replenishing sand on Stockton Beach and the commitment by the former Deputy Premier to fund the work required for a mining licence for offshore sand extraction," Cr Nelmes said.

City of Newcastle has provided the State Government with a report detailing several possible planning approval pathways and the technical studies that may be needed to support the approval process, including possible environmental assessments.

"City of Newcastle has asked the State Government to review this document and confirm if the offshore sand extraction is a regional or state significant project and the associated planning approvals required to ensure sand is returned to Stockton Beach.

"With tomorrow's Taskforce meeting we are hoping for confirmation of State Government funding, knowing that at least $21 million is required for the initial mass sand nourishment of Stockton Beach."

The certified Stockton Coastal Management Program 2020 identified the need for an initial 2.4 million mof sand as part of a mass sand nourishment program and, to complement this, a regular program of sand top ups of around 146,000 m3 to maintain the buffer to the coastline and to provide beach amenity for the community.

"We want to get moving with the extraction approvals required to get sand onto Stockton Beach and we recognise the important role the Stockton Beach Taskforce plays in coordinating the various government departments who need to work together to make that happen,” Cr Nelmes said.

The Deputy Premier's Stockton Beach Taskforce was established to provide advice and recommendations to both the NSW Government and City of Newcastle on such issues as sand sourcing, actions to mitigate the loss of community amenity and seeking the priority capital and operational funding required.