City welcomes news of next Stockton Taskforce meeting

16 May 2023

City of Newcastle welcomes the NSW Government’s announcement that the Department of Regional NSW will take responsibility for the delivery of initial amenity sand nourishment at Stockton Beach, after the funding was announced in October last year.

A $6.2 million grant was awarded in October through the Federal Government’s Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program, which includes $4.7 million from the Commonwealth and $1.5 million from the City of Newcastle.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes said that it was pleasing to see that an agency has been formally appointed, and welcomed the Minister for Regional New South Wales, the Hon. Tara Moriarty MLC, as the new Chair of the Stockton Beach Taskforce.

"We've stood together with the Stockton community over many years, particularly through the Stockton Community Liaison Group and the Stockton Beach Taskforce, to fight for a fair outcome for Stockton, so it's fantastic news that the Minns Labor Government have taken this positive next step towards renourishing Stockton Beach," Cr Nelmes said.

"Now that the Department of Regional NSW are on board as coordinator and NSW Public Works are confirmed as the delivery agency, we hope to finally see a consistent approach to the management of sand nourishment for Stockton.

"I look forward to working closely with Minister Moriarty, as well as the local Stockton community as we continue to protect public assets and restore amenity at Stockton Beach."

The project funded by the grant includes the delivery of the initial amenity nourishment for Stockton, studies into possible sources of mass sand from the North Arm of the Hunter River and offshore sources, as well as the environmental approvals required for mass sand nourishment – a complex process, which has never before been undertaken in NSW.

City of Newcastle's Executive Director Planning and Environment, Michelle Bisson, said mass sand nourishment remained the long-term solution to protecting the NSW Government owned Stockton Beach, and the work to develop the draft Extended Coastal Management Program (CMP) is well underway.

"The Extended CMP is critical for realising the long-term vision for the Stockton coastline. It has been informed by extensive consultation with the community, as well as the findings of additional studies and investigations undertaken since the development of the 2020 CMP," Ms Bisson said.

The draft Extended Stockton Coastal Management Program (CMP) steps out an expanded list of management actions that support the long-term strategy of mass sand nourishment outlined in the 2020 Stockton CMP, and broadens the geographical area covered to include the northern end of Stockton Beach from Meredith Street to the Port Stephens Local Government Area boundary.

The complementary actions featured in the Extended CMP are intended to prolong the benefits of mass sand nourishment.

"Delivering the CMP is a complex process, and each action outlined in the plan needs to be championed and funded by the most appropriate agency,” Cr Nelmes said.

"We look forward to confirming which NSW Government agencies will fund and own the mass sand nourishment implementation actions for managing erosion in Stockton at the upcoming Taskforce meeting, so that we can then finalise the draft CMP and place it on public exhibition later this year," Ms Bisson said.

"It is appropriate that the NSW Government be tangibly involved in a solution for Stockton Beach, as it is their infrastructure, namely the breakwater and deepwater navigation channel of the Port of Newcastle, that has been proven as the primary cause of ongoing erosion at Stockton Beach."