City welcomes step forward for Stockton Beach

30 Jan 2023

City of Newcastle has welcomed this morning's announcement by the Deputy Premier Paul Toole, that NSW Public Works will be charged with project managing key activities to enable sand nourishment for Stockton Beach.

In October 2022, the NSW Government was successful in obtaining a $6.2 million grant through the Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program, which includes $4.7 million from the Federal Government and $1.5 million from the City of Newcastle.

CN supported the NSW Government's application on the basis that the Hunter & Central Coast Development Corporation (HCCDC) would undertake the project management services for the sand nourishment as part of the grant, including the work to obtain all remaining licences and approvals for the project, as outlined in the NSW Government’s grant application.

The NSW Government applied for the funding on the basis that it is the sole landowner of Stockton Beach (and the coastal waters from which offshore sandmining would occur).

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes welcomed the Deputy Premier's announcement, affirming the importance of working together to deliver solutions for Stockton Beach.

"This morning's announcement is an important step, and is the logical way to move forward given that the NSW Government's grant application nominated a NSW Government entity to coordinate this important work," Cr Nelmes 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, which it also owns.

City of Newcastle's Executive Director Planning and Environment Michelle Bisson said mass sand nourishment remained the long-term solution to protecting Stockton Beach.

"The long-term plan is to secure the 2.4 million cubic metres of sand needed for initial mass nourishment, as outlined in the Stockton Coastal Management Program endorsed by the NSW Government in 2020,” Ms Bisson said.

The grant will fund the investigations and approvals needed to secure multiple sand sources – from the north arm of the Hunter River, as well as suitable bodies of sand in the Stockton Bight, which were identified in the NSW Government's 2021 Stockton Offshore Sand Exploration Project.

"Securing multiple sand sources builds flexibility into the mass-nourishment strategy, ensuring the longevity of sand supply to Stockton Beach, building necessary resilience and future-proofing the project," Ms Bisson said.

Last year City of Newcastle progressed the design work for sand placement and anticipate having the associated environmental approvals finalised over the next few months. The new placement plans are informed by the most recent sand movement study and will ensure that sand sourced for Stockton is placed in the most effective location.

These new plans are intended to accommodate the receipt of any and all sources of sand, regardless of the quantity. This means that the smaller volumes of sand sourced from the Port of Newcastle's maintenance dredging activities, through to large volumes that could be sourced through dredging needed for future infrastructure development in the Port area, can be placed effectively at Stockton.

Council committed $27.5 million to respond to the immediate risks to Stockton's coastline in the 2020 Coastal Management Program with $9.5 million already invested. A further $21 million is needed from the State Government to fund the long-term solution of mass sand nourishment.