Council and State Government commit funds to identify solution to Stockton erosion

23 Aug 2018

A viable and lasting solution to Stockton's erosion woes will be developed as part of a long-term plan to manage Newcastle's coastline following a joint $295,000 commitment from the NSW Government and Newcastle City Council.

The funding will be used to develop a Coastal Management Program (CMP) for Newcastle's entire coastline as prescribed in the Newcastle Coastal Zone Management Plan certified by the Office of Environment & Heritage (OEH) last week.

"Today's announcement continues Council's recent approach to addressing erosion at Stockton through a collaborative working partnership with the NSW Government," Newcastle City Council CEO Jeremy Bath said.

"For the first time in many years, genuine progress is occurring on a long-term solution. This is largely because for Council and the NSW Government agencies including OEH, Crown Lands and Hunter Water, are regularly meeting and sharing their individual expertise.

"The recently certified coastal zone management plan limited Council’s ability to secure funding from the State Government to short and medium-term activities for Stockton. Today's commitment from Council and the State Government provides for the first time the necessary funding to develop a management plan that includes long-term strategies to combat coastal erosion at Stockton."

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald MLC said the funding agreement was further evidence of real progress being made in finding a solution to the erosion of Stockton Beach.

“For decades the people of Stockton have watched their beach slowly disappear. It’s only now, with the State Government and Newcastle City Council engaged in a genuine partnership, that progress is being made.

“I hope the community of Stockton can take comfort in the knowledge that real progress is finally occurring. I assure everyone that there is a shared commitment between Council and the NSW Government to keep this momentum going.”

Deputy Lord Mayor Declan Clausen said the CMP would include a risk-management approach, stakeholder engagement process and cost-benefit analysis assessment of management options.

"The community, and specifically the Stockton Community Liaison Group, will continue to play a crucial role in ensuring the local community are consulted and updated on work to develop a long-term solution," Councillor Clausen said.

"The provision of $295,000 from Council and the State Government ensures work continues so that we can definitely resolve how best to deliver a long-term solution to the erosion occurring at Stockton. This work will also address the critical matter of the associated cost. This work will be achieved via an evidence-based approach with outcomes that all parties can support the findings of."

The Coastal Management Program (CMP) will be developed under the new coastal management framework in accordance with the Coastal Management Act 2016, which came into effect in April.

Under the reforms, Council is required to have a Coastal Management Program completed and certified by the end of 2021.

Although numerous studies have been undertaken in the past to investigate coastal processes, identify hazards, analyse risk and prioritise on-ground works, further data is needed to inform long-term planning and works.

Today's $295,000 commitment is a 50:50 funding arrangement between Council and the State Government.