State-wide approach needed for sand nourishment program

21 Jun 2022

City of Newcastle (CN) is calling on the NSW Government to plan strategically and develop a state-wide approach for a sustainable sand nourishment program to support Local Councils as they develop Coastal Management Programs under the NSW Government's coastal management framework.

The increasing frequency of significant weather events that cause erosion damage to beaches along the NSW coastline will likely prompt local councils to include sand nourishment as a solution to managing coastal hazards as part of their individual Coastal Management Programs.

Newcastle Lord Mayor Nuatali Nelmes will discuss the requirement for a State-led sand nourishment strategy at the NSW Deputy Premier's Stockton Beach Taskforce meeting this week.

"We've developed a Coastal Management Program for Stockton and identified that we need an initial 2.4 million cubic metres of sand on Stockton Beach as part of our mass sand nourishment strategy and then annual sand top ups to maintain beach amenity and the buffer that mass sand nourishment will provide the Stockton community," Cr Nelmes said.

CN was one of the first Councils in the State to have its Coastal Management Program for Stockton certified, under the Coastal Management Act 2016, by the NSW Minister for Local Government in August 2020.

"In many ways, we are leading the charge with the work we are doing to investigate and understand the planning and approval pathways for sourcing and accessing the sand required to deliver our mass sand nourishment strategy for Stockton Beach.

"CN won't be the only council to identify sand nourishment as a solution to managing coastal hazards and we expect many councils will include sand nourishment in their coastal management programs".

“A sustainable sand nourishment program which is developed and led by the NSW Government would provide significant efficiencies and economies of scale for local councils.

"CN has already committed significant resources to completing investigations and to understanding environmental impacts and approval pathways for what will rapidly become a matter of state significance for the NSW Government, so it makes sense to have a holistic approach and solution to the problem.

"We would like to see the NSW Government lead the collaborative effort that is needed across the state to develop a sustainable sand nourishment program including approvals and ownership of licencing for possible offshore sand extraction".

City of Newcastle has invested $4.5 million on coastal protection measures over the 10 years prior to the Stockton CMP being certified in August 2020.

The cost to implement coastal management actions including the initial amenity sand nourishment, outlined in the Stockton Coastal Management Program 2020, to provide a buffer for the coastline and beach amenity at Stockton will be $27.5 million.

CN has also recently supported the NSW Government's application to the Federal Government's Coastal and Estuarine Risk Mitigation Program which provides funds to assist communities to mitigate disasters relating to coastal hazards.