The Brisbane Water channel has not been listed in the NSW Government’s dredging strategy.
Priority regional locations listed in the strategy included 28 coastal harbours and river entrances from Tweed Heads in the north to Eden in the south but Brisbane Water was not included.
“Locations where dredging would maintain navigational access to state-owned maritime infrastructure were considered as priority regional locations,” the strategy said.
“Dredging at these locations will be fully funded by the State Government under the NSW Government’s Coastal Infrastructure Program,” it said.
The Department of Primary Industries has stated Brisbane Water does not include State-owned maritime infrastructure.
“Other locations in regional coastal NSW where dredging is required to meet community needs and that deliver navigational benefits in local waterways will be delivered in partnership between state and local government under the Rescuing our Waterways Program,” it said.
Priority regional locations were to receive $2 million over four years and local waterways over $6 million over four years through the Rescuing our Waterways Program.
Funding opportunities were to be $1.5 million per year in total.
The strategy listed the benefits of dredging as including safer navigation; accessibility to local waterways and boating infrastructure and facilities; improved waterway conditions; improved water flows for healthy estuaries; use of dredged sand for beach nourishment especially at locations susceptible to coastal erosion; flow-on benefits for local economies by increasing coastal tourism opportunities through activities such as fishing and boating.
“Boating access to NSW waterways contributes significantly to regional economies, … helps drive employment, investment and business growth.”
The dredging strategy was to be implemented in three stages to maintain accessibility to waterways and improve environmental health.
Stage one was from 2017 to 2020 and priorities included: supporting local government and building their capacity to undertake dredging operations in local waterways; assisting councils to prioritise and establish long-term dredging delivery plans to maximise funding opportunities under the Rescuing Our Waterways Program; assisting councils to identify linkages with dredging works and coastal hazard mitigation; and beach amenity improvements; and to identify co-funding opportunities under the Coastal Management Program (administered by the Office of Environment and Heritage).
Applications would be assessed on the basis of: access to existing and proposed maritime infrastructure; contribution of boating to the region’s economy; severity of shoaling and longevity and practicality of dredging; environmental benefits and sensitivity; compatibility with coastal zone management planning and demonstrated support from local community.
Central Coast Council has not indicated whether it will be applying for funding under the program.
Strategy document, Mar 2017
Andrew Ling, Department of Primary Industries