Law says waterways responsibility is with Minister

Ettalong Channel dredging resumed on September 25 Photo: Julian BowkerEttalong Channel dredging on September 25 Photo: Julian Bowker

I’m becoming a little tired of misleading public statements about the maintenance of the navigation channel for Brisbane Water.

Responsibility for waterways safety is clearly a responsibility of the Minister under the Ports and Maritime Administration Act 1955. Section 24 of the Act states “The Minister has general responsibility for marine safety, including: (a) the safe operation of recreational and commercial vessels, and (b) the safety of navigation in ports and other navigable waters … “ Section 25 (1): “The minister has the following particular marine safety functions: (a) …. (2) Examples of the infrastructure and services that may be provided under this section are as follows: (d) the dredging and maintenance of navigation channels …”

The Ettalong Channel clearly fi ts this description. Navigable waters means all waters (whether or not in the State) that are from time to time capable of navigation and are open to or used by the public for navigation, whether on payment of a fee or otherwise, but does not include fl ood waters that have temporarily fl owed over the established bank of a watercourse. Neither the Member for Terrigal nor the Parliamentary Secretary are acting responsibly towards local ratepayers by attempting to shift responsibility for dredging from where it clearly belongs: with the State Government. It is clearly not in the interests of Central Coast ratepayers to allow Adam Crouch and Scot MacDonald to create a precedent where Council, rather than the NSW Government, has prime responsibility for dredging of Ettalong Channel.

Email, 30 Sep 2017 Kevin Armstrong, Tumbi Umbi