Tuggerah Lakes expert panel held its first meeting

Build-up of wrack around the lakes foreshore is only one problem for the newly-established Tuggerah lakes expert panel to address.

A team of experts has now been tasked with finding the best ways to improve water quality in Tuggerah Lakes.

This will be different to previous approaches to Tuggerah lakes, says Parliamentary Secretary for the Central Coast, Adam Crouch, and will do more than just produce another report.

“Its purpose is to pull together all previous reports to identify water quality solutions, and investigate what has been done in the past, what science says should be done in the future and what issues the community wants addressed,” Crouch said.

“This will help guide Central Coast Council in formulating their future strategies and actions,” he said.

Chair of Tuggerah Lakes Care, Tony Chiappazzo, said his group and others focused on lake rehabilitation have been looking forward to meeting the new expert panel to discuss issues concerning the lakes.

“While everyone is talking about improving the water quality in the lakes, our group’s focus has been on the problems caused by the excessive amount of wrack on the edge of the lakes,” he said.

“Besides being an eyesore, the rotting wrack prevents the mixing of nutrients with the water, thereby creating a foul smell.

“The rotting wrack also creates more nutrients for the weeds and exacerbates the problem by causing even more weed growth,” Chiappazzo said.

Jonjay Kersh, spokesperson for Make Tuggerah Lakes Great Again, also welcomes the chance to sit down with the expert panel and discuss the findings of his group.

“This system is so developed from the vast damages that have been created by sand mining, power stations and redirection of catchment water versus the original shore flow that existed in this area,” he said.

“Part of the panel’s concentration should be spent understanding the underflow ocean feeds around Elizabeth Bay and utilisation of manmade solutions to increase the natural effect that is currently present, to give both ends of the lake system a chance of a healthy future.

“We have learnt so much that would be a great benefit to these industry professionals, and local knowledge is more beneficial than a panel coming in that does not understand exactly what we have and where it all went wrong.

“In fixing the problem, we need to understand what caused the issues which we have already established,” Kersh said.

Central Coast Councillor for The Entrance Ward, Jilly Pilon, said it was important to listen to the community and other stakeholders.

“Addressing the health of Tuggerah lakes is a longstanding issue for our community and I look forward to the panel collaborating with Council to determine how we can improve water quality,” she said.

The expert panel held its first meeting on Wednesday, April 22.

A working group will guide operation of the panel, comprising staff from the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and Central Coast Council.

Details will be available soon about consultation with the community and other relevant stakeholders.

The panel comprises industry recognised experts in the fields of catchment management, water quality, coast and estuary dynamics, aquatic ecology, stormwater management, water sensitive urban design and community engagement.

Associate Professor William Glamore is Chair of the panel.

He has, in the past 20 years, undertaken independent studies on estuarine and coastal systems globally.

He is extremely well qualified and highlyawarded for his work and his expertise has been sought worldwide.

His focus is on large scale estuarine, coastal and tidal wetland environments, with particular emphasis on estuarine processes, climate change, habitat restoration, catchment wide prioritisation methods, maritime infrastructure and on ground technical solutions.

Other members of the panel are Dr Katherine Dafforn, Sian Fawcett, Dr Angus Ferguson, Dr Damian Maher, Nicole Ramilo, Dr David Wainwright and Stuart Waters.

The establishment of the expert panel was a $200,000 commitment by the Liberal candidate, Brian Perrem, in the 2019 NSW election.

“I am pleased that eight experts have now begun their work to find water quality solutions for Tuggerah lakes,” Perrem said.

Taylor Martin MLC said it will help breathe life back into the tourism industry, which is critical for the region.

The panel is expected to hand down its findings and recommendations before the end of 2020.


Media release, May 11

Parliamentary Secretary Central Coast, Adam Crouch

Interviews, May 11

Chairman Tuggerah Lakes Care, Tony Chiappazzo

Make Tuggerah Lakes Great Again, Jonjay Kersh

Reporter: Sue Murray