Funds 'sit in coffers' while beaches erode, says Tesch
The NSW Government has refused to unlock funds to fight coastal erosion despite Umina and Ocean Beaches continuing to wash away, according to the Member for Gosford Ms Liesl Tesch.
Only four per cent of the $63 million funding has been allocated state-wide at the end of the second year of a five-year program, Ms Tesch said.
The government's Coastal and Estuary Grants Program, originally established to provide technical and financial support to local councils to assist in managing coastal zones, is now just sitting in government coffers not helping local communities, she said.
"The erosion at Umina and Ocean Beach has been going on for decades but the situation has continued to worsen in recent years following storms in 2015, with the last three years seeing damage worsening.
Ms Tesch said the government needed to do more.
"Only $2.5 million of this $63 million package has been spent in the last two years across the whole state," Ms Tesch said.
"We need the NSW Government to intervene and deliver the funds that are currently just sitting around to protect our coastline and manage problems like the one we're facing on the Peninsula.
"There are well over 100 beaches in NSW, and this allocated funding clearly isn't being divided up well at all.
"Minster for Environment Ms Gabrielle Upton has been brushing off the severity of coastal erosion and turning a blind eye to our escalating problems for far too long.
"We need the Minster for the Environment to open her eyes, step up and deliver the funds Umina and Ocean beach have been waiting for.
"The longer it takes, the worse it'll get.
"Tomorrow is too late. We need it now."
In a written statement Minister Upton said Ms Tesch's statement "shows a lack of understanding of the funding process, which needs the local council to apply for a grant to do the work that is needed.
"The council received $245,000 in 2016-17 to prepare the Umina-Ocean Beach Erosion Management Strategy.
"Once the council has completed this, it is then eligible to apply for funding to do the works.
Media release, 6 Sep 2018
Liesl Tesch, Member for Gosford
Media statement, 6 Sep 2018
Alan Gale, Office of Danielle Upton MP