Friday, 10 August 2018

Labor Claim Government are Sitting on Crucial Erosion Funding for Stockton

BY LAUREN FREEMANTLE

Newcastle MP, Tim Crakanthorp is accusing the state government of hoarding funds set aside to address erosion while the Stockton community continues to suffer.

Figures from the Office of Environment and Heritage reveal only $2.6 million of a statewide $63 million funding package has been spent since it was announced in 2016.

Mr Crakanthorp says coastal erosion is being tackled at a snail's pace and Stockton Beach is missing out altogether.

"They've only spent 4% of that $63 million over the last two years," he explained, "after the government made a great fanfare in 2016 [announcing the Coastal and Estuary Grants Program] they just continue to ignore this issue. 

"Minister Gabriele Upton cannot continue to bury her head in the sand and hope the issue will simply disappear," the MP said. 

Tim Crakanthorp says at this rate, the government will have spent just 10% of all the funding promised over five years to fix erosion in areas like Stockton. 

However, the state government is defending its financial position. 

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Scot MacDonald says there is a process in place, and we must take a cautious approach before assigning large sums of money. 

"It is reliant on Councils preparing their Coastal Management Plans," he explained, "so in regards to Stockton Beach, Newcastle City Council had a second go at preparing a plan, we went in to help them prepare that plan this time...

"That is now before the state government - if it is approved, accredited and certified, then Council will certainly gain access to [the $63 million fund]," Mr MacDonald said. 

Scot MacDonald also defended the Labor MP's criticism of Environment Minister Upton's response to the issue, saying he's in constant talks with the Minister, who is up-to-date with the current situation. 

Tim Crakanthorp plans to raise the financial debate in parliament next week, after securing 10,000 signatures on a petition from concerned residents earlier this year. 


Newcastle MP Tim Crakanthorp collecting 10,000 signatures. 



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