Australia: New Gold Coast Waterway Authority Prefers Dredging

The marine industry and the State Government are days away from striking a deal that will reform the waterway authority and bring an end to the mismanagement of the Broadwater.

Marine Queensland general manager Don Jones said the Gold Coast City Council and the Department of Transport had signed up to the deal that would re-introduce the Gold Coast Waterways Authority as the single body responsible for the Broadwater.

Planning for major developments in the Broadwater, like those flagged by a group at the weekend, and progressing the sale of sand will be on the authority’s to-do list.

According to Mr Jones, tackling dredging problems would be the top priority.

“There are some urgent things that need to be addressed and dredging is number one,” he said.

“An ongoing program has to be rolled out.

“Up until now the dredging has all been done one project at a time and the approvals process takes too long.”

A third of the government funding set aside for dredging last financial year was not spent because of delays in the process.

Mr Jones said senior representatives from the various State Government departments, the Gold Coast City Council and Marine Queensland would make up the small board.

“The point is that everyone at the table is able to make decisions,” he said.

Mr Jones said the decision had taken 18 months of solid negotiation and he congratulated the Gold Coast City Council for its support of the authority.

The news was followed by an announcement yesterday by Transport Minister Rachel Nolan that $3 million would be spent on dredging the Broadwater annually.

She said $1.5 million would come from the State Government, $1 million from the council and $500,000 from the marine industry.

“This is a good outcome for Gold Coast boaties,” she said.

Two other government departments need to sign off on the formation of the authority before the new body can start operating.

A range of local, state and federal politicians, plus industry leaders have lobbied for 10 years for the waterways authority to be reformed.

The body was scrapped in the 1990s under the Goss Government.

By Lucy Ardern

[mappress]

Source: goldcoast, July 12, 2010;

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