Stockton erosion - EDO NSW

EDO steps in on Stockton coastal erosion

The Environmental Defenders Office has been engaged by a Stockton residents’ group to investigate if the state government has a duty to repair and protect their beach from severe erosion.

Stockton Community Action Group (SCAG) engaged the EDO as part of its bid on behalf of the community to find a long-term solution to worsening coastal erosion. A huge stretch of coastline remains crippled by erosion. 

The erosion is connected with the construction of breakwaters and a deep water channel at the Port of Newcastle, the world’s largest coal export port. The impacts of climate change will dramatically exacerbate existing losses as sea levels rise, and extreme weather events increase.

Principal lawyer Elaine Johnson said EDO is exploring options for the community to "hold government to account" for failing to manage impacts to the beach.

"Our clients are very concerned about the loss of the public beach, which is central to the community’s identity as a coastal town" she said.

“As the impacts of climate change are upon us, government responsibility for protection of our coastline is a matter of significant public interest, not just for Stockton residents, but for coastal communities everywhere.”

"We are investigating what legal remedies are available to Stockton residents to address the harm already caused and help prevent exacerbation of impacts in the future."

Access to the beach remains closed in many places.



Showing 6 reactions

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  • Elizabeth Durbin
    commented 2019-11-22 12:44:39 +1100
    As Ron pointed out – the principal who is acting on this matter needs to understand that this issue has “nothing to do with Climate Change”. All the sand on the 100% man-made Nobby’s beach was destined for Stockton – State Government infrastructure has prevented this sand reaching Stockton Beach. We are not expecting the infrastructure to be removed but everyone needs to understand that this erosion sits squarely at the hands of the State Government to rectify. They receive $20mil+ in Port fees each year – not to mention the billions in royalties that pass through the Port – plus the monies received for leasing the Port access. Re-nourishment of Stockton has been costed at around $15-25mil every 20 years … a pittance in comparison to what the Port takes in – and the cost to try and keep the Port functioning if Stockton Peninsula is breached
  • Elizabeth Durbin
    commented 2019-11-22 12:39:24 +1100
    This issue is so much more than Stockton Beach – the peninsula itself is under threat and already, at it’s narrowest point, has reduced from approx 300m to 200m. If this narrow point is breached, and the Hunter River North Arm (70% of the flow currently thru the Port mouth) then all heck will break lose with the Port itself. They’d be looking at Swansea Channel type silting, and low lying Kooragang Island – with it’s heavy industry – will be opened directly to the ocean
  • Ron Holbrow
    commented 2019-11-22 11:57:26 +1100
    This problem of erosion on Stockton Beach hasn’t got anything to do with climate change whatsoever. It’s all a man made problem
  • Ian Taggart
    commented 2019-11-22 11:53:38 +1100
    Please note that rising sea levels predicted by climate change are a total red herring for the current erosion problems at Stockton beach. Year 2100 sea level forecasts invoke model assumptions unable to be verified by any current direct measurement. By allowing climate change predictions into the present investigation you are diluting the underlying causal issues at Stockton beach and turning into a state-wide political/social issue. Stick to the brief
  • Ron Holbrow
    commented 2019-11-22 11:31:28 +1100
    As Deputy Premier, Minister John Barilaro must make a public statement as to what actions are being done to remedy what has been done to our beach, and I don’t mean the standard statement.
    The public needs to know wether he is going to make every effort to make offshore sand replenishment “the option” to save our beach or not.
  • Susan Ardill
    published this page in News Items 2019-11-18 10:44:32 +1100