NSW Government seeks exploration licence to identify sand source for Stockton Beach

Published: 8 Dec 2020

Released by: Deputy Premier

An application has been lodged for an offshore exploration licence that would allow geologists to properly examine a potential source of  sand needed to remediate Stockton Beach in a safe and effective manner.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW John Barilaro today chaired a Stockton Beach Taskforce meeting in Newcastle, and discussed  the exploration licence application and  how the geological and environmental survey might be carried out . 

Mr Barilaro said the Department of Regional NSW has applied for the offshore exploration licence on behalf of the NSW Government which, if granted, would allow exploration work to be carried out and determine if an identified source of sand off the coast of Stockton is suitable.

“Offshore dredging has been identified as a potential method of securing the large volume of sand needed to restore Stockton Beach and an area off the coast of Stockton Beach has been identified as a potential source of that large volume of sand,” Mr Barilaro said.

“If granted, exploration work would be carried out under strict licensing conditions and in a way that would ensure the environment and marine life is protected.

“It is important to note that all other parts of NSW’s coastal waters not covered by this specific offshore exploration licence application remain reserved and will not be impacted.” 

Under current legislation, offshore sand is classified as a mineral and its exploration and recovery from NSW coastal waters requires an exploration licence and mining licence respectively, under the Offshore Minerals Act 1999.

Today’s  meeting marks the first face to face Taskforce meeting  held in Newcastle, after the easing of Covid restrictions. It also discussed a feasibility assessment of a Hunter River sand source being considered for a funding application by the City of Newcastle, Department of Planning, Industry and Environment and the Hunter and Central Coast Development Corporation.

Mr Barilaro said the NSW Government is committed to remediating Stockton Beach and the proposed exploration work would be funded from the $1 million announced earlier this year to ensure the beach is restored to its former glory. 

“I made a promise to the people of Stockton that we would set politics aside and put community at the heart of what we’re trying to achieve, and that’s exactly what we’re doing here today at this Taskforce meeting,” Mr Barilaro said.

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